June 23, 2010

Toys Receiving Makeovers: New, Improved, Sexy?

I’m not ashamed to admit, I have a bit of an obsession with the 80′s.  I grew up in the decade, spend plenty of time listening to the music of the time, and have seen VH1′s entire I Love The 80′s series more times than I can count.  I toted my books to school in my Lisa Frank backpack, wrote on the stationary, used the pens and pencils, all decorated with trippy-neon penguins, polar bears, dolphins.  So last week when I read on Jezebel, that Lisa Frank school products have received an update, I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the brand has traded in fushia and purple unicorns for images that better resemble Bratz dolls.

Unfortunately this is just the newest in a string of recent “makeovers” that 80s toys and cartoons have received:

Polly Pocket’s wardrobe now consists of high heels, miniskirts, midriff tops, and knee-hits, and she’s no longer, uh, pocket sized.

Care Bears have been given flat bellies and long eyelashes.

Rainbow Bright was slimmed down and put in a stylish minidress, with long, flowing, model-style hair.

Strawberry Shortcake was slimmed down and made up too.

My Little Pony looks like she just got back from a shopping trip to Sephora.

And of course, the aforementioned Lisa Frank.

Which, of course raises the question – what messages are these toys and cartoons sending to young girls growing up today?  I didn’t learn to loathe my body until I reached adolescence.  Seventeen would offer diet tips.  YM had a hair and make-up section, I began watching MTV after school.  It was nearly impossible not to be influenced by this barrage of imagery, to not covet having “Cosmo cover hair” or wish for the body of a Calvin Klein model – I was too fat, I needed make-up, and hairpsray, my hair was too flat, I should diet, and exercise, and get trendy clothes.

However, before that time, it was all watching Family Double Dare on Nickelodeon, playing Sonic the Hedgehog, and Highlights subscriptions.  Unfortunately with the “makeovers” these toys have received, girls are receiving these messages at a much earlier age.  I’m not saying Rainbow Bright and Polly Pocket were perfect – I am saying however, that I didn’t feel “eyelash envy” towards the Care Bears.   Girls today are surrounded by images of made-up, manicured, trendy dressing, model like figures – most of whom are sexualized – their school supplies and toys are covered in cartoons of girls in mini-dresses and high heels with giant heads and tiny little bodies; they turn on the TV and see Hannah Montana working a stripper pole during an awards show.  The issue is that the influence is beginning younger than ever.  I played with the aforementioned toys when I was in elementary school; we’re talking 2nd-3rd grade.

So, considering all this – is it really so surprising that 7 year olds today want to gyrate on stage in clothes more revealing than Julia Robert’s get-up in Pretty Woman?  Everyone needs to step it up.  Toy manufacturers – stop sexualizing toys!  Let kids be wholesome for like, 5 minutes before they start feeling shitty about themselves.  Anyone who buys toys for kids (whether it’s for the classroom, for daycare, or for their toy chest at home) – stop buying it.  The less you buy, the less money the manufacturer makes, and if they’re making no profit off of Bratz Babyz, then maybe they’ll stop producing them.

Note: Dora the Explorer’s make-over was not mentioned in the post because she is a 90s doll. But her transformation is note-worthy.




243 Comments »

  1. [...] here to read the rest: Feminist Fatale » Toys Receiving Makeovers: New, Improved, Sexy? Published under Uncategorized | send this post Tags: body, course-raises, question, [...]

    Pingback by Feminist Fatale » Toys Receiving Makeovers: New, Improved, Sexy? | Toys & Game-Review — June 23, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

  2. [...] about My Girl while looking at this bee sculpture. We wondered if it’s even possible for a Care Bear to be sexy. We found it funny that the Village Voice pranked the Jersey Shore boys. We learned how to draw [...]

    Pingback by Celebrity Gossip, Get It Here First! — June 23, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

  3. Serious question… will they really hate themselves any sooner? I wouldn’t think kids understand they’re different until they come of age anyways. I didn’t have a good grasp on self image ’till I was an adolescent; it didn’t matter what my toys or friends looked like.

    I agree it’s a shame kids feel like they need to grow up fast… but kids have always had the desire to be grown ups, and the old versions of the toys all look like babies or little kids, so it’s only logical that the toy companies would pander to the kids desires. The toy companies aren’t hypnotizing the kids to like adult things either… it’s the kids looking up to their old sister/brother and parents and wanting to emulate them.

    I wouldn’t be so fast to deem this a feminist issue.

    Comment by Radrian — June 23, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  4. They’ll stop producing these toys when adult women stop wearing high-heels, miniskirts, and makeup.

    End of story.

    Comment by Gloria — June 23, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  5. Well, women were wearing high-heels, mini skirts and makeup in the 80s and the toys weren’t dieting divas.

    Comment by Melanie — June 23, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  6. Another children’s character who received a recent makeover is the wildly popular Dora The Explorer. Her transformation surpasses these by far. When I first saw the “new and improved” Dora dolls I had no clue who the figurine was supposed to be.

    Here is a link to the original Dora : http://triangulations.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dora-the-explorer.jpg

    And here is new Dora: http://gantokasiyun.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/tween-dora-the-explorer-revealed-18199-1237296575-13.jpg

    Comment by Jess — June 23, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  7. Thanks for the links, Jess. We actually chose not to include Dora since this piece focuses on toys from the 80s and Dora is a 90s toy. But I’m glad you brought up this point since it is noteworthy to point out the overall trend.

    Comment by Melanie — June 23, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  8. @Radrian

    I agree that children have probably always looked up to adults – but playing dress up is a far cry from being constantly bombarded with “sexy” images. I don’t think you’re giving kids enough credit – to say that anyone, regardless of age isn’t affected by a consistent, non-stop exposure to these images, is too short sighted.

    ABC recently reported on a 6 year old with an eating disorder, the article stated:

    “According to recent studies, many fifth- and sixth-grade girls have tried to lose weight, Beresin said. It doesn’t mean that they will develop anorexia nervosa, but it does mean that they are feeling the crush of cultural and social pressure, he said.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126486&page=3

    So yes, I would say they’ll probably learn to self-loathe so oner. Statistics are showing eating disorders are starting at younger and younger ages.

    As you said the old toys looked like babies and little kids, but as far as I know these toys were quite successful when Care Bears still had big round bellies. The toys of today are teaching kids in indirect ways “You’re not good enough/pretty enough, etc.”

    Gendered toys are a feminist issue, therefore “sexy” gendered toys are definitely a feminist issue.

    Comment by Rachel — June 23, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  9. I do not see much problem with Dora, since he only looks as she has gown a few years. New Dora does not have high heels, neither short a skirt, I think she is fine. However I do agree on your post, yet I think it all depends on what we teach future our children about the images we see, not only on tv, but on every add as well.

    Comment by JoanaG — June 23, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  10. Thank you for this post and comment #8, they make hugely important points. Polly Pocket was my favorite out of the toys above and I remember when they first made the decision that she was too much of a choking hazard to continue to be so tiny, which coincided with Polly toys being overwhelmingly fashion related.

    Comment by Emily — June 24, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  11. There is a difference between what kids worried about today and what they worried about in lets say the early 90s when I grew up. I was more interested in running in my backyard, being active, and burying my barbie dolls. I remember blushing heavily when Disney characters, from the few of their movies that I watched, kissed (there was something innocent in that reaction even though I had my innocence taken from me by inappropriate adults). I never felt that I was fat until High School actually (and I was not fat).

    My nieces growing up today seem to want skinnier thighs (they already seem too thin!), they gyrate in a highly sexualized manner to any song, and of course they want longer straighter blonder hair, and not the wonderful dark curls our family has been blessed with.

    I of course wanted to wear my mom’s makeup and ran around in her high heels whenever I got the chance but things seem different today. Adults would smile indulgently at my antics, there’s a sense of horror attached to hearing an 8 year old talking about “having sex with his hot babysitter” (It wasn’t true, but why would an 8 year old need to brag about that?).

    Do not make the mistake of assuming that because they are children they do not understand. Children feel, understand, and react to a lot more than you’d imagine. We know that they can feel the subtle tension that arises if their parents are feuding, but we’d like to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the sexualization of their world. There is no “coming of age” party for the understanding of kids, they grow and learn different values for their different ages, and increasingly understand more complex ideas as they age of course. However the message that these images in dolls send is clear to them, and they listen.

    (Toy manufactures have even admitted that there’s a clear message about being slimmer in their characters’ makeovers. Funny that they sell their toys in unhealthy happy meals and then bombard children with images that they just aren’t good enough, slim enough, long haired or blond enough yet.)

    Comment by Ellie — June 24, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  12. @Ellie. Thanks for your insightful comment. They are truly appreciated. Given your mention of Barbie, you may also enjoy this recent Feminist Fatale post: http://feministfatale.com/2010/06/doll-parts-barbie-beauty-and-resistance/

    Comment by Melanie — June 24, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  13. I really liked this post.
    Here in my country another famous 80′s toys was “Barriguitas” (“The Tiny-Bellies”? or something like that).
    Here they are the ones I played with:
    http://chefissworld.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/pict0475.jpg
    You can see the belly:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_trwL80609U4/So_OyHgHyHI/AAAAAAAAAr8/Lov-vwN9xzE/s320/barriguitas.jpg

    And here they are the “Barriguitas” today:
    http://www.demartina.com/osc/catalog/images/pro/3110.jpg

    Where are their bellies? They cannot be called like that anymore. And look at their Bratz-eyes!

    Comment by Hhithere — July 1, 2010 @ 1:33 am

  14. Toys from the 80 are the best. that is the era I grew up in and I loved all the fun toys, watching the commercials, and then begging mommy and daddy for the toy. I think todays toys are getting a little risque for children, but are still innocent at heart

    Comment by Beverly Hills Breast Implants and Los Angeles Breast Augmentation — July 1, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  15. If you think the new My Little Ponies are bad, you should’ve seen the second generation ones that came out maybe 5-10 years ago. They were tiny and super skinny (far skinnier than even the most malnourished real-life pony/horse) and looked NOTHING like the original MLP from the 80′s. At least the newer ponies vaguely resemble the originals, albeit a slightly thinner version of them. I think Hasbro actually did a decent job of listening to the 2nd-gen complaints and making the third generation closer to the original while still updating the look. (Personally, I don’t think any update was necessary, but I guess toy companies are worried that kids will find their toys old-fashioned/outdated if they don’t reinvent the products constantly.)

