For all the badmouthing we hear over Barbie, her double Ds, her noodle-thin waist and so-long-and-thin-she’d-topple-over-if-she-were-alive legs, the fact remains, she was cool as hell to play with. When we were four, we didn’t yet realize she was starting what would turn out to be the slow demise of our body image, that soon, she’d be replaced by Playboy models and plastic surgery ads and all sorts of “You’ll never look as good as I do!” kinds of fun. We just loved making her bake cakes in the Barbie Dream House and growing her long, blond locks to totally long lengths.
Today’s little girls have even more options available when it comes to stereotyping dolls. Like the Bratz:Jade, Yasmin, Chloe and Sasha. With their fishnet stockings, Latisse-long eyelashes and proclivities for everything from blogging to reading celeb biographies to makeovers (sometimes all in one afternoon!), the poor Bratz babes have been blamed for just about everything from the souring economy to global warming. (And, as The Onion has pointed out they contribute to girls’ misguided notion that to be beautiful and sexy, they need gigantically oversized heads.)
Now, joining the Bratz and Barbie on the sidelines as they cheer on their football-playing jock boyfriends, we have the Liv Dolls, AKA the "Anti-Bratz." Daniela, Katie, Sophie and Alexis were designed to be more relatable for young girls because they each allegedly have “flaws”. These include wearing glasses (Sophie) and being a klutz (Katie).
Are these really flaws, though? I’m not sure what I expected – it’s not like Toys R Us is going to carry a line of dolls who drop the F bomb or are prone to carjacking or go by the name Greedy Gertie. But worse than the non-flaws is the fact that they make little girls who actually need glasses to see feel like they are somehow flawed. It would be like giving a doll brown hair and calling it her cute little flaw. It also plays on the whole "only smart girls wear glasses" stereotype, thereby insinuating that for a girl, being smart is bad.
And as an epic klutz myself, can I just say, it's not a flaw! It's charming, hurts no one but ourselves and is merely symptomatic of a person who has lots of things going on and wants to be everywhere at once and can someone please get my an ice pack because I just plowed into the light pole!
I totally appreciate the opportunity to broaden girls’ horizons with new and innovative toys, and girly girl dolls have their time and place, too, but if you’re gonna call something a flaw, maybe tween-oriented dolls aren’t the place to do it.