Don’t Mess With Strawberry Shortcake

January 24, 2012

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Adorable.

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Charming and sweet.

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Precious!

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Fun ice cream for cute Strawberry Shortcake and her friends!

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Look at Raspberry Tart's little pink curls! Look at her sweet pink gingham dress!

Strawberry shortcake1
What happened to Blueberry Muffin? Are her pants sprayed on? Are they pants? Apparently Blueberry Muffin is going to the prom. With no pants.

Strawberry Shortcake2
Strawberry Shortcake got beautifuller. Or something. What was wrong with her before? Why does she need to become all red carpet-esque? I’m afraid of this Strawberry Shortcake, she looks evil.

Bratz
WHAT IS THIS? WHY DO THEY EXIST? WHAT IS A BRATZ? HOW MUCH DO THEY CHARGE PER HOUR? WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR A CHILD’S TOY? I’M CONVINCED SOME TOY COMPANY IS LAUGHING LAUGHING RIGHT NOW. . . LIKE THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE TO MAKE THESE BUT THEN SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY BOUGHT SOME. . .

Did we all enjoy that little progression through cute and scary doll land? I know I am now pretty horrified. I realized after my Winter at Our House post, (wherein I showed some pix of the vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls I gave to Julia this past Christmas) we needed to have a much longer discussion about WHAT THE HECKFIRE HAS HAPPENED TO STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE OVER THE YEARS AND WHY HAVE DOLLS IN GENERAL BECOME. . . something I would never, could never, give to my child. Like, I feel like I have to walk incredibly fast when we go through a toy aisle that has these creatures.

I had to get Julia the original Strawberry Shortcake dolls because I had them when I was little and they were my favorite dollies. The ones available now are not nearly as cute and they are all plasticky and they look somewhat hoochie-esque. WHY? WHY must STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE BE HOOCHIFIED? WHY TOYMAKERS WHY? And what's up with the general hoochiefication of childhood anyway? No daughter of mine is going to wear/watch/play with something that looks like it came off a 28 year old woman with a strong aversion to clothing. Sorry. I really don't understand where all this hoochie is coming from because no one I know would be into it for their children. So why do "they" keep pushing it onto consumers? I'm baffled by it all. Could someone please explain 'Bratz' dolls to me?

(Andrew very helpfully suggested that I use the word “slattern” instead of “hoochie”. Maybe “trollop”?)

I won't go there toymakers. I won't buy your hoochie version of Strawberry Shortcake for my daughter. You plan, whatever it was, has backfired. So to Ebay I go to find the darling Strawberry Shortcake of my childhood.

Despite my love for all things old fashioned, I consider myself to be fairly forward thinking, but these dolls are not forward. They are not hip. Nor are they rad. I can’t even classify these as toys. I find it an interesting phenomenon that I often have to go to Ebay to seek out vintage toys to find something that is appropriate for my 5 year old to play with. I find it both interesting and disheartening that I have maybe five costume choices to pick from at Halloween (unless I make it myself, which sadly is not really within my craft capability) if I want to avoid my little girl looking like she’s 5-going-on-30.

I won’t pretend to have any answers. I just want to know WHAT IS GOING ON (I think Oprah did a show about this topic once, the aging-forward of childhood.) and WHY IS IT HAPPENING? I know little girls have always wanted to try on their mommy’s makeup and pretend to be grown up ladies, but things seem to have gotten out of hand. A five year old should not be marketed to like they are a teen. Or even a ‘tween’.

Good grief. I’m going to go play with the 30 year old Strawberry Shortcake doll I gave to Julia now.
 


(Image credits of modern dolls: Hasbro.com, Bratz.com)




14 comments:

  1. Melissa, you must be my twin or something. This is EXACTLY how I feel when I walk through (or shall I say, run past) the toy aisle in Target with Miss C. Have you seen those zombie dolls too? http://monsterhighdolls.net/ They sell them at Target. I think they're the undead equivalent of the Hooker... um, I mean Bratz... dolls.

    And don't even get me started on Halloween costumes! They go from cute and fluffy baby costumes to trashy preschool and little girl costumes without missing a beat.

