A. Quinton — Aug. 28th 2010
Mattel’s new “Monster High” dolls are your typical Bratz-style teen divas, but as the name indicates, they’re also monsters. All the usual suspects are represented, including a werewolf girl named Clawdeen Wolf. So we’ve got another toy franchise that seems geared towards training 10-year-old girls to be rail-thin airhead fashionistas… but by making these dolls monsters, is Mattel is also saying “it’s okay to be different”? Perhaps! In a recent LA Times article, Mattel Brands general manager Tim Kilpin said “They’re fun characters to build a world around. Who doesn’t feel like a freak in high school? It started with that universal truth.” Okay, so there’s some positive empathy, which seems promising… but now read Clawdeen’s bio. Am I crazy, or does it only mention her monstrous aspect in neutral or negative terms? This line is particularly worrisome: “Plucking and shaving is definitely a full time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous.” In other words, “I am different and unique, but through constant painful effort I can change myself to fit in.” Great. Picture Clawdeen locked in the bathroom, shaving her legs and crying, “Ginger Snaps” style. Hurry, Clawdeen! If you do a good job and get all that icky hair off, your friends will still like you, and then you can get back to your favourite activities– “shopping and flirting with the boys!” Nice work, Mattel.
There’s a great post about Clawdeen and Monster High at the She-Wolf blog that’s well worth reading, especially if you love to get annoyed about children’s toys like I do!