Marketers say that kids are getting older at younger ages and market to 6-year-olds like theyre 13, and 13-year-old girls like they are 20. Bratz designer, Hayden Williams, wanted the dolls to showcase his love of fashion and pop culture and he did just that.
The original Bratz included four dolls: Yasmin, Cloe, Jade, and Sasha. These dolls had large heads, big eyes that somewhat resembled Blythe dolls of the 1960s (Learn the History Behind the Bratz Dolls). The arrival of Bratz dolls created a wave of excitement among young girls across the globe.
However, Bratz dolls have created a lot of controversy on a national and international level based on their hyper-sexuality, materialistic lifestyle, bad influence on young girls, and ethnic diversity.
Over the course of time, Bratz dolls have been seen as oversexualized dolls for young girls. The dolls wardrobe mainly consist of tight or short clothing that doesnt suit young girls. A lot of moms were disturbed by the marketing of Bratz dolls.
They were alarmed to see that such a doll was marketed to toddlers and adolescents. Psychologists believe the dolls encourage girls to have the desire to look sexy, rather than being smart. Since the dolls seemingly represent a sort of girl power, a lot of girls fail to realize that this kind of power isnt what will help them become successful, it will help them get boys to look at them.
Bratz dolls smaller, more childlike bodies make them closely relatable for young girls. A report from the American Psychological Association found, from research, that Bratz used advertising and media images that encouraged girls to focus on their looks and sexuality, which can be harmful to their emotional and physical health (Donohue).
Bratz dolls put a lot of emphasis on having a materialistic lifestyle. The slogan created for the dolls is Girls With a Passion for Fashion! (Jow). The focus is shopping, so Bratz dolls set a higher standard of living for girls. A lot of girls wanted to live the Bratz lifestyle as it was constantly advertised. The dolls teach girls that it is important have a glamourous life. With the development of Bratz dolls, adolescent girls began to wear a ton of makeup and dress inappropriately for their age. At least that was the message conveyed by the dolls. Girls wanted to be just like the dolls, which resembled young teens. The dolls role in society was to encourage girls to do more shopping and be more interested it fashion and modeling rather than education.
Bratz dolls were said to be a bad influence on adolescent girls. For example, Bratz dolls convey the market message of sex being a commodity. Group cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), Susan Linn, cites Bratz as one of many examples of belly-baring shirts, low-rider jeans, and thong underwear made for girls under 10 years old. According to the Manchester News, Bratz were the worst offenders of encouraging girls to focus on looks and sexuality (Donohue).
There are parents who believe Bratz dolls are hell-spawn for girls arent very self-possessed, well-loved, and confident (The Good, The Bad, and The Bratz). While majority of parents believe the dolls are a serious issue, some believe they arent that big of an issue and think that any negativity in the dolls can be offset by instilling good values at home (Bratz Doll Controversy).
They believe the dolls really only have an impact on girls who arent 100 percent sure of themselves. They believe it is also the parents responsibility to raise their child to be self-aware. Parents believe the doll contributes to the objectification of women with its strong focus on looks and sexuality (The Good, The Bad, and The Bratz). The dolls help desensitize children to open displays of sexuality making it seem okay (The Good, The Bad, and The Bratz). With all of these sexual implications of Bratz dolls, it seems clear that the dolls were bad influences on the development of young girls.
Bratz dolls introduced a large amount of ethnic diversity into the doll industry, even though they werent made for any particular race. They have large eyes, full lips, a very small nose and range in skin tones and hair colors. MGA executives explain that they dont market the dolls as belonging to a particular race. For example, there are girls from Samoa who think Sasha is Samoan and girls from the United States who believes she is from Harlem.
A lot of people believe Bratz dolls were made to represent Latina women (Sorey-Backus). According to Backus, MGA entertainment wanted to be clear that they were trying to represent non-white dolls in a way that made it acceptable to the public. Unlike Barbie who simply had various dye jobs and costume changes, Bratz actually had a range of physical features that represent people of different ethnicities (Sorey-Backus).
Overall, the controversy over Bratz dolls has spread internationally because of their hyper-sexuality, materialistic lifestyle, bad influence on young girls, and ethnic diversity. The wardrobe of the dolls is too mature to market them to adolescent children. To have such a focus on material things and physical appearance makes girls worry about the wrong things instead of what is important, such as personal knowledge. Not all girls this age are fully aware of themselves so, exposure to these dolls is something negative. Although it is nice to see the wide range of ethnicities shown through the dolls, the hypersexuality and unnecessarily materialistic lifestyle outweighs that one positive feature. With the information given, maybe you will think twice before purchasing a Bratz doll for your child.