    Some of these other toy makeovers are really surprising, though. Why did Care Bears need to be slimmed down, exactly? They’re teddy bears! They’re supposed to be round and overstuffed.

    Comment by Alison — July 2, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  16. [...] about My Girl while looking at this bee sculpture. We wondered if it’s even possible for a Care Bear to be sexy. We found it funny that the Village Voice pranked the Jersey Shore boys. We learned how to draw [...]

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  17. [...] Toys Receiving Makeovers: New, Improved, Sexy? (Feministe Fatale) [...]

    Pingback by Shaping Youth » Manga Makeovers and Other Body Image Cartoon Capers (Part 2) — August 13, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  18. [...] Toys Receiving Makeovers: New, Improved, Sexy? (Feministe Fatale) [...]

    Pingback by Shaping Youth » Facelifts for Kiddie Characters: Rebranding ’80s Icons? — August 13, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  19. Wow. This is just really sad that little kids, specifically little girls, need to have such sexualized, toys that apparently have a one track mind and are only capable of shopping. There is more to life than pink, shoppoing, shoes, and being beautiful to get a man, especially for young children! Little girls do not need/should not need to worry about looking pretty, wearing high heals, sexually objectifying themselves to land “prince charming” who will probably turn out to be not so charming. my only problem is Why do we have to subject little kids to it? When we’re older it is understandable, but for a 7 year old girl, really?

    Comment by Debora R. — October 4, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  20. I owned a barbie doll with blonde hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately they didn’t make asian barbies in the early 90′s. Thank god that period is over. But I find it surprising that carebears have slimmed down. They’re teddy bears! Seems like every child product and consumption is being sexualized these days. Skinny jeans, toys, disney movies,cartoons.

    It’s really sad.

    Comment by Joanne S. — October 4, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  21. These line of dolls only further the subservience of women and degrades their knowledge and their ability to do more than just shop and do their makeup in a way that would accentuate their best facial characteristics. It is these dolls that push the idea of becoming “a princess that is saved by prince charming” rather than becoming a successful professional.

    Comment by Sadaf Abrishami — October 4, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

  22. I remember playing with Polly Pocket, My Little Pony, Care Bears, and having a Lisa Frank obsession and to see all these changes is disgusting. Children aren’t able to be carefree as they used to due to marketing tactics. Children also have been growing up fast and it’s also evident in the current TV shows. I remember watching Legends of the Hidden Temple and thinking it was so cool and wanting to be a contestant. However, now children want to try and win trips to meet their favorite Disney star and be like the characters in the reality-esque TV shows.

    Comment by Dalal C. — October 4, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

  23. I think this is all a little far-fetched of you. When it comes to say, rainbow bright, all she did was grow up. She went from a 5 year old, to a teen. Logical, considering the time that has passed.
    Strawberry shortcake? She was just made more modern. Little girls aren’t going to see a character in bloomers and be interested. Frankly, I dont know how they were when she came out. Who likes bloomers?
    To me, if you dont like the cartoons/toys that are out nowadays, dont let your kids play with them. That simple. Be a terrible, sheltering parent. Instead, show these things to your kids, say, “Here’s your MyLittlePony!” and if they ask for makeup like the pony, you could get the little girls dressup makeup that hardly even shows up, and just tell her “But remember, you don’t need the makeup. Youre beautiful how you are.”
    I think that the blame you put on everyone else, is a tad bit pitiful. Parents have always faced the challenge of negative influences surrounding their children. Only difference is, in todays world, parents dont take it upon themselves to actually raise their children. They’d rather have Dora the Explorer do it.

    This coming from a 17 year old girl.

    Comment by Lauren R — December 4, 2010 @ 7:08 am

  24. @Lauren R

    I’m not sure what you think is far-fetched about this post. Also, I’m a bit confused by your comment – you’re saying to shelter kids completely (something that is pretty much impossible at this point in time) and to buy them “pretend” make-up?

    Even if a parent does a successful job in teaching their child to ignore the influence of the mass media, the barrage of imagery and messages is unavoidable. It has nothing to do with parents who let the TV raise their children. If you consider all of the places that would need to be avoided in order to escape the media, it’s impossible. In most major cities, billboards and posters line every street, and magazines cover end tables in the waiting rooms of doctors and hospitals. And in school, while there may not be media messages present, there are kids who are being influenced, and telling all their friends about it. Unfortunately we’re living in a time when “just don’t buy it” just doesn’t cut it.

    Comment by Rachel O — December 6, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  25. Throw the TV out of the window and give them some proper toys. Your child gets bombarded with enough imagery on the outside. It helps to have some good stuff at home to compensate. And dont tell your childen its compensation, but learn them their stuff is just great fun stuff! Learn them how to play with toys! Spend time with them!

    It’s the best thing my mom ever did. Your own imagination is so much more than whats shown on TV.

    Comment by Janne — January 1, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  26. To be honest the Lisa Frank thing annoys me the most, because I used to like collecting those.

    Brite doesn’t seem to have changed much aside from an upaging. Failed marketing attempt to appeal to a demographic no longer interested in Brite.

    The ridiculous hair is the only thing to set most of them apart…except for the Bratz invasion of Lisa Frank Land, for shame on whomever carried that decision through. May their name be stricken from record, their house stripped of valuables, and their wife stripped of knowledge and license! Theirs shall be a most lonely fall indeed!

    Comment by vinz — February 25, 2011 @ 12:20 am

  27. - Toys are now starting to influence children sexually. Teenage years are when people are first introduced to sexual ideas and become sexually influenced. This is bad because now children are becoming sexually influenced too early. Children have traditionally been allowed to enjoy their childhood innocent to sexual ideas; teenagers have traditionally known to face a lot of conflict and troubles, and experience many hardships when they first learn about sexual ideas. Because toy manufacturers want to boost sales of their toys, they are trying to appeal to children in a different way then they used to, which will most likely cause a lower median age for suicide rates, along with drug and alcohol abuse.

    Comment by Hasan Gondal — March 23, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  28. The fact that we are buying into such sexified toys is the problem. Supply and demand. We buy it, they will sell it. The changes made to all these toys depict the rapidly changing society we live in, which is now accepting of more sexuality at a younger age.

    Comment by Tiffany Majdipour — October 9, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

  29. Couldn’t agree more. It is crazy how the transformations are being made. If people really can’t see that something is wrong by looking at that, then I don’t have any hope left. Not only are children being challenged, but even adults have “barbie and Polly pockets” to compete with..However, they are “real” and are called names like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. If there is a stop to this at an early stage i our lives, then maybe we can be strong enough to see that we do not need to compare ourselves with a made up image that is carefully thought out by the media.

    Comment by Tandis Shams Fard — October 10, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  30. Wow! This is ridiculous! Why change their appearance at all? Why are looks even that important? I think these advertisers and character-creators should be ashamed of themselves for putting so much emphasis on and reinforcing what the rest of the media says about body image, dieting, hair, clothes, etc. Now not only do teenage girls feel insecure about themselves, but young toddlers also are bombarded with messages that they are less than perfect and will never be as cute or as pretty as their favorite toy character.

    Comment by Jennifer S — October 12, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  31. I find it bizarre that someone would comment that Brite seems the least changed beyond an “upaging”. Seriously–the character and story was meant for kids from 4-9. Why would you need to sexualize a character watched by 5 or 6 year olds???

    And Strawberry’s bloomers being “hideous”? HA! I didn’t think that when I watched it as a kid, so why should it be any different now? Except that they have *made* it different by changing every. other. character. What was not out of place in the 80s designs is obviously different now.

    The 80s characters were kiddy, cute, and round. The current ones are all over sexualized, focus on style, and anorexically thin. I’m not seeing this as an improvement.

    Comment by jewel — November 28, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  32. Super post, really enjoyed it.

    Comment by btdlaura — November 30, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  33. I’ve noticed the trend of small waists and wide tops/hips throughout material things advertised to young girls. This trend is teaching girls at a young age about beauty standards and self-image. Also, it’s making the acceptance of girls that don’t fit this beauty standard hard. There are not many positive images of big girls in the media. I’ve heard rumors that Disney may be making a plus size princess. I hope that will make fat-shaming and the idea of beauty standards go away.

    Comment by Skye G. — January 14, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  34. It is sad to see that this toys have been modernized to new looks of society now. However, it is reality. People don’t want to expose girls to see things like a women wearing short skirts and a lot of make up but this is the image of a women now. Even if toys were left looking like they did in the 80′s there are many other ways girls will be exposed to a women seen as “sexy.” This isn’t an issue only with toys.

    It is also an issue when it comes to foods. Kids in general eat a lot of manufactured food that makes them develop faster. Girls get their 1st period during elementary school and develop breast before middle school. Middle school kids know everything about sex. This is all part of the modern generation.

    Comment by Juliana C. — January 16, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  35. As I scrolled down to see the changes they made to the toys I was in shock! Mainly because I played with/collected Lisa Frank notebooks, Polly Pocket and watched the Care bear movies. Looking at this honestly disgusts me and worries me.
    I grew up a pretty happy kid. Sure I played in my moms heels and fooled around with her make-up. But not once as a kid did I see myself as not pretty or thin enough. Sadly that happened around high school my senior year where I developed an eating disorder that lasted me about 2 years. I didn’t have toys giving me ideas about how to lose weight, I had celebrities like Nicole Richie to look up to.
    What I’m saying is these images of the newly updated toys sends out the wrong message to young girls. They will take one look at Rainbow Bright and think why am I not that skinny or why am I not blonde with beautiful long hair. It’s like we are spoon feeding them future eating disorders. I really think kids need to experience just being kids and not worry about looking like their TOYS.

    Comment by Loreal Haber — January 17, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  36. I agree completely with what the author is conveying in her blog and the fact that we should stop purchasing promiscuous looking dolls for our young children. Companies are taking advantage of the young shoppers and implanting an unrealistic body image into their heads. Toy companies are robbing a young child’s innocence by exposing them to overly make up done dolls and are greedily making a profit from a child’s insecurities. Children should be able to enjoy their childhood and be free from the stress of looking beautiful and thin.

