Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hooray! 'Slutwear' Is So Last Year on New York Runways

Hooray! This story is a couple of weeks old, but it gave me great cheer. Slutwear is on its way out. I'm looking forward to being able to take my 8 year-old daughter shopping again without having to fight to keep the hoochie clothes out of the cart. No more hoochie slutwear received as gifts. I'm looking forward to seeing Rachel draw pictures of little girls who are not wearing low-slung pants or skirts and high-cut mid-drifts and prostitute shoes.

(Fashion Show Barbie, Mattel)

Adults can wear anything they want. I've never had issues with anything anyone does. Ever. But I hate having provocative adult styles pushed on little girls. Anything novel to make a buck. Let's dress 'em up like little sluts. Calvin Klein and Aberchrombie & Fitch manufactured and sold thong underwear for little girls!

If this sounds extreme to you, imagine how you might feel when it's your own little girl. Well, if the trend's on the way out, maybe you'll never have to.

Okay, since I'm in the rant-mode now, let's talk about the Disney Channel. It disgusts me to see the way appearance is valued over substance in most of the Disney shows. (Try sitting through a couple of hours of Disney Channel programming, particularly anything starring Hillary Duff.) My daughter Rachel spends a lot of time in front of the mirror agonizing over wardrobe decisions like it's all of some great consequence, just like the Disney girls do. Echhh! I've had to ban the Disney Channel in this house, with all its shallow female stereotypes.

Actually, nothing says it better than Barbie. Mattel describes Barbie as follows:
More than a doll.
From fashion selection to vintage collection, she's everything.
From urban teen to fantasy queen, she's every girl.
From surf and sand to fairyland, she's everywhere.
With more than $3.6 billion at retail, Barbie's the #1 girl's brand worldwide.
For every girl. From every world.
Yeah. They have Third World Barbie, too. She doesn't have a name, but she's a Masai from Kenya. She's from the 1990s. Rachel has one that looks like an updated Masai and her name is Nykisha or something like that. She looks a little wealthier and has gold lame flat-soled sandals and gold bracelets, anklets and neck rings.

And they've got a Barbie for almost any lifestyle, even Harley Davidson Barbie.

Mattel hast ruly taken Barbie to new levels. No, it's not Off-Duty Dominatrix Barbie. Allow me to introduce Mattel's Cool Looks Trendy, Bendy Barbie...

...and her "My Scene" friend, Madison, complete with accessories.

Meet Barbie's friend, Nolee, two versions.

They like to shop together when they're not out turning tricks.

Yep, Slutwear is alive and well, at Mattel. I think I'm going to buy a bunch of these dolls and make a movie.

Now, if you really want a pathetic laugh, check out Barbie's blog. You won't have to go do the Disney Channel thing after this. It all sounds the same.

What's much funnier is to check out Barbie's life in the 'hood. It's not as funny as the Barbie Animated Kama Sutra, which disappeared from the web several years ago, to my great sadness. Nothing made me howl in laughter like that did, mostly because you had to wait for dozens of little scenes with Barbie and Ken dolls in their various positions to load, and they were funny enough. But as soon as they all loaded, they'd simultaneously start movin'. Doin' it. Gettin' it on. It was absolutely hilarious and just thinking about it has me cracking up. Oh, how I long for the site to slip back in under Mattel's nose.

Oh, yeah. Barbie in the Hood. While on her blog page, click "Flava" from the scrolling links at the top. Or, you can click here. Once you get there, you can join her crew (funny, there's not a sista in the bunch, and only one brotha), and her homeys will give you a "flava name" if ya want. My choices were Diamond L, L Light, (Renard will like that one...inside joke), or Pinky Boo. This site is beyond belief. There is not a single urban cliche or stereotype (that they could get away with on a toy site) missing here.

Her are some other possibilities for the Barbie line.

Dare we wonder why other countries have the opinions of American culture that they do???
Dare we????


Blogger pi22seven said...

How I wish there was something we could do to change Barbie's image.


8:05 PM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

Eeep. The authoritarian controls on my computer at work have prevented me from viewing your blog at work now because of this talk of sluts (haha...ridiculous, no?).

Oh well...such is life. I have no daughters, but I think I can get the idea of how disturbing these trends would be.

9:21 PM  
Blogger more or less like you said...

Your truly could not stop laughing until tears came into her eyes. Thank you for making that smile possible (although indeed it was provoked by the extreme pathetic-ness of our culture).

10:06 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I don't let my 3 1/2 year old son watch any of the Disney kids shows, they are so shallow and geared towards consumerism. Though Disney has always been a promoter of misogyny with thier dead or evil mothers, impossible body characters and giving up everything for a man/beast story lines. I am sometimes amazed at our society, which practices both the sexualization of young girls and the infantalization of woman. Slutware maybe on the way out for the fashionistas but that means it will be a decade more for the south and and another five for the midwest. Sorry for the rant but this post hit a major button. (taking deep breaths, "Serenity Now, serenity now")

12:33 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

this issue is interesting for a couple of reasons. first off, it is truly a shame that kids' fashion would be modeled after young women's fashion, as it's totally inappropriate. the complication is, shouldn't young women of a decent age be able to have a sexy look if they want - even if young girls see them?

i'm not disagreeing with the post at all, it's just complicated. any time the issue of kids perceptions comes up i'm on alert, because i do believe that life is for kids, teens, adults, and the elderly, and that sometimes children's sensitivity is used to censor the adult world. i think the bottom line is, kids with a mom like lisa are going to come out good no matter what, and that entertainment doesn't really threaten people with a firm social grounding.

also, i think that people in this country are inclined to be more afraid of sexual content than the psychological research warrants; and that we tend to care less about violent content than the research warrants. just a thought. it is interesting how we all are more threatened by our little girls impersonating pop stars than our little boys impersonating gun fighters, ninja's, and soldiers. this is why evolutionary psych is so interesting.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

While I do agree with Eric, that adults should 'mostly' be able to do or wear whatever they want too (I would make a case of sexy vs. slutwear), I think the point of the post is that it is being pushed on pre-teens. I think there is something wrong when a popstars audience is pre-teen girls and middle-aged men. And I do have an issue with pushing agression and war on our boys, being the father of a three and a half year old boy, it's something I deal with daily. I think the flipside of the post is exactly what Eric points out, my wife and I have successfully raised a boy who doesn't make a 'gun out of everything' (until recently when he came home from pre-school, pointing his finger and saying,"pchooo, pchoo" were working on it though). I'm on the verge of another rant, so I'll pull back and say I do think we need to look at the societal messages we are sending our kids, I'm not suggesting that the answer is to hide from it, because I don't think you can, but rather to be aware of the messages out there and seek to mediate and explain them to youngsters. It would be nice if the extreme messages could be banished with the fads that I think they currently are.

6:29 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

I would have commented sooner but my grad students have been keeping me mighty busy! I had to take a break and now I'll address all these comments...

I love pi22seven's link to the Barbie Liberation Organization. I might have to join the BLO.

Lasciate, sorry to give you slut trouble at work!

More or Less, (You know it spells MOLLY, and I know that's not your name...) I am so glad it made you laugh! I hope you were not the only one. I'll let you know when the movie comes out.

You said it all so well. And you really nailed the Disney ethos. Funny how having your own children sharpens your perception of things like this, huh?

Eric and Richard- my response was so long that I decided to give it its own post...

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbie look like Mother Thereasa compared with "Brat" Dolls. These girls actually have pimp rides.

10:19 PM  

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