Sad Day to be a Girl

18 03 2011

Maybe it’s the warmer weather, or the peek of colour from crocus blooms in my garden today, but I started off with such a cheery disposition…then the media barrage began. First I read that this coming Sunday, March 20th, is the first International Anti-Street Harassment Day. Apparently a day is needed to remind us that catcalls, leers, sexual innuendo and whistles (aka street harassment) are inappropriate. I would like to think offensive behaviour is just that, offensive. Should be out of bounds each and every day. Activists would likely say I’m naive. I can’t fault their efforts to educate, and I recognize that this offensive harassment is often trivialized. According to street harassment “includes sexually explicit comments, catcalls, groping, leering, stalking and assault, and more than 80 per cent of women have encountered it”. Learning that grim statistic makes me think a day set aside to expose the offenders isn’t such a bad idea (sad, but necessary).

Moving on with my day, I next discovered that Mattel Inc. has launched a new Barbie, called Clawdeen Wolf. This new doll’s purpose is…are you ready?…to help teach young girls about plucking and shaving. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m picking on Mattel here, but seriously…there are just too many issues here not to raise a few red flags. First, Clawdeen is clad in a micromini skirt, baring her navel, and is a ridiculous but no-longer-surprising size 2. It gets worse. The Globe & Mail reports that she boasts of being “a fierce fashionista with a confident no-nonsense attitude” and that shaving and plucking her “freaky flaws” is “a full-time job” (she’s a werewolf’s daughter, according to Mattel’s Monster High web site). Does Mattel think that the little girls who will actually play with this Barbie are in need of shaving guidance? More to the point, does Mattel see body hair as “a freaky flaw” and intend for young girls to see it that way too? Yes, Clawdeen is a toy. But she’s obviously marketed to young girls, and as toys go this is but another example of being off the mark in so many ways. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…manufacturers need to hear from us when they so blatantly target children with messages that are sexualized and age inappropriate. Parents will no doubt be the most influential censors where purchases are concerned, but in the spirit of “it takes a village” (and recognizing that parents need all the help they can get) we should be all be offended, and vocally so. The Globe & Mail reports that Clawdeen is already a big seller, quoting a Toys ‘R’ Us spokesperson saying that Clawdeen is “the most popular fashion doll that we have today” and a Mattel spokesperson (defending the doll), saying she is “all about celebrating your imperfections and accepting the imperfections of others.”

Yes, it started out as a nice (almost spring) day. But it has turned out to be a sad day to be a girl.



2 responses

18 03 2011

Wow, that’s shocking! What girl needs to be worrying about plucking and shaving whilst their playing with their dolls! It’s ridiculous…

18 03 2011
Karen Smith

Sad but true. Thanks for commenting!

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