    Comment by Sandy A — January 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  37. The changes in these toys are unbelievable. I have younger sisters who are constantly playing with Barbie’s and other dolls and I just never realized the harm they advocate. It’s sad to see how society is encouraging kids to grow up so fast.
    Looks should be the last thing on a child’s mind. A happy childhood should be carefree. Toys and dolls should not portray any other meaning other than an object to play with. Manufactures need to realize the harm they cause to children who desire to look like a Barbie doll one day.

    Comment by Sahar S. — January 24, 2012 @ 12:03 am

  38. I remember back in the days when toys looked innocent and dolls were a bit chunky. I remember i had a mermaid doll that i would play with all the time and then i received a little mermaid doll and i completely fell in love with her and stopped playing with the other. Its not until now that i realized how much thinner, taller, and pretty the little mermaid was compared to my original mermaid. Girls today are bombarded with images and toys that show them skinny tall and fashionable, even if that fashion is considered to be wearing short skirts and short tops with high heels. As the media sells this image to girls and young women we’re still judged by the way we’re dressed and seen as a slut or whore. So i ask whats the point of trying to sell certain images through toys or ads when its not going to make a difference. Either way its a lose-lose situation.

    Comment by Guadalupe Y — January 28, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  39. I deem that the author is definitely right. When I was younger, I always looked up to my barbie dolls and wanted to look just like her. In addition, kids start playing with toys before associating with the “real world”. Nevertheless, their toys become a preparation for the real world. They think that, that is the ideal appearance. It is sad that kids can’t be kids anymore. It aggravates me how kids are exposed to “perfect” looking dolls. Wouldn’t it be more relevant to manufacture more “normal” looking toys? Why put this pressure on kids who just want to play and have fun? One can wonder why so many more younger girl suffer from anorexia nervosa or any other form of eating disorder these days. It is futile to see how young 10 year old girls start putting on makeup at such an early age. I am not surprised, they feel pressured to do so because they are surrounded by that, and they feel as if that is the right thing to do because that is the only thing they see. I wish I could go back to the old days when kids could be kids and adults could be adults. Why is it so that today’s society is all about looking hot and sexy in a very unnatural way? Let people be who they are, because that is what matters in the long run.

    Comment by Simone — January 29, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  40. I believe that fashion revolves around as time changes, and it repeats itself, just like history. Years ago, being skinny was the last thing that a person could wish for. The more fat you had would reflect the higher in statues and the more money you posses and the easier life you lived. But now, except the health issues, people wish to be extra skinny.
    People there is a difference between being in shape, in order to be healthy, and being skinny and not be in a good health. So please stop making excuses and say that I want to be skinny because it’s healthy!
    All of these seem to be a mentality that we grow up with. When a child id first born, it is like a white piece of paper, blank. What we do and what we teach them is what superscripts his or her mentality, way of thinking and logic.
    One of the first things that a child plays with is toys; the toys that are made to form a mentality that in future would help marketing. In a very short future, we will all regret the fact that we were once supporting this mentality and doing this investment. This idea may destroy families, the relationship between children and parents. I believe the first impact that these toys have on young kids is that it will keep them busy thinking about growing up. Guess what? You are taking away the childhood. When that kid grows up, he or she will blame you as the parent to have provided him that kind of toy, then he would blame the toy makers and the media. We all know that the toy makers and the media don’t care about your child. I believe that the one who will suffer the most is this generation that is supporting and not stopping the toy makers from making these kinds of toys.

    Comment by MATAN P. — January 30, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  41. I am shocked at the makeovers of Rainbow Bright and Strawberry Shortcake. I actually think they look cuter the original way. I understand wanting to update them but not completely changing them. I grew up with Rainbow Bright, I even had a Rainbow Bright birthday partly where she came and painted our faces. I find her transformation pretty disturbing. I have noticed that girl toys have really changed over the years. The Bratz dolls are maybe the worst. My little sister had those and I thought they looked scary. I never had dolls like that. Little girls should not have to worry about fashion and make up at such a young age. I checked out the Dora the Explorer transformation about it seems like they had her grow up. I am confused by it and I wonder what the kids who watched the show think of it. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, just weird that they would change her.

    Comment by Jessica — January 31, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  42. When I was playing with dolls or toys, it was early 90s, at that time; dolls are very innocent with long skirt and medium hills. But today, Barbie looks very sexy with mini skirt, high hills and makeup. The time changes and the dolls are pure appears to be losing. I am very impatient.

    Women’s studies-10

    Comment by Eun Hee Chung — February 1, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  43. When I look around at my younger sister and brother’s toys, I begin to realize just how sexy many of the toys are, both for men and women. For the girls its dolls with exaggerated features and short to low cut clothes. For the boys its no different as hunky men with their 6-packs exposed frequent the boys toy isle. I think back to when I was growing up and realize just how much things have changed. i didn’t have the sexy action figure growing up, my favorite toy was a train. And so to think the world my siblings are growing up in is so different than mine is sickening. I really believe that we must stop the sexing up of our youngest generation and give them time to just be kids.

    Comment by Rory O — February 4, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  44. I liked Barbie dolls when I was young. Most Barbie dolls that I had were thin, tall, and pretty. I enjoyed putting make-up, wearing dresses and high-heel. Most toys for girls include make-up kits and accessories. Likewise, this is one of the effects from media that leads girls with false stereotype.

    Comment by Youjung An — February 4, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  45. Toys are very influential to kids. I remember growing up acting out the roles of my toys whether it was spider man or batman etc. It is like a psycological preparation that does not need to happen. I feel that dressing the dolls up to look more mature and adultish will make kids look and act differently than the way old traditional toys use to. For example, as a male i played with action figures. Now lets say if they made one of the action figures sag their pance below their waist, just like how they put a mini skirt on the polly pocket wardrobe, it would be more likely that a boy would sag his pance because he is seeing it as being cool without learning where it originated from and what it stands for. Constantly playing with these toys everyday will affect the way a child will think.

    Comment by Payne T — February 4, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  46. It is really surprising to realize how things such as toys have changed over time. Not just that but the more revealing they are. But the quesiton is why? Not many people know the answer but what we do know is that our younger generations are being highly affected by this. As mentioned in the article, girls want to wear little mini skirts and clothing that might be too revealing simply because they see their favorite doll wearing it, something that might put them in danger with all the dangerous people that might be within our suroundings. Therefore, I could not agree more with this, “the less you buy, the less money the manufacturer makes, and if they’re making no profit off of Bratz Babyz, then maybe they’ll stop producing them”. I feel that in order to make these toy companies stop making such revealing toys, then we should start by stop buying these toys from them to protect our little ones.

    Comment by Yesenia O — February 5, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

  47. the last time i collected and played with barbie dolls was in the 90′s. during that time barbies looked conservative and innocent. now a days barbies image has been changed to sexy with mini skirts and high heel hooker shoes. this only sets a bad example on little girls. the creator of barbie dolls needs to change its image asap to how it used to be.

    Comment by Jonteen R — February 6, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  48. This seems to be a conglomeration of industries, which is precedented in this free market capitalist system. Not to say that it is ethical or that it is right; I would say that it is exactly the opposite.

    It’s a chain of industries: starting with toys, leading to the cosmetic, entertainment, and clothing retail industries (and more that I probably can’t think about off the top of my head). The foundation of idealized beauty obsession is made in toys, which feeds into the other aforementioned industries as time and more cultural influence develop young children (particularly girls) into consumer machines. From a purely economic point of view, it makes total sense, but the cultivation of beauty obsession takes a it’s toll and comes at a terrible price. The objectification and sexualization of children’s toys is inexcusable and horrifying, particularly Polly Pocket, where it seems that a child can mix and match body parts to make the perfect Polly.

    Comment by Taja Eddahbi — February 6, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  49. I really couldn’t help, but laugh for the longest time. I realized that even some of the toys I’ve played with are now being more and more “beautified.” To me I sense that one day these toys that we played with and once thought of as pretty or like-able becomes disturbing and outrageously ugly. Sometimes the phrase “less is more” is true. We shouldn’t be influenced by the images that have been cultivated. It may be hard to come out of the circle in believing that what the media shows us is the do’s and dont’s but natural beauty speaks for itself. There is no reason to feel that you need to now even measure up to what toys and gadgets look like. We have enough trying to slur us into. Forget about us, it’s the younger generations who aren’t aware of this. What we can do now to help prevent these thoughts from the younger ones are by now purchasing them and throw away the t.v. set and educate the younger ones.

    Comment by Crystina K — February 6, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  50. Everything said in this article is so true; it is sad who media and toys make little kids grow faster than expected. I remember when I was in elementary I was more worry to get home and play out in the back yard with my friends. We did have toys but our toys were never something like dressing up dolls in miniskirts or putting makeup on them. Back then I remember we was kids were happy with any silly toy we got from our parents, today little girls expect the newest doll in the market and if it brings makeup and cloths with it even better. I also remember that when I was a little girl I never was allowed to use makeup even if it was only for play time, and I was not allow to wear nail polish until I was like 14years old. Today it’s just crazy to me how my little cousins have a lot of makeup stuff and they choose their own clothes. It is also surprising how their idols are girls such as Hannah Montana and Mary Kate and Ashley. One other thing that impacted me was when one of my little cousin told me was that her favorite movie was Mean Girls, that were I understood why her teacher would complain to her mom that she was sometimes mean to other girls. Definitely the new makeovers that toys are getting and also movies are changing the way little kids are projecting themselves today.

