Clawdean Wolf and Monster High

Posted by Glennis Byron on March 18, 2011 in Blog tagged with , ,

Mattel’s Monster High dolls, released in 2010, have become the company’s best-selling fashion dolls. The  dolls include, as advertised on the Mattel site, a variety of teenage children of legendary monsters. For example,

‘Frankie Stein doll and friends are the coolest ghouls at their school, Monster High! The daughter of Frankenstein, this bold — and bolted — fashionista is the high-voltage, klutzy new kid. Frankie Stein doll is fully articulated and comes with a stand, so you can pose her in lots of fun ways.’ Frankie also has a puppy called Watzit, stitched together from all the best bits of household pets.

Then there is Draculaura: ‘The daughter of Dracula, this fangtastic fashionista is a vegan vampire with a biting sense of humor. Draculaura doll is fully articulated and comes with a stand, so you can pose her in lots of fun ways.’

Other characters include Ghoulia Yelps, daughter of two zombies from Night of the Living Dead, and the smartest student in the school, and Holt Hyde, who comes with his own pet chameleon.

On the Monster High website, viewers can access games, character biographies and various downloads, and the online webisodes for Monster High. For those of you unfamiliar with Monster High, here’s a short example from youtube in which Frankie tries out for the fearleading squad:

The only scary thing about these dolls, as far as I can see, is the attached warning: Choking Hazard. Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years.

At the moment, there’s something of a ruckus about these dolls, in particular, Clawdeen Wolf, whose on-line profile reads:  ‘My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that’s just what grows on my legs. Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous.’

‘Wondering how to broach the subjects “plucking and shaving” with your six-year-old daughter?’ Erin Anderssen of the Globe and Mail asks, ‘Well, the toy company Mattel has helpfully put a doll on the market to kick-start that all-important conversation. Toothpick thin and leggy (naturally), clad in the shortest of minis and showing off her belly button, she’s called Clawdeen Wolf – the latest extreme Barbie’.

Psychologist Dale Atkins, speaking on the Today Show, suggested

this type of toy sets young girls an unhealthy body image ideal. …When we have these ridiculous models – sexualised children, and horses with long eyelashes that are flirtatious and all of that – it sets up this ideal of beauty and body image that kids have to pay attention to because they can’t not pay attention to it. And they feel less good as they’re trying to develop a good sense about their own bodies. The sexualised aspect just makes them feel like they’re only good if they are objectified.

Margaux Vega, spokeswoman for Mattel, defends the dolls and claims ‘Monster High is all about celebrating your imperfections and accepting the imperfections of others’.

Ho hum. Been here before, haven’t we. Interesting how it is the sexualised form and not the wolf/vampire/monster connection that is causing the outrage.

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