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Barbies, Bratz & Upbringings

Toys for children serve multiple purposes, some of the ideas behind toys revolve around inspiration and building dreams. I was the only girl in a house of boys, I have an older brother and a younger brother. I learned how to play with Street Sharks, Beast War and when PlayStation came out I knew how to dominate at Marvel Super Heroes. So hopefully this makes it easier to understand why there was not much room for My Pretty Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids in our toy box. These were just a few of the popular girls toys of the 90s; when I received my first Barbie, she was so beautiful and everything I knew I wanted to be. It was easy to start a collection, at approximately $25 a doll. Christmas and birthday wishes became easy to guess. Barbie possessed the perfect hour glass shaped body, with long legs. She had big colorful eyes, with long hair. Every outfit she ever had always fit perfectly, and looking back now I know that I grew up with that image in my head of what girls were supposed to look like. As I grew older and grew out of my Barbie phase, I noticed that Bratz dolls quickly began to become the new “it” toy for young girls. With my new maturity and perspective on dolls like these, I was quick to notice that the Bratz dolls wore twice as much make-up as Barbie, their facial features were much more pronounced as plastic surgery began to grow in popularity amongst celebrities. Their outfits became more revealing and Bratz portrayed as overall much more “trashier” appearance than Barbie. In Gary Cross’ article about “Modern Children, Modern Toys”, he explains about Locke’s theory that “children should have a variety of toys.” (page 46) However he also goes onto explain that toys should be used to “…guide the child’s “progress” or training.” By training he was referring to how girls should be taught how to be exemplary caretakers and housewives. While Barbie stood for everything feminist, she did not emphasize learning those types of lessons. I appreciate the fact that she didn’t teach this, because as our society grew, women started to devote more time away from the house and more on their jobs and careers.

Barbie, featured in the center, with her two friends.


Some of the Bratz dolls featured together.

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