    Comment by Maria N — February 14, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  51. I also grew up in the 80’s and I used to love the Care Bears and I remember them being fluffy with a belly. I use to collect them and watch their movies all day. I used to always love Lisa Frank school supplies they were so colorful and they would always have different animals. I did not really grow up playing with my little pony, or strawberry shortcake, rainbow bright and polly pocket, however, I do remember how they look. Couple years ago I started to notice that they started coming out with new and improved 80’s toys. I am surprised of how drastic the improvement was to the toys. I do not agree with the changes because the toys are being sexualized. It is obvious how the toys are being made skinner, with make up and the clothing is being more reveling. The toy industries has changed tremendously from 1980 thru 2012, in the past toys were more innocent they did not influence the term “sexy”. Now and days toys are teaching children at a young age that you are suppose to look and dress like them. I did not learn about appearance until my teen years. That is when I learn that girls are suppose to be thin and dress a certain way and wear make up, but, children are learning today at a very young age. It worries me because I have nieces and nephews and I know they are surrounded by this toys and cartoons. I am also concerned because if I ever have a child how am I going to react to this toys and cartoons. I agree with you when you mention that if people do not purchase the toys the manufactures will stop making them. I absolutely think that they need to be removed because they are giving out the wrong message to children.

    Comment by Analila B. — February 20, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  52. The images of the transformations of these toys are unbelievable. Looking at these “new and improved” toys is even causing me to have “eyelash envy” towards “My Little Pony”. I can only imagine how children, who are very imperishable, are taking this all in. The toys I grew up were also sexualized; Barbie came in two piece bikinis and miniskirts too, but now- a- days they are even sexualizing animals! I didn’t think it would get to the point where the toy industries are adding full sets of eyelashes on “My Little Pony” and adding flirty hairstyles to “Rainbow Bright” and “Strawberry Shortcake”. These toys are obviously targeted towards little girls and they are getting the message that they need to upkeep their appearance, even at the age of six. What was most shocking to me though was the slimming down of the “Care Bears”, “Rainbow Bright”, “Strawberry Shortcake” and the transformation of Lisa Frank mythical creatures to trendy, skinny, “pre-teens”. When I was younger, I didn’t even think about my weight until middle school or high school. The target age for these toys is for children much younger than middle school kids. That means that children as young as five or so are being fed the idea of what is a “good” weight and influencing children to diet and be self-conscious. During childhood you aren’t supposed to be pre-occupied with the idea of beauty, you are supposed to be running around outside not caring if you have dirt in your hair or not. I have younger brothers and sisters and I am afraid that these images and messages are having them focus on their appearance too much at too young of an age, my younger sisters especially. I’d have to agree, in order to get these toys off the shelves of Toys R Us, we as consumers need to make an effort to not support these types of toys. If you purchase these toys then that means there will be a demand for them and the toy manufacturers will continue to produce these items. We need to make sure there won’t be a demand for these toys; I will put my effort in making conscious decisions when it comes to choosing which toys to purchase for my sisters, nieces, nephews and brothers. -D.O.

    Comment by Destiny O — February 21, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  53. In reading some of the comments posted by others, the question was raised of how early would children start to notice these images of beauty and norms that are being pushed upon them? I personally do not have children, nor do I spend much time around small children, but it seems to me that they are much more aware of things than many give them credit. The process of socialization starts at birth, so my question is, how would they not notice? Maybe the pressure becomes worse and they start to internalize these images more as they get older, but I feel that they would definitely start modeling their ideas based on what is around them (toys in this case).

    This article relates very strongly with another article posted on this blog about the sexualization of our children. Why is it that we feel the need to bombard our children with toys that have mini-skirts and high heels? I don’t think anyone would say that children should wear mini-skirts or high heels, so why are we giving them toys that do? One of the big components of this issue seems to come down to corporations and profit margins. Like you said at the end of your post, if people simply stop buying these products, the toys will stop being made. Ultimately it comes down to us as individuals to change what is going on here.

    Comment by Logan S. — February 24, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  54. I also grew up carrying Lisa Frank products to school back when these products were age appropriate. It was definitely very different back then, as far as children’s products, compared to today. It seems like every single time I go shopping to a toy store or any major retail store to purchase gifts for my niece and younger sister the dolls are in mini- skirts and their tops could technically be their bra. As you mention, these toys and images can only serve to make our children begin feeling bad about their bodies. I know my niece who is only five years- old asks her mother for clothes very similar to the Bratz dolls and wants to put make- up on herself. I have also listened to my niece’s playmates that they want a “make- over.” Last time I went to the toy store I spotted a lot of “make- over kits” which can adversely distort a child’s way of looking at themselves in the mirror. Especially young girls can believe they are not beautiful, unless they wear make- up, short dresses and skirts, and have an unhealthy type of slim body. It is very saddening to see what children, who are innocent, are fed through these toys and images of how a young girl should look like. I do not even want to imagine how these toys will be “made over” in ten or twenty years from now.

    Comment by Jennifer H — February 26, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  55. I completely agree with not supporting toy manufacturers, but they are plenty of parents, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas that don’t know what we really see in these dolls and products. For some it may be a trend, a style, a fad that children will grow out of, for most, as long as they get the child what he/she wants, they will not have to hear crying or complaining, and for the rest like us that notice how these toy companies are trying to represent and compete with other toy companies by selling sexier things, it’s not a joke, a phase, or something these children will grow out of. As a parent, I encourage my daughter in a fun way to get learning games or reading books rather than mid-drift Barbies, but if she sees a slight second of it on T.V. she’s hooked. But it’s not just me as a parent who can make a difference, it takes so much more.

    Comment by Salina G — February 26, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  56. I am not surprised to see how all these toys have been slimmed down. From what I have seen even models have been forced to slim down, so this must have a huge influence in slimming down children’s toys. Seeing pictures of models from years ago, they were much thicker and now models are bones and skin. Now the same thing has happened to toys. One toy I was surprised not to see on her was the new Barbie. The new Barbie compared to the Barbie I grew up with is much more “sexier”. These toys send of a strong message to young girls and it really takes part of their child hood away. In reality toys will probably never go to go back to what they used to be, and I don’t think parents will stop purchasing these toys for their children. It’s really sad that things have come to be this way, but these toy companies are really influenced by the media just as society is. Toy companies are producing what consumers want to buy and these toys are much more attractive than they used to be. I remember having the old version of the Strawberry Short Cake doll and I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, I actually taught it was cute, but companies think otherwise. Here the toy issue is brought up, but toys are not the only things being made that are not age appropriate. For example little girl cloths has changed so much, it is almost identical to young ladies clothing just in smaller sizes.

    Comment by Angelica E. — February 28, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  57. This article definitely struck me. I too grew up with all of these toys and agree that I didnt feel the need to “compete” with or be like the girls depicted when I was a child. The idea just had not crossed my mind yet. It is sad to see that these toy makers seem to think that the image of a child is not positive and not worth trying to sell. These “upgrades” look ridiculous how they have turned cute, child-like characters into adult-like, sexualized characters. Its very unfortunate that they took away the innocence.

    Comment by Kristin F — March 1, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  58. I agree. These companies need to stop making these girly toys that are sexual. My niece is a huge fan of Bratz dolls. I don’t understand why my sister in law bought them for her in the first place. My niece was 2 years old when she got her first manicure and pedicure. She also started liking makeup a 3. She then started to obsess with purses and high heels. When she was 3 1/2, she shocked me. My niece walks up to me and says touch my face, I just had a facial! I was shocked. How could a little girl already had gotten a facial? I have never gotten a facial before. Media and parents are what drives these kids to acting older. It is sad to see their childhood slip away.

    Comment by Ana B. — March 1, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  59. I grew up with a lot of these same toys, and it’s so disturbing to see how sexualized they’ve become. Since when did a pony or a teddy bear wear mascara and lip gloss?! I don’t understand why it’s necessary for a toy marketed towards pre-school and elementary school girls is covered in makeup and wearing heels. It’s becoming more and more difficult for kids to remain innocent as they’re growing up these days (especially with televisions and the internet everywhere they go) and now they can’t escape this adult sexuality even when they’re playing with their own toys. If little girls are looking at sexy little Bratz dolls and Lisa Frank folders all day long now, how long will it be before they start picking up more sexual attitudes? Children are extremely observant and always mimic adult’s behavior; if they see an overly sexualized women on tv acting promiscuously, how long will it take them to compare this lady to their very own Bratz or Barbie doll and start acting this way themselves?

    Comment by Adrienne S — March 3, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  60. I grew up in the period of these toys before their lackluster glam make overs; I remember the advertisements for them generally being wholesome and innocent. It’s a sad day of affairs when corporations have glamorized these characters for the new generation of children. None of these toys are demonstrating a positive message or any form of moral guidance to kids these days. Toy manufacturers are advertising misconceptions of beauty, displaying idealistic body types along with clothing and how make up is apparently required for a girl to be considered pretty. Adults in general have to stop supporting these types of marketing to their children, because there are actual consequences to these measures as girls will continue to think that these items demonstrate what is attractive in society, and will take extra measures in their lives to live up to those unnecessary expectations.

    Comment by Irving M — March 4, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  61. I had never really paid attention on how drastically these toys have changed until reading this post. The toys I played with when I was younger, (Polly Pockets being one of my favorites) are no longer the toys you see on store shelves. Although it is natural for companies to improve and enhance toys over the years was it really necessary to replicate the models we see in magazines in the toys our kids play with? By exposing girls at a younger age to these images is only speeding up the inevitable feeling of not being skinny enough, beautiful enough or having the right clothes. This is the reason why we see 5-year olds wanting to sport the mini-skirt and mid riff revealing tops modeling after their favorite toy characters. These toy manufacturers are obviously taking it over board and I’m frightened to think what may come next and what toys will be available for my future children. This also makes me wonder if toys for girls are the only ones that have gotten made over through the years or if toys for boys have succumbed to the same changes. I am definitely going to pay more attention as I walk through the toy isle at places like Target and wonder what some parents are thinking by exposing their young girls to these types of images at such an early age.

    Comment by JessicaE — March 4, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  62. I remember playing with my Polly Pocket and seeing what they look like now is completely ridiculous. I do not understand why a child’s toy needs to be sexy or look like its 30 years old. I hate that clothing and toys are making children feel like they have to act like adults. I also remember wanting to have the Lisa Frank folders and pencils my sisters used to have but I was too young to even go to school. Now seeing what they look like I don’t think I would ever want them, they do not even look the same anymore. I feel that by making over these kid’s toys we are telling girls that this is what they are supposed to look like when they grow up. This is not the image we should be giving our children and we should all try to avoid these negative images we give children.

