My sister and I could be called "new urban parents" I suppose. Whether you are a parent or not, anyone can find this funny. It's from a new website called babble.com and it made me laugh out loud at my monitor, which was a little awkward for everyone around me, but if it makes you do the same thing, it'll all be worth it.
Bratz Dolls: Brides of Christ in Pleather Minis
Did anybody else just completely freak out in the midst of reading that article in The New Yorker about Bratz dolls? The whole thing is just apocalyptically depressing. I mean, Barbie was bad enough: the giant rack, the blond hair, the twiggy hips and legs. And now she's supposed to be the model of feminist empowerment? Because, see, Barbie actually holds down a job, or appears to want one.
The Bratz dolls, by contrast, are "party girls." Their chosen activities, as set out in the various sold-separately Bratzanalia, includes trips to Vegas and all-night mall parties. They dress in that fashion that was once, long ago, called "trampy," but that we must now learn to call "sassy" and "super-cute!" They wear short skirts and tight T-shirts with inspirational slogans like "My Heart Belongs to Shopping" and "So Many Boys, So Little Time." It would all be kind of cute (in a Jonbenet Ramsey sort of way) if the target audience for Bratz wasn't, like, six-year-old girls.
Honestly, I wouldn't even give a shit about this half-witted huckster mysogyny, except that I've got a baby girl now and at some point, presumably, she's going to start running with a posse of other little girls who all play with these dolls. And so I'm going to have to come off like this big, crusty curmudgeon when I tell her, No, she can't have a Bratz doll, even though Ashley and Sadie and Madison have one! Because, honestly, you can't explain concepts like self-commodification to six-year-olds. They just want the damn product. And the more you withhold it from them, the more precious it becomes in their gimlet eyes, and the harder they're going to push for it.
So I'm sitting there stewing about all this last night and feeding Josie her bottle and staring into her innocent, not-yet-self-commodified little eyes and anticipating the day she will toddle home and calmly announce that she's disowning me if I don't buy her the Yasmin Bratz doll, and the whole prospect is giving me Daddy's First Ulcer.
And that's when it hits me.
Rather than fighting against the current, why not bodysurf the new wave of under-age sexualization/consumerization?
That's why (just as soon as I scratch together the scratch), I'll be introducing a new doll to compete with Bratz: Baby's First Slut!
That's right, parents! She's the Baby who goes all the way! All her parts move. Yes they do. All of them. A few even secrete! Sometimes, Baby's First Slut wears outfits, but not when she's feeling naughty! Some of the other dolls don't like Baby's First Slut, but that's only because all the boys love her. She knows how to make them happy. So happy that they buy Baby's First Slut lots and lots of sassy outfits.
This is where we get into the really big money: Accessories! Baby's First Slut is all about the product:
Baby's First Bling!
Baby's First Escalade!
Baby's First Ice!
Baby's First Cristal!
In the interest of being culturally sensitive – as well as making sure we nail down all our market sectors – we'd need some multi-ethnic Slut equivalents:
Baby's First Concubine!
Baby's First Courtesan!
Baby's First Puta!
Baby's First Ho!
And we'd need to make sure that we gave the girls exciting narrative elements to work towards. That's why we'd publish a whole set of books (with necessary spinoff product, obviously) to stake out the following exciting adventures:
Baby's First Internet Porn Video!
Baby's First STD!
Baby's First Unwanted Pregnancy!
Baby's First Abortion!
Baby's First Substance Abuse Crisis! (Baby's First Rehab sold separately.)
Baby's First Suicide Attempt!
We wouldn't want to turn things dark too quickly, though, because we need to score some celebrity endorsements early on in the process.
If we position ourselves correctly, we'll get credit from the lefty moonbats (like myself) who are always moaning about the bad messages that dolls send, while also drawing the masses of little girls who just want to emulate the false versions of female empowerment and happiness peddled by the various Power Sluts of our age. I don't want to toot my own horn here, but this is basically a blank check for a gajillion dollars just waiting for you to sign.
Who's with me?"
If you know the name of the author of this piece, please let me know so that I can give them credit. My sister found the article on babble.com but I could not find it when i went to the site. Nonetheless, the entire site was funny as hell.