Creative Moments | Life

Giving Bratz dolls back their childhood.

6th April 2015
Photo of one bratz doll

There has been much debate around toys recently. I’ve seen debates around why Lego has nice pink, flowery sets for girls but the characters who are off on space adventures and saving lives are clearly marketed at the boys section.  There has been huge discussion about gender-specific play, about the difference in messages between boys and girls clothing, about gender-stereotyped marketing aimed at children and about which subjects children are encouraged in during school.

There has also been ongoing discussion about hypersexualisation of dolls.  Enter the Bratz doll.

A few years ago, a new brand of dolls popped onto the toy shelves.  The Bratz doll is a collection of All-American girls.  These girls have sky-high heels, fishnet stockings and feather boas.  Crop tops are the norm as is a thick layer of eye makeup and glossy must-have-been-botox lips.  These dolls were aimed at the under 10s toy market.  The dolls shocked a lot of people, clearly very sexualised and very image conscious, these dolls even have shallow, ditsy personalities created for them by the manufacturing brand.

This tapped back into the issue of exposing children to overt gender stereotypes and overly adult images far too early in their childhoods.

Luckily, a wonderful artist from Tasmania in Australia, Sonia Singh has been seeing the inner beauty in these dolls.  Transforming them into dolls that look age-appropriate and much like the children that might pick them up.  You can imagine these dolls having adventures climbing trees, camping and exploring nature. As opposed to applying more hair extensions and shopping.  One day I hope that I have children of my own and I know which doll I’d rather they played with.

(Video credit: SBS2 Australia)

  1. Brats dolls , not so much worse surely than the impossibly long legs and unrealistic breasts of Barbie.? I do agree that the marketing that surrounds these dolls now is so much more sophisticated . I think there are Bratz TV programs. Whatever happened to Lego that was just varying sizes of brick shape that you could imagine away to you hearts content ? -instead of having to follow endless instructions which leave you with a model so fragile that any attemp to play with it will require it being reconstructed from the beginning. Who needs lego ?- when most two year olds are so touch screen literate they wouldn’t want or know how to to build anything anyway. Childhood may be a rapidly diminishing state when children are children for fewer years .

    1. Completely agree with you on the Barbie subject Alice. She couldn’t even function as a real woman with those proportions. I just highlighted Bratz as it was the subject of the video. It’s so sad to think of childhoods being lost due to technology, you’re right – lego, Brio Mec, building dens in the garden – it all sparked creativity and imagination that I don’t think an iPad screen can. Is it just too easy for parents to let kids veg out in front of a screen? Perhaps when both parents have to work in order to get the bills paid, they’re just too tired to argue against screens…I’m sure I can empathise after being a Nanny! Do you think schools do enough ‘off screen’? Hmm…we’ll have to get the wine out to discuss this one! B x

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