    Comment by Jessica Serrano — March 4, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  63. I agree that children are bombarded with sexualized toys. There is no need for Polly Pocket to now wear mini-skirts or for Rainbow Bright to now be slim and Trollope around with her two sexy friends. Kids today are being robbed of their youth. There is no need for a little girls to have body issues or worry about being sexy. I absolutely agree with the writer of this article-in the fact that in order for manufactures to stop producing products like the new vamped Polly Pocket, consumers must stop buying such degrading toys. When are more then a sex object and have more to offer other then their sex appeal. Sexy dolls shouldn’t be placed on the market for young girls to attain. These promote sexual activities and behaviors that young girls shouldn’t think or worry about till they are much older. I was honestly shocked to see what Polly Pocket looks like today or even the fact that the Care Bears are no longer chubby. I was a huge fan of Polly Pocket as a child and I’m sadden to see that she is now wearing mini-skirts, fitted tops and no longer fits in my pocket, she now resembles a Bratz Doll.

    Comment by Venezia R — March 5, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  64. A boycott might just work, but it’s not just the manufacturer we need to stop it’s also teaching our young kids the importance of enjoying their youth we need to make them understand that growing fast also comes with responsibilities it’s not just makeup, heels, and cute clothes. Kids don’t know any better; they girls want to look like the dolls they buy I wanted to look like Barbie growing up and every Halloween I would try so hard to look like her. Manufacturers produce based on what kids want and being a parent some times its so hard to say no to your child. We need to start by writing letters to the Disney channel to start dressing down the actors and stop giving little girls boyfriends.

    Comment by Merri Abramyan — March 7, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  65. Growing up I was not a big fan of dolls, But I always thought that barbies were not like me. Barbies were white blonde hair and blue eyes something I’m not. Barbies accessories included dresses, mini skirts, bathing suits, and a painted face. I think as a child you don’t realize this kind of stuff until you grow up. The know that what sells is pretty and sexy so they try to influence it on chidden mostly girl.

    Comment by Yuliana R — March 7, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  66. Wow, I never thought how detrimental this is for kids. Sexing up toys with short skirts, flat tummies, big lips and eye lashes, rosy cheeks, and more…..this is ludacris! I for sure would not like to be a little girl in this day in age. It is too much pressure and then you wonder why we have shows like “Teenage pregnancy”, “Little Toddlers and Tiaras” dressed up with short dresses and full on make up acting older than their age. What is this society becoming? The future of our generation is being bullied through the media to act a certain way. Originality goes out the window because kids try to imitate what they see not knowing how true these commercials are. I totally agree about banding all these products that bring nothing but trouble in the future for kids.

    Comment by Gloria T. — March 7, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  67. Its amazing to see how the toys have changes over the past decade. I wonder what they will look like in the next 10 years. In my own childhood, I dont recall ever being inundated with over sexualized toys. I will say that TV has definitely make an impact on how I would “wish” to look like. If we track trends, we could see how it changes peoples perspective. Kids deserve to be free of all the baggage this world creates. I am not a parent, but can only guess how parents feel towards this over sexualize crap.

    Comment by Brian C — March 8, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  68. Care Bears and My Little Pony may be a stretch (honestly, I feel it is more of animation technology changing), but there is no denying that most toys have been sexed up to fit society’s expectations of beauty. I feel most visually offended by rainbow bright. All of the sudden she looks like a slutty halloween costume, instead of the endearing childhood character. Children today are being bombarded with millions of visuals every day in our society and when we force more sexualized images onto them with their toys! As children grow up and play with these toys, they will gain expectations on what their bodies should look like, ensuring future body image issues and eating disorders galore. What happened to poly pockets that you had to squint to just see their faces? These new poly pockets are the equivalent to amazon women, glammed up and ready to wear their “fashion frenzy” short short and mini dresses to school. My mother never let me walk out of the house like those poly pockets, so why do corporations let them leave the shelves?

    Comment by Montana.C — March 8, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  69. I also remember having Lisa Frank school products when I was growing up but mine were the original ones as well with unicorns. I do agree with you that this overt sexualization of toys is sending the wrong messages to girls. Parents try to not let their daughters wear revealing clothes because it may cause them to have a bad reputation or image but this is difficult because all dolls nowadays are provided with sexier clothing so girls are repeatedly being shown this style of dress, so that it seems to be almost the norm or expected. It is true that the over done up dolls such as rainbow bright and polly pocket add to the pressure that girls feel to always look like what society believes is beautiful and this is hard for girls to deal with. I think causes us to start hating our bodies and going to extremes to be “beautiful” at younger ages and it strips children away of the enjoyment of childhood when things should be more about fun and innocence and not looks.

    Comment by Melissa M. — March 9, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  70. Reading this and seeing your comparisons of the face lifts our favorite ’80s toys and charachers have received really opened my eyes to how these industries are over sexing the young children of today. For the longest time when I would hear a parent complain about the sexual exposure their child is receiving, I thought they were being uptight and were not doing what they could to shield them. I now have a different perspective and can understand that sexual exposure isn’t just in tv shows. I did notice that things look “refreshed” but I never realized they updated to look the way they do until I saw the new and the old side by side, thanks to you. It seems like the innocence of childhood is being stripped away by toy and television industries. I think it’s completely unfair and unnecessary. Being an innocent child is such a short amount of time in life, there is no reason place sexual influences at such a young age.

    Comment by Avery G. — March 10, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  71. Ever since I stopped playing with toys as a kid and because I do not have any children of my own, I do not keep up with the toys that are being produced today. In fact, when Christmas time comes around or birthdays come up, I do not buy my nephew or little cousins any toys; I guess now I know why. After reading this article, I am a little frustrated. Young girls love to play dress up which I think is adorable. However, I understand what this writer is saying in terms of the transformations the toys have made in regard to their appearance. Clothes are shorter and body size is smaller which means a new message is being sent to children. I am all for children making the decision to be who they want to be but I am against society for making children believe that their is only one normal way to be; skinny, mass amount of makeup and short clothing. I would hate to see young girls starve themselves and begin to diet, all because of a doll their parents bought for me. I am sure that the toy company can come up with a more positive way of marketing toys. I hope that parents are doing their part in helping to develop their children’s confidence so that toys like these do not encourage them to go down the wrong path.

    Comment by Takisha B. — March 10, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  72. Wow! Looking at the before and after pictures above has truly shocked me. I do not have any children right now, and I can only imagine how much worst toys can get in the future if parents do not put a stop to them now. The only toys that I remember playing with that was sexualized I think would be Barbie’s, but now it seems that it is impossible for kids not to come across at least more than just one. My question is, are parents even aware of what they are truly buying their children and how it can negatively affect them now and in the future? I hope that parents and soon to be parents come across this article and realize how much toys are being sexualized and I hope that they do not support them and stop buying them.

    Comment by Tanya G. — March 11, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  73. I really like your proposed plan of action. I believe the manufacturers must know that what they are doing is grown. As long as nothing is done, they will continue to sexualize young girls since capitalism profits from it by making young girls think they need the latest fashion to “look good”. But most importantly, I wouldn’t want my daughter to constantly be worried about her physical appearance by watching her weight and going on diets. It’s nice being a kid, and our kids should enjoy it to the fullest without the capitalist mass media dictating how they should live.

    Comment by Jose — March 20, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  74. I definitely agree with this article. Children today are growing up faster and faster. It is hard to see a pre-teen or teenager walking down the street without talking about a make-over party or a new doll with colored streaks and cute outfits. The media is pushing these images on young children for the sake of earning more money, but should money trump over morality? It is really moral to say that young teenagers are trying to grow up too fast and act like an adult. Is it really moral to say that children as young as 8 are painting their nails, putting on make-up and wearing tight clothing. Now this isn’t your typical, ‘I’m gonna wear mommies clothes for an hour’ type of dress up. This is real and now it seems that every year it gets worse and children younger and younger begin to start wrapping their brains around the central idea of looks and not focusing on what is more important like education, self-concept and family.

    Comment by Alina Bergelson — March 23, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  75. The sexualized update of these toys and teen magazines constant obsession with diet, hair and makeup influence young girls in all the wrong ways just to earn their profit. The capitalist media is responsible for so many young girls who hurt their bodies by going on crash diets, or girls who dress too provocatively for their age group, when all they really need is to be carefree, play, and explore.

    Comment by Jasmine Y. — March 23, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  76. I don’t have children or younger siblings so I have not paid enough attention to kids toys these days. I was disturbed at the Lego overhaul and this blog page just boosts the thought that toys now days are completely different than when I was a kid. I loved Care Bears and didn’t pay attention to their roundness. I don’t think anyone can deny toys have an effect on these young girls as they use their imaginations to pretend they are actually the toys they play with. If I loved playing with a Bratz doll wearing a short skirt, knee high socks and a tanktop, then I have no doubt I would want to dress like that and I don’t think I need to go into what retributions would take place if a young girl wore that outfit.

    Comment by MarenW — March 23, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  77. Can you please give these girls some time to breath? Why should a 7 year old be exposed to things like this? The difference between these sexy toy make over’s is crazy. The one that stood out the most is the strawberry shortcake one. She went from a cute, bubbly, striped sock wearing girl with curls, a bear and a not so stylish outfit to a coy, shy looking, long haired fashionista. Even the way they posed her is different. I’m sure this is exactly the kind of message that mom’s want to send their kids, right? I have to admit I am really afraid for the world that my kids will be growing up in, I mean what else could the media do?

    Comment by Melody A. — March 24, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  78. I was also a child of the 80s and never saw how different characters have changed over time (note on the Polly Pockets, though: those darn little pieces were blown up because they were choking hazards!) I do have to say that I think this article is a little premature in it’s scope. My toys during the 80s screamed pink, purple, and princess. Does anyone remember the Pretty Pretty Princess crap? I would have liked to see the comparison of toys in generations pre-80s.

    It’s also important to note that the body modification of characters transcends the female gender. A historical view of G.I. Joes show that the characters have been slimmed down and (massively, monstrously) beefed up over time.

    Like everything that may penetrate and skew a child’s perception of gender, we as parents have to be vigilant, aware, and ready to have discussion with their children.