    *Sigh*

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  2. Oh, and a follow-up question: What happened to Strawberry Shortcake's nose? It looks almost non-existent in the new version. Poor Strawberry Shortcake got a bad nose job.

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  3. I remember those bratz dolls came out when I was teaching high school kids. They looked scarily a lot like some of my students--so sad.

    Old school strawberry shortcake is the best! I have fond memories of her as a kid. :)

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  4. Sarah aka Miss Watersilk1/24/12, 9:23 AM

    Yikes! When I saw the dollies on Sunday the thought crossed my mind that it was nice that Strawberry Shortcake hadn't changed that much over the years. I guess I was wrong. I can't really tell how the "new" versions relate to the characters. I mean, didn't they wear those bonnets to keep their hair from falling into all the delicious baked goods? They seem so generic now, which bothers me most of all.

    Silly Eagle Books is on to something, though, about how Bratz looked like teenagers. I think toy marketers know that little girls look to teenage girls as paragons of femininity - they see the big signposts of big hair and eyes (and eye makeup) and the more, uhh, "slatternly" aspects don't register to them at all. It's a mashup of the Disney/anime aesthetic for faces and Barbie.

    Speaking of Barbie - I had the relatively wholesome Strawberry Shortcake toys and I had Barbie. And frankly, Barbie generally looked liked she had been booted off of Dynasty for being too adult-looking. ;)

    It seems like there should be a middle way - toys and clothes that are bright, shiny, plastic-y, appealing to school-age little girls that don't launch them into premature adolescence. Hmm.

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  5. You are soo right!!!
    How did you manage to keep Julia away from the American girl doll thing? Btw, also for 8 year olds, yet every girl in kindergarten got one, including my child(i'm a push over!).

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  6. So ladies, I feel like we're all pretty much on the same page. Which leads me to ask, what page are toymakers on? Who is on their marketing panels? It is such a mystery to me.

    You know, I think American Girl dolls are sweet and adorable. They certainly don't look like streetwalkers, which is nice. There are some pretty dolls out there (Kathe Kruse dolls, AG dolls, Corolle -- smells like vanilla! and Madame Alexander dolls - but these dolls are not cheap.)

    The only reason Julia doesn't know about AG dolls is b/c I have been warned by friends to not let her know, so I toss the catalog when it comes in. Also, Julia is basically not that into dolls. She does love the Strawberry Shortcakes, but she doesn't care a fig for Barbie, and never cared about baby dolls.

    She wants to start collecting Pokemon figurines and cards, she's found out about them at school and she has always loved strange little creaturey things.

    Yikes. Does everyone else with a little girl just cower in fear about What is Yet to Come? I do. xoxo, Melissa

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  7. @Michelle: zombie dolls???? oh I will totally have to check those out...Andrew will probably think they are awesome...

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  8. Andrew just suggested a line of dolls called "Trampz"....

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  9. This was so interesting I don't know that we have the updated (read morphed into something awful!) strawberry shortcake here in the Uk, but we have bratz.
    I much prefer the original strawberry shortcake & agree the new one is scarey!
    Kat x

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  10. YES!!! THANK you!! Vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls are waaaayyyy cuter than the modern ones. I ordered one off Ebay for myself-I-mean-my-daughter too. :) Oh and also thank you for using words like hoochiefication, slattern, and trollop all in the same post. LOL!!!
    www.vintagebooksfortheveryyoung.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. don't forget about 'heckfire'....:)

      I think all bloggers should use words like 'trollop' and 'slattern' a lot more frequently, would make things a great deal more entertaining!

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  11. AHHHHH, my eyes! My eyes! I can't take it! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Thank heavens I still have all my Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

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  12. Straight up, Melissa. I'm lucky enough to have a vintage (is that what we're calling things from our childhood now? Scary!) Apple Dumplin' and some Strawberry Shortcake books and games. Why change a good thing?

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  13. OMG you totally just gave voice to something I've been thinking for several years now. WHY? Not the precious sweet Strawberry Shortcake of my childhood. That gal had curly hair, a bonnet that smelled of strawberries, and sweet friends. I even had the baby doll that blew strawberry scented kisses. When the time comes, I'm going to do what you did and buy her a vintage one. Bravo darling! Bravo!

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