And Deborah's comment section has ended up straying into Barbieland, as readers debate whether Barbie really has/had such a negative influence as is so often assumed. Deborah initially writes in her post (actually about cellphones for children):
I had banned Barbie dolls in our house, for the obvious reasons, and I had told her that I would not buy her one. But one day, she sat at the lunch table and told us that she had decided she was not going to get fish, she was going to spend her money on something else, and it would be something we didn’t like.
“Bloody hell,” I thought. “That child is going to get herself a Barbie.”
I could have said no, that she was not to spend her money on a Barbie. But it was her money. Children have very little power, and and very little space in which they can make decisions for themselves. I thought that it was better for her to be able to have some area of her life that she could control, so I nodded my head, and agreed that she could get herself a Barbie doll, even though I did not like it.
And there have been many responses in comments asserting that Barbie is more about clothes than body-shape, and that many women have turned out pretty ok despite their childhood obsession with the disproportionate doll. I think I can count myself amongst that number, but I leave that to the dear readers to determine ;-)
Yet people seem to be pretty united in their disapproval of Bratz. What's the difference really? How is Barbie no longer so much of a worry for feminists, but Bratz is? Is it just because it is new? Or because the figurines are even more unrealistic than their evolutionary ancestor (see fuzzy pic to the left)?
(And in passing, I'm bemused to see a picture of both of these dolls seeming to stand upright without assistance. I'm pretty sure I recall reading that Barbie at least would topple over if life-size, and certainly I could never get any of my trio of the dolls to stand up, even with shoes on. It was a real pain in the arse.)