    Comment by Noel L. — March 24, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  79. I think that these toy makeovers are sending negative messages to girls. For instance, by flattening the belly of the Care Bears, you are saying that the plump belly of a bear is not socially acceptable. I find it pathetic that something, such as a doll, that is made to make children feel better and happy is making them judge themselves. As if the images of pop stars in the media are not enough of a pressure on women these days, they have to target children as well. I think the author of this article (Rachel) is completely correct at the end, when she states that we need to stop buying these toys for our children in order to stop the problem. The fact that these revisions involve slimming the girls and shortening the skirts is really an exhibit of the problem our advertisers and retailers have at controlling our lifestyles. Another thing I noticed on all the labeling is the color coordination of all the toys-purple and pink. Toy companies should add more variation of colors in their toy schemes.

    Comment by Ben B — March 25, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  80. wow! I completely agree with this article! It is actually disturbing to see that these toy manufacturing companies have completely changed thier products and transformed them into a more sexualized product. as a child, my little pony was one of my favorite toys. i would take my pony everywhere with me and now that i am looking at the new my little pony, it reminds me of a pony that has undergone hours and hours of make-up and has turned out to look like a prostitute. another thing that bothered me is why the hell does a children’s toy have high heels, mid-driff shirts, and mini-skirts. i dont understand why they are trying to speed up the process of growing up. the whole point of toys is to keep children enjoying their childhood years, not make them grow up and speed up the process of growing up and dealing with weight issues, clothing, and make-up!

    Comment by Chantelle A — March 29, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

  81. I totally agree, the consumers should really stop purchasing these type of modern sexy toys. Often children want to have these types of toys because of the connection to reality. THe connection is the facts that children admire adults and they want to be like that. Children want toys that will connect them to reality. The surrounding of the kids is what influences what kids are attracted to. As for little girls they want “mommy look alikes” or “media look alikes”. Little girls are around women that are for the most part done up, with makeup, hills, and tight clothes. The media has also contributed to kids being attracted to those sexy toys. Many shows like Jersey Shore have influenced because of their attire. The people making the product just wants to generate money and they will do whatever it takes to make that money. Today sexy toys are a part of many kids lives. THose types of toys are in high demand because of the kids interest. Kids get two in one, which are; their connection to reality and their favorite character.

    Comment by Maira — April 1, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  82. Toy make-overs are always indicative of a societal shift in values. Why else would manufacturers waste their time and money making them? Just from the pictures, you can see a huge change in what we now deem appropriate socializers for our children. Being a fan of Lisa Frank, I was really disappointed in the change. And speaking of disappointment, I remember when Bratz dolls first came out and my sister wanted one. They quite frankly made my stomach turn. My generation’s toys were not perfect, I mean look at Barbie’s hip to waist ratio. However it appears as though they are not getting any better. The idea that children are resilient to subtle messaging is an ignorant one. Hopefully parents realize that and think critically about what they choose to buy for the future generation.

    Comment by Kayla — April 2, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  83. I can totally relate to this article but I do not completely agree with everything the blogger thinks. I grew up in the 90′s with the pocket sized Polly Pocket and the original Lisa Frank. And like the writer of this blog I to have been shocked to see these images transform and show up in the bed rooms of my little sister and cousins over the years. I do not agree however that these images will be the cause of girls feeling bad about themselves at a young age. I remember using the original products as a kid and still by fourth and fifth grade I started internally criticizing my body. There are already products like Barbie that little girls play with that have perfect bodies. What my personal concern with the transformation of these products is, is not girls hating their bodies at a younger age but the sensulized images little girls see so young. Girls are not going to think about their bodies to a certain age and then start looking at themselves and their peers just as we all did. But something new about this generation of toys is that they are all sexual females. I think it will make little girls more aware of sex than earlier before. I remember that from personal experience I judged my body before I thought of sex. Now elementary age girls are constantly exposed to sex. The example of Miley Cyrus gyrating on a stripper pole is a perfect example. Little girls like my little sister look up to her and then she sex’s it up and they mimic her. Even if they don’t know what it means, little girls are going to mimic their role models. Then to ad insult to injury if little girls see their toys in slutty outfits they will think that is how they should dress. I think the combination of the sexual role models and sexual toys will naturally give little girls a desire to appear sexual. Even if they do not know what it represents. I did it myself as a kid when in third grade I bought a shirt that said “Naughty” on it. I just liked how the shirt fit and the section it was in of the department store. When I showed my mom the shirt she took it away and was really mad at my friend’s mom for letting me buy it. I did not understand what was wrong with it even when my mom explained it to me, because I had little understanding of sex. I think that is the root of the problem. Little girls who do not understand sex will already have the desire to dress and act sexually at a young age. That is why they should not have changed these toy’s images.

    Comment by S.Lockey — April 6, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  84. It’s so sad to see those images of these toy how they changed in time. It so true on how they made Little Pony more fantasizing look with make up, it looks so fake. Even the poor Care Bears, I myself loved the Care Bears when I was a child, and looking at the transformation is amazing and disappointing. The big bellies they had, gave them the look of being cuddly. It’s so true on how their sexualizing the toys and everything else that is around us. Its like “Come On, Seriously” these girls looking up to these toys with mini skirts, high heels, instead of just playing with these toys, now their trying to be them.

    Comment by Natali Fernandez — April 8, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  85. Again when parents and companies stop capitalizing on sex and wanting kids to grow up fast, then the toy companies will make child-like toys and our girls won’t have this self imagine of being hot. “Fuckin Perfect” by Pink is a great song for girls feeling worthless because the popular girl the “perfect image” girl are better than the ones less then the so-called “perfect image” and toy today show that it is better to be perfect…skinny and voluptous and wear tight clothing and high heels…to attract boys or men…when again it’s in the eyes of the beholder.

    Comment by Eternity Holloway — April 10, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  86. Appearance is everything now-a-days. It is not ok to be ten pounds overweight, your hair must be done at all times and your clothes must be in season. (This is all for women at least). Toys have been yet another influence on the perception of how children and people should look. I used to play with Barbies all the time. While even though then Barbie was unrealistic idea of what a woman should like, now there are Bratz dolls that are even MORE unrealistic and the name one gives a negative vibe to girls. Unfortunately, sex sells—not only for adults but for children as well. Children are learning at younger and younger ages what it means to be sexy and they want to be just like all of their favorite toys, celebrities etc. I can only hope that as time goes on, this will change (but I doubt it).

    Comment by Catie Smith — April 14, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  87. Wow! After reading through the article and looking at the comparisons, I was really shocked! Especially on the Lisa Frank stuff because I had that when I was younger, and to see that the Lisa Frank stuff now has cartoon girls that are thin, wearing makeup, and nice flowing hair is kind of appalling to me. I agree that the girls should have a chance to just be kids and play with toys and not worry about what they look like and strive to be like their Polly Pocket or strawberry shortcake doll. All of the toys showed I believe did receive a sexy more modern look to them, which does have influence on the young girls that play with them. For example I remember being in toys r us looking at toys for my little sister and there was a Bratz Doll, and I could not believe what they were wearing. I showed my mom and she said no way would my sister get a doll like that! I believe that parents should have that type of attitude when it comes to toys because there is no reason the toy manufacturers should be making toys like this for young girls. I agree that in order to show them we as society are not interested in these types of toys for our children, we don’t buy them and support them.

    Comment by CandaceR — April 15, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  88. It amazing how much toys have changed. When I was a little girl, I played with all of the toys mentioned in this article; however, looking at the before and after photos, there is a major difference. Nevertheless, we are in a different day and time so I can somewhat understand why the changes are made. These toy companies are basically just modernizing the toys. As the years continue to come and go everything will evolve whether it is for the good or bad; this includes toys. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with the change of the toys, but I feel that the toys alone is not what is making little girls want to grow up fast. I think that it is a total package which includes, what they see on TV, what they are exposed to in the home (parents & older siblings), etc. Overall, it is the responsibility of the parent to teach their children about what is appropriate and what is not. If a toy is inappropriate, simply don’t get it. I don’t see the problem with a bear having eyelashes, maybe it is just to put emphasis on it being a girl bear. As some others mentioned, I use to play with barbies when I was younger, but I never really thought anything of it. It didn’t make me want to be more sexy, I just figured that Barbie is a toy that little girls play with. As I stated before, it is up the parents to step in and teach their children how to love themselves and shield them from what is inappropriate.

    Comment by Chynnassa — April 18, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  89. As a child I would also beg my mom to buy me the newest Lisa Frank school supplies that had colorful unicorns, puppies and penguins. I looked forward to back to school shopping to see what was the latest trippy design that Lisa Frank had come up with. All these characters like my little pony and polly pocket were also part of my childhood. It saddens me that a the next generation of girls will not enjoy product of these chilhood icons the same ways I did. Instead my younger sisters who are in third and fourth grade will only get a more sexualized version of these loveable characters. What made characters like Polly Pocket and Strawberry Shortcake so appealing was that they actually looked like real kids so they were relateable. How is a chil supposed to identify to a sexed up Rainbow Bright or sexed up images of little girls in the art of Lisa Frank? The image that these new images portray are impossible for a chil to attain. “Improving” the look of these well known characters only has detrimental effects. Little girls look up to characters like dora and polly pocket and soon will want to emulate them. We are only setting them up for disasters. Parents should be media conscious enough to know not to buy toys that show little girls being oversexualized. We shouldn’t support toy companies that produce these harmful images. Kids need to feel free to explore and not have to worry about looking provocative.

    Comment by GabrielaV — April 18, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  90. I remember all these products as a child, but since i am an adult have not looked at these ideas in a long time, and never realized how much these products have changed. When i was younger o realized products were just gender neutral, they had easy bake ovens for girls and cars and trucks for boys, but it never was based on a certain image. It just kind of shocks me on how much these images have changed over the last 20 years.

    Comment by Kevin Moore — April 19, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  91. I agree that making the toys ‘sexier’ is completely wrong…but, it’s also wrong that these toys are ALL WHITE! Where’s the Latina Strawberry Shortcake? Where’s the Asian Rainbow Bright? Where’s the Black Polly Pocket?
    These white toys are telling every single child that isn’t white that they are inferior because they don’t have the light skin and the blonde and straight hair.

