I survived a mid-afternoon trip to Toys ‘R Us, on a sale day nonetheless. After standing in line for oh, say, half an eternity, I watched in disappointed silence as the woman in line in front of us unloaded multiple Bratz items onto the counter. I have never been able to grasp why these toys are even in production, let alone why any parent would buy them and actually give them to a child. “Here, honey! Put away your books and play with this unbelievably inappropriate, hyper-sexualized idol of female objectification!” Did this woman, or any adult actually look at the damn thing before purchasing it? I refuse to upload a picture because their hideousness is already plastered in far too many places already. A doll geared toward little girls has make-up painted on like she applied it with a spatula and a paint sprayer; tight, short, skimpy clothes that leave various body parts strategically bare; platform shoes, heels, boots, or other variants of “you’re-not-leaving-the-house-in-those-young-lady” footwear; and grotesquely caricatured features like fly’s eyes, super-inflated lips like squishy pillows attached to their faces, and non-existent noses, presumably to make room for their outlandishly exaggerated, dinner-plate-sized eyes piled with liner and shadow. Make them a tad bit larger and just hustle them off as blow-up dolls for frustrated men. This is what people want little girls to play with? I can’t fathom how unimaginably thoughtless, clueless, and downright stupid a parent has to be to actually pay money to bring one of these home to their daughter, and the immense ingorance required to place it into a little girl’s hands. Especially their own daughter’s hands, for god’s sake.
I remember a woman telling me once, after I made no attempt to hide my disgusted expression when she admitted to buying her daughter a Bratz comforter set, that she didn’t really like them either, but her daughter “really wanted it, so…” Pardon me, but that is when you step in as a responsible parent and say no. Kids will not burst into flames or deteriorate into a pile of dust if they hear no every now and then!
Why is it so difficult for people to grasp things like this? Why don’t people understand basic things like the fact that a strong, independent woman needs to begin as a strong, independent girl, not a child who is taught that her sexuality is more important than her mind, at an age before she understands what sexuality is; or is smothered in pink as if her X chromosomes rendered her incapable of distinguishing any other color; or has her mind filled with things she “can’t” do….girls don’t play sports! It’s not lady-like to speak your mind, be competitive, or have an opinion!
I was at a park once and heard a woman scolding her daughter for wanting to run around, because this mother chose to dress this child in a frilly dress and shiny silly shoes and then take her to a park. Not to play, apparently, so I don’t know what the hell she was doing there. Was she supposed to pose stiffly like a china doll and let everyone admire her, stroke her hair, ooh and ahh over how pretty she looked, while boys ran and played like normal children?
For crying out loud, folks, stop stifling little girls, sitting on them with a pillow of double standards plastered over their faces, choking the life and spirit out of them with antiquated notions of what girls and women “should” do, because only one of two things is going to happen. If we are lucky, she will rebel and throw off the shackles and be branded a “tomboy” or “difficult” or worse. Most likely, however, she will give up, take the path of least resistance, let a piece of her die, abandon herself, shake off her wings, and conform to society’s suffocating disease of female standards, forgetting that there ever was any other way.
Bratz dolls are just a piece of this. A symptom of a sickness that is not going away. No, it’s not cute to see 3-year-olds in t-shirts that say “Flirt”, or girls trying their damnest to have fun on a playground despite the fact that their lame-brained parents dressed them in skirts and slippery dress shoes, or to shop for girls’ clothes and stand there shaking my head in the sea of nauseating pink wondering why it’s a federal offense for a female to like any other color. I’m also fed up with little boys practically having toys smacked out of their hands if they are perceived as the least bit feminine, as if certain appendages will instantly shrivel and fall off if a boy plays with a doll, a toy kitchen, a purse.
Do we not want these boys to grow up and be daddies and husbands and roommates and hopefully independent adults someday? Why instill a knee-jerk allergic reaction to anything that fosters compassion or nurturance, or taking care of others and themselves, or learning domestic skills, then ponder endlessly later why these males don’t know how to take care of a baby, clean a house, or express their emotions? On the same line of thought, don’t we want today’s little girls to grow up to be independent adults as well? How the hell will they do that if they are being taught now that their mind is secondary to their appearance, that their passivity is valued above ambition, that everywhere they turn is something they “can’t” do?
The same insanity is repeated, generation after generation, and it floors me that so few people question it, defy it, challenge it. I don’t know what went through the head of that woman snapping up Bratz toys for some unfortunate little girl. I don’t know what goes through anyone’s head when they treat a little girl like a toy to be dressed up and shown off, or treat a little boy like he isn’t allowed to cry or love or play with “girl” toys. Nothing but injecting them with the same venom that made these people close-minded robots to begin with. Does it ever stop?