Christmas after Christmas, parents fork out billions to support a booming toy industry, profiteering from little girls the world over.
The concept that Barbie dolls eulogize the unhealthy, unnaturally skinny (yet buxom) female, while Bratz dolls emulate the ever-offensive stereotypical tween, is apparently unfamiliar to most parents, as they pile their trolleys high with character beach towels, toys, clothing, underwear, shoes, school materials, cheap novelties and other stocking fillers for their daughters.
Holding pride of place on the shelves this year is a scantily clad collection of Bratz models whose knee-high boots, mini-skirts and midriffs give them away more as harlots than as children's play things.
Each Christmas there seems to be a greater array of character products than there were the year before, and each year the tween dolls are strewn in fewer clothes and display more cleavage than they did the year before.
These are not like the dolls of a 2 year old who carefully dresses, feeds and plays with her precious toys and whose playtime is actually a reflection of the reality in which she lives.
No, these dolls have no serious purpose, except perhaps for the manufacturer or creator whose bottom line is at stake. To the little girls who receive these dolls this Christmas, their use is totally unnecessary, perhaps even dangerous.
As Teresa Tomeo notes in her recent book on the media and modern culture, the incidence of breast augmentations on girls under the age of 18 has more than tripled in the past decade.(1)
Couple this with an unhealthy diet of ‘reality’ weight-loss programs and supermodel discovery chanels, and we have a lethal combination for creating materialistic, image-focussed, sexualized pre-teens.
(1) Tomeo, T. Noise 2007 Ascension Press, p. 106
© Eva Whiteley 2009