    Yes, it’s wrong that the toys are sending negative messages to little girls about body image/weight. I agree 100% and then some, but we need to look deeper than that. It’s even worse for the little girls playing with these toys that aren’t white. Imagine the message those little girls receive; not only should they be thin, dolled up and ‘sexy’, but they should also BE WHITE.
    We CAN change our weight through healthy diet and exercise; we CAN’T change our genetics.
    Think about it this: when was the last time you saw a little white girl playing with a ‘colored’ doll? Exactly. I’m surprised; 90 comments and everyone failed to mention race.

    Comment by David A. — April 22, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  92. It’s really upsetting that manufacturer’s can’t just let children be children. There is no good (moral)reason to try to teach young girls to be sexy. If a toy is for children it should reflect what they look like. Most kids still have baby fat, to try to instill in them that they should be real thin is unrealistic and potentially dangerous. I think it’s hard enough being female from 13 years old and forward, the least we can do is allow girls to have a care-free childhood before they have to face the unfortunate harshness of societies idea of the perfect woman.

    Comment by FabiolaP — April 22, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  93. When my sister was young she loved to collect Lisa Frank products because they were so colorful and features mostly animals. She also loved care bears because they were fluffy and really cuddly to hold on to when she went to bed. The fact that they have changed so drastically to how they used to be has proven that nowadays the way that women should be portrayed has raised a need for alarm and worry. It may be a little extreme in my opinion to say that girls that young would begin to doubt their body image, but it is worrisome in the fact that they may connect back to these products that their self-esteem starts to falter once they mature to pre-teens and teenagers. It just goes to show that as time progresses, society seems to esteem thinner and “sexier” women while the seemingly fluffier and less extravagant figures are deemed lowly and unfitting to today’s image. Not only that, but also the fact that girls are being advertised playing strictly with feminine products while those that seem masculine are persuaded away from girls. It comes off as girls having to stay in the stereotypical bubble that most people want to see them in: housewives, child-bearers, eye-candy for men, and cooks that don’t go past the household or supersede the duties if boys/men. Times have changed in regards to allowing women to journey outside of the household to work and expand their careers and person, but the ideal of the typical woman is still held in sight in our society. The fact that products like Lisa Frank, Polly Pocket, Care Bears, and My Little Pony have come under such a change that there is no way of ignoring what advertisers want girls to think like and eventually grow up into.

    Comment by Jon K. — April 22, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  94. Growing up in the 90’s with cartoons that were so awesome showed by Nickelodeon was the best. I would wake up every morning to watch Hey Arnold, Cat Dog, The Rugrats, Doug, and other cartoons like Tom & Jerry. As I remember, none of these cartoons were showed with miniskirts, high heels, skin showing and sexual. I was happy watching these cartoons because they did not tell me I had to have a flat stomach, long hair, pretty eyes, and sexy to be beautiful. Instead these cartoons where funny and portrayed curious adventures. Now I see the cartoons my nephews and nieces watch and I just shake my head. The cartoons they watch are nothing but violence and aggression and more importantly gender role. Sometimes I feel like turning of the tv. I hate seeing how the boys in the cartoons are always showed as adventurous while the girls are the ones with the emotions and feelings. One thing that plays a big role in this is the commercials. Some of the commercials that come out are so sexist. These commercials are clearly stating that boys are to be rough and girls soft. Another point is that these cartoons influence children minds. When my nephews and nieces watch SpongeBob, later on during the day I hear them say certain stuff SpongeBob would say. Even though SpongeBob is portrayed as both tough and soft, I have caught certain scenes where he is shown in a thong, fishnet stockings, and heels. I just question myself why can’t they bring back the conservative cartoons?

    Comment by Jovanna G — April 24, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  95. The first thing I thought was that all these toys are focused towards girls. But that just brings us back to patriarchy and how looking good for a female is much more important. Its sad to think that these images are being fed to girls at even a younger age these days. It is crazy to see how much these toys have changed since I use to play with them. These toys are telling young girls that they have to look white, be skinny and dress sexy. I thought the point of toys was to let children be children and not put the struggles of body image on them at such a young age or at all for that matter.

    Comment by Heather — April 26, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  96. It definitely seems like toys are becoming much more sexualized these days, and indoctrinates girls into our hyper-sexualized world far too early. The examples above remind me of the TV show “Toddlers & Tiaras;” the show is about young girls (some as young as 18 months) competing in beauty pageants. Girls as young as 3 are wearing fake eyelashes, getting spray-tanned, and being put on diets. What kind of message does this send young girls? Is this healthy? Will this do harm to our daughters, to our sisters? Girls definitely don’t need to be bombarded with issues like this so early, no matter how subtle they are. Kids should be kids. They don’t need to be worrying about their hair or their weight or their spray tan. They should enjoy being young and enjoy the lack of pressure, because it only gets worse as they get older.

    Comment by Kyle Rudell — April 29, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  97. Our children are being sexualized, and now they have the toys to match. It is saddening to see how these toys will affect the self worth and self esteem of the girls that will inevitably play with them. it is even more disheartning to see how little teddy bears, care bears, are being sexualized. Seriously, teddy bears. How can you possibly sexualize something that doesnt have proportions or any type of figure? Easy! you give it a figure, you thin it out, add bigger eyes, a better face and vouila! sexy le bear at your service. This example of not even a teddy bear being safe is a perfect indicator to what kind of a society we are living in. For example, our daughters are now expected to wear “skinny jeans” and to play with dolls that wear them too.

    Comment by lucero Medrano — April 29, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  98. I really I guess am oblivious to the changes, but when looking at the picture it disgusts me that I didnt even see the difference. I grew up in the 90′s when it was cool to hang out outside and play tag and freeze tag, or kickball. It was cool to play with pogs. I dont understand the kids toys today. We are always being shown to be skinny and be pretty with make-up and all. I think that because the media is obviously portraying the meaning of “pretty” parents need to be on high alert and make sure that they allow their children to not care what other people think. And it really makes me angry that they slim down carebears! They are supposed to be like plump and adorable! We wonder why eating disorders and plastic surgeries keep rising.We are constantly having to wonder and compare ourselves to other people. It is sad and needs to stop!

    Comment by Candice G. — April 29, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  99. I have noticed this trend for a while now and it is very appalining. My first exposure to this overt sexualization of children’s toys occurred when Bratz dolls first hit the scene. Those little dolls are so damn slutty I don’t even know where to begin and sadly my little 9 and 7 year old cousins are in love with them and every time I see them playing with those dolls I want to rip them apart. This also means more work for me when I choose to play with them I go through all the thing that are wrong with the doll from there over made up faces, short skirts with the underwear showing, and their removable feet ( which for some reason drives me crazy). While I’m glad that most of the time my rants to get through to my little girl cousins I should not have to have conversations like these during play time. I am forced to have conversations with them that I had hoped would not be necessary until they hit puberty but now the media, the toy companies, and our society as a whole is ripping our little girls away from childhood much too soon.

    Also I clicked on the link that lead to the new Dora doll and when the hell did that happen! It hasn’t been that long since I last saw Dora the Explorer she was supposed to be a cute little child now she looks like a fast ass teenager. I can’t believe it.

    Comment by Ajalah T. — April 30, 2012 @ 12:18 am

  100. toys these days are getting new makeovers and they now look like how the media portrays women and how they should look. All the clothes are short and have high heels and a child can now put makeup on them so they look pretty and that men will want them. I grew up in the 90’s and I remember how the toys used to look and the cartoons on TV and today nothing is the same and everything has changed. Girls will want to look like their favorite doll and they get these images on how they should look at a young age.

    Comment by allison — April 30, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  101. The innocence of children is being taken so fast parents don’t even realize it. Sad that a 3 year that should be playing in a sand box or coloring in her color book, wants high heels and makeup for her next birthday present. Then people always wonder why men look at young girls because these dummies making these sexual toys have corrupted the mind of a young girl to become a young adult and she hadn’t even started puberty. I don’t believe things will go back to the way they were things will become more sexual explicit to young children and brain washed in their minds that miniskirts , eyelashes , being slim is all that matters.

    Comment by Kayla Ainsworth — April 30, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  102. This is a beautifully, well written article. It’s true, as technology has changed, so has society, the views of what is beautiful, and the age gap that children are receiving these images. Growing up in the 80′s myself, I have seen the transformation of toys, and have thought of what kind of message they are indirectly sharing to the children of the future. I am scared. The best part of the article is the ending. I fully agree that companies need to start taking responsibility for their product, and parents need to take responsibility for their children.

    Comment by PhilipW — April 30, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  103. Even though I was born in the late 80′s ang grew up playing with toys in the early 90′s I dont remember cartoons or toys being like this before. The only toy that I could remember being anywhere close to this was Barbie dolls. Even cartoon characters now in days are changing, when I was a kid I grew up watching looney tones, tom and jerry, Recess, scooby doo ect. Now images of cartoons or tv shows for kids look comepletely different, some of the shows my little brother watches in the Disney channel show girls in shorter skirts, more open tops or other provacative outfits. Is this really what we want kids to play with now in days or watch on tv?

    Comment by Luis G. — April 30, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  104. SAD, SAD, SAD, our media and society is putting our young girl’s youth to shame. With these new designs on toys and media the ideas are going into our young girls heads at earlier age that they need to focus on being beautiful. Beauty isn’t everything, I agree with stopping of buying with these items because what they are promoting is very bad for our youth and their innocence.

    Comment by Ally P — May 1, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  105. It’s incredible to see how sex and beauty has transformed everything about society. Not only are the standards for women harsher than ever, but we are also exposing these standards to children and toddlers at a crucial age. No longer is it cute and acceptable to have “baby fat” but even toddlers should be slim and fit. If this isn’t the message we want our children to have, then why are we suddenly revamping our 80’s toys and icons into thin, stylish, model-like girls. This image has even trickled down animals; even the Care Bears and My Little Pony are being transformed into sexualized, skinny, trendy figures. How are children, especially young girls, expected to love their bodies if they are told it’s normal and the standard to look like this. We are basically telling girls from infancy that they MUST look like skinny, sexy, done-up models in order to fit in. It’s so shocking to me that these transformations are so normal for the general public and people aren’t being more vocally against it. Until we stop buying and promoting these standards, the stereotype for “beauty” will only become worse.

