By Sarah Corbin
I'm glad that most of my shopping blogger focus is on local merchandise and small box shops, because I could never help to promote a store that sold Monster High dolls in high profile.
These dolls, which out sold Barbie by over 40% this past holiday season, are the Mattel solution to not having been able to sell Bratz dolls for a couple of years. Monster High, a set of curvy teen characters wtih monstrous gentetics hasn't seemed to come under too much feminist fire. I can't, as a mom and feminist, understand why more people aren't upset about the promotion of these intellectually daft characters.
Mind you, while a true feminist, I'm not anti feminine. I bought my daughter a pair of little Beauty and the Beast Disney heels when she was three because the set at school that boys and girls alike couldn't wait to wear was one of her favorite things. I love partnering on fashion related news with Suze Solari. And I do enjoy a good pedicure.
But I have my limits.
We are raising our son and daughter to first and foremost care for others. My husband and I both value diversity. We value education. It's why we decided to move back to Oak Park. Thankfully, we do really live in a liberal, educated midwest community of "green" minded folks.
It's why I can't imagine that someone would buy this over make-uped, short skirted doll for their daughter after they made that same decision to live in Oak Park. Further, in a day and age when we try and limit the amount of screen time that our kids get, I also can't imagine allowing 3rd graders to devote a moment of TV time to the Monster High cartoon series. It's a show filled with snarky overdressed back stabbing high school aged drivel.
And yet, there was a group of girls that not only collected them, but started a Monster High club at my daughter's school. I was stunned when my daughter told me. Really. My jaw hung open for a bit.
When my daughter brought it up, not fully asking for a doll, I said this: "I suppose that in this house we value your intellectual abilities, your ability to be creative, more than we value how your hair looks in the morning. It's still important to have a clean and neat appearance, but these dolls and the shows encourage young girls to value their bodies before they value their minds. And I don't like that, I'm sorry, but we can't have those dolls in this house."
I'm making a little face to myself even as I'm writing this. I'm still stunned.
I personally don't think a doll like that is an innocent toy. The Monster High series even has a doll that is a skeleton under her clothes. That's' right. She still has curvy bones, but no FLESH.
Let me repeat, I'm not anti fashion. And I'm not anti monster. I just want a little body image realism. And I want a doll that has characters with hearts and minds.
So I made it a mini mission this summer to find some good cool GIRL toys that folks can substitute. Ignore the requests for Monster High Dolls from your daughter. There are better options out there - bought locally, to drive our local economy.
I visited just three locations: Geppetto's Toy Box, Magic Tree Bookstore and Sugarcup Traders. I think each of these retailers has made it their mini mission to provide quality, educational items for our daughters. And they are each a part of our larger community: independent, intelligent shops.
See the pics attached for a full represenation of some of those toys.