I love Monster High dolls. As much as I wish they displayed more body diversity and weren't so skeletal I applaud Mattel for creating a world of dolls that breaks the mold that girl playthings have to be stereotypically "pretty." I love the work Mattel does with promoting the brand in conjunction with anti-bullying groups and the motto of the line which is Be yourself, be unique, be a monster. I've got a daughter, she loves Monster High, and I have no issue with her playing with dolls. I'm one of those feminists who believe that a girl can grow up playing with dolls and still be a strong woman. I'm one of them myself, because I had more Barbie and fashion dolls than I knew what to do with. But I'm just not sure about these new Inner Monster dolls, created to help girls "get in touch with their emotions." Especially considering the range of emotions — little plastic pieces you can snap into their chest cavity — are all based on things we tend to connect with girls, meaning there's a whole lot of sexist girly items you can use. Let's take the Spooky Sweet 'n Frightfully Fierce doll — she comes with with a little plastic cupcake, bow and sweet tooth.
Then we have the Scared Silly 'n Shockingly Shy doll. She comes with a heart and flowers. And a turtle, which I suppose they are using to illustrate feeling shy.
Even the Fearfully Feisty n' Mad doll comes with hearts and bows, and the only plastic emoticon I see that even slightly represents anger is maybe the little skull.
I'm also quite sure a few parents will have issues with the tiny little heart you can snap in over the plastic doll pelvis.
What's the point of a doll used to express emotions if the only emotions offered are hearts and bows and cupcakes? Even the add-on packs you can buy to further customize your dolls are all cutesy — pieces of candy, makeup compacts and more hearts. I'm not saying they need to include a little knife or a handgun to express anger, but how about a frowny face or a little journal icon to write your feelings in? What if a girl loves sports? What if girls love reading or running or collecting bugs or music?
One of the cool aspects of the doll is that you can press on their brains to make their eyes change colors, which is happily reminiscent of a Barbie I had when I was little who had hair that grew longer when you pulled on it. But I'm not sure that really expresses enough emotion to convey anything other than pretty eye colors.
I like this concept. I love the idea of dolls being able to mirror what feelings a kid is going through. I just wish Mattel understood that most girls (and yes, these dolls are mostly marketed to girls) have bigger emotions and interests than cupcakes and hearts.
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