    Comment by Scarlett G — May 1, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  106. It’s funny to see how these companies have changed their logos and dolls time and time again because after being pointed out these differences it is absolutely clear as to changes that have been made. Unfortunately I do not blame these corporations, I agree I do not want industries sexualizing toys so that these things happen younger and younger, however, these corporations are at the mercy of our century. As time goes on, things change, you can see the difference in the clothes, hair, and even make up styles starting from 1960 to 2000. They are completely different, with time, these corporations are also changing their toys/models to keep up with the current themes and styles of today. If dolls were fashioned the way the style was 20 or 30 years ago, the new age of kids growing up wouldn’t be appealed to these kinds of toys. Unfortunately the current style is not an appropriate one for children of this age, but that is something that must be taken into consideration because we are the ones responsible for these changes in style and clothing in which the toy companies are only trying to keep in sync with so that kids will buy their product.

    Comment by Kincaidw — May 1, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  107. It really saddens me to see how much the toys that I grew up with have changed and not for the better. Even though I’m a 90′s baby I still remember using Lisa Frank supplies. I remember all of the vibrant colors and mystical animals that seemed so timeless. I hadn’t seen the new designs until now and not only are they unappealing, they are sexualized. Even if children can’t distinguish something that is sexualized and something that isn’t it still gives them the idea that dressing in a mini skirt, midriff top and heels is what they’re suppose to do. It’s no wonder that 10 year old girls are running around the mall in skirts short enough to see their butts and engaging in sexual activities at such young ages. Sometimes when my little cousins (ages 5-15) are watching TV my boyfriend and I will watch it with them and are seriously so appalled at all of the sexual innuendos in Disney and Nickelodeon shows. It’s time for parents to monitor what their kids play with and watch because that generation is headed for destruction.

    Comment by Michelle A. — May 1, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  108. It is amazing how far toys have evolved. I grew up playing with all these toys and never realized how drastic these characters makeovers have gotten. Toys in the 1980s implemented as being cute and innocent such as the clothing, face features and body. They really represented the essence of what a child look like. Now, when we look at these toys new transformation we are left astonished how grown up these characters appear to be. I was mostly shocked in the new makeover of Polly Pocket. I don’t understand how the new Polly Pocket is the evolution of the original. Polly Pocket can no longer be placed in your pocket. So why keep the name Polly Pocket? The doll characters are too big compared to the original ones. They transform into fashionistas. It seems nowadays toys have a huge emphasizes in the fashion world from model like figure toys to the need of fashion trendy clothes. All these toys above, they all received makeovers such as hair, make-up, clothing, and body transformation; which isn’t that what models must do to be fashion ready? Toy companies can definitely do better than this by not emphasizing in looks and fashion.

    Comment by Elizabeth D. — May 2, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  109. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you are saying here. These toys are so oversexualized now! I worked part time at Toys R Us over the holiday break and was astonished at how racy these toys are now. What happened to the toys we held so dear in our toy chests as kids growing up in the 80s and 90s? Why do these toys have to start teaching kids they need to look and act a certain way so young? When is this horrible media saturation going to end so kids can be kids for longer years?

    Comment by Kaitlin V — May 5, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  110. What I find the most sad is that you don’t see this anywhere other than for girl’s toys. Little girls are being targeted to the highest extent and it’s getting to the point where they have no direction to turn to, but the ones that are being readily advertised to them. There needs to be a liberation from the body hate days so that people will finally realize that the care bears and strawberry shortcake are ok to be chubbier because 1. they are fictional characters and 2. it’s fine to have some cheeks or a little bit of a tummy. IT’S NATURAL! Jeez, these articles definitely know how to get someone worked up.

    Comment by Stephanie Farzam — May 6, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  111. The message that the toys send to the kids it’s that they have to look like that. For example, the Monster high dolls, they encourage the girls to be skinny, tall, dress provocative, and wear make-up. And what happens if a little girl is not skinny like the doll? She would start feeling uncomfortable in her own body, at a young age, and not have self-love. Back in the days from what I could see the toys were made to play, now the kids see the toys more as ideal models; because of the hair, make up and clothe they come with. Besides the toys being sexier they are gender socialization. For example, from the picture of the care bears you can on not even distinguish which one is a boy or girl bear now with eyelashes they all loom like girl bears. And in the society we live in boys don’t play with girl toys.

    Comment by Gladys S — May 7, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  112. Im a boy. I also grew up seeing these toys. Both of my sisters are a generation older than me. Some of these toys are toys my older sisters would play with and I would to. Seeing how they have change the toys to make them more hip or modern so that they would be more appealing to children to by today makes me think about how time have changed.The toys use to look so innocent and happy but now they have changed their image that no longer gives that old nostalgic feeling.

    Comment by AL P — May 8, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  113. It’s sad because some of the toys that I remember playing with as a child have evolved into a more “up to day with society standards” look. A lot of toys now are over sexualized. It makes me scared to see the toys on the shelves when I have kids. There is no reason for toys to have mid-drif shirts and high heels, it gives a negative image to kids – they learn by what they see.

    Comment by Kristin Singleton — May 8, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  114. I cannot believe how the toy industry has gone out of its way to transform dolls and cartoons so they can appeal more to little girls. It is ridiculous to see a unicorn with the most amazing eyelashes and to see Rainbow Bright with mini skirts. This confuses little girls and pressures them into being thin and wearing make up in order to be cute and have boys like them. I think that all these cartoons and dolls looked better before they were transformed. I would not like to see my nieces or daughters of my own believe that they have to dress like the cartoons they watch so they can be seen as beautiful and be accepted in society. When I was growing up, chlothes was not even an issue to me, I would wear whatever fit and end of story. When I was in high school, I would try to not wear make up because I didn’t want guys to like me what I looked on the outside. I saw this in high school, and now I am glad that I did not conform to these expectations. I constantly tell my nieces that they are beautiful and I love their curly hair because one of them is already starting to say how much she dislikes it and wished she had straight hair. I think that if these toys and cartoons would stop sexualizing their products, many eating disorders will decrease and girls’ self esteem will boost up.

    Comment by Sonia B. — May 9, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  115. In this article, I feel as if adults are projecting their own insecurities on their children, since they are the main consumers of these products. The females and sometimes male children tend to follow by example as to what they find appealing. If anything, these toys are turning our youth into non-individualistic carbon copies of the current generation. Nevertheless, manufacturers are going to do what they have to, to sell products to its consumers. Therefore, its up to our children to make the right decisions to change the societal decorum demonstrated in these demeaning consumer goods. I have nephews and they do not really play with toys its more so video games, which are toys in a sense. I do not like them playing violence games or nothing that is not educational. But, they are not my kids. I can only give advice and hopefully they follow them. As a child i was a tomboy so i did not really play with girly toys like such. But, now a days i see these girls grow up so fast that the media and toys grow up so fast to keep there company going. I feel like if they do not keep the child interested then they do not have a business and that is what this world consist of along with money.

    Comment by Bri Davis — May 9, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  116. Even when I just started my teen years I noticed the toys looked a lot different than the ones I grew up with. The newer toys are more sexy and beautiful and less corky and cute then they once were. The modern toys that especially creeped me out were the Bratz dolls which pornographicically sexy, perfect faces and ridiculously skinny waists with random curves in all the right places. They are absolutely ridiculous and set the standard for women’s beauty into outerspace parameters. Little girls buy these and innocently play with these when they’re young and inevitably will notice a mirror and compare themselves to the doll and see a noticeable difference. It simply isn’t right to start the awkward, insecure teen phase at such young ages. There is plenty of time for those years to kick in but they should not predominate a young child’s mind.

    Comment by Melody Sabet — May 10, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  117. It makes me sad to see all these toys pretty much looking like sluts. They teach little girls at a very early age that it is important to be skinny and show off your body. That is only going to lead girls down a troubling path earlier in life. I too played with many of the same things even though I was not born in the 80s I was born in 1990 but I loved poly pocket and Lisa Frank. They did not need changing or any style up date. There was no need to have to make them sexy. I know when I was a child I did not think about how pretty I was because I didn’t have all my toys screaming at me what I was supposed to be like. I know these toys are having an effect on kids because I can see it within my little 5 year old sister. She is more interested in make-up and looking pretty then a lot of other toys. She always looks at herself in the mirror and asks if she is pretty. She also told me a girl in her class was not pretty because she is a big girl and big girls are not pretty. All these things I see and hear from her are thoughts that I did not start thinking until I was at least in junior high. My parents and I try to reinforce with her that everyone is pretty and girls are prettier without make-up but with the rest of society reinforcing what is wrong it is hard for her and all other little girls to know what “pretty” really is and that is comes from within and not by being skinny and wearing almost nothing. I agree that these toys like Bratz doll should not be bought and when they first came out I remember I really wanted one but my mom refused to buy me one which I am thankful for now. I think the Bratz dolls were the start to this terrible makeover to these toys and I do think if people stop buying them the toy manufactures will have to rethink their decisions for toys.

    Comment by Brittany P — May 10, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  118. I think that these toy makeovers are a scary thing and can potentially be very harmful to kids. Kids are being bombarded with sexualized images on TV and with their toys. Kids aren’t stupid and eventually they will catch on that there is a certain way that society says you should look. And even before kids are old enough to realize society’s expectations, they’re already idolizing characters and wanting to be just like them. My 4 year old niece is obssessed with Dora the Explorer, she even asked to have her haircut the same. Who else is she going to try to imitate next?

    Comment by Sophia S. — May 10, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  119. In today’s world, what you look like means everything to anyone. It’s not okay to be overweight, and its not okay to be underweight. It’s not okay for you to go outside without your make up and hair done, and its definitely not okay to go outside without your legs shaved. Once companies start to realize that “selling sex” is making its way to our children, then our children will continue to have toys that are manufactured and thought up by toy makers that are selling sex. I think that what toy companies are doing is very disturbing and wrong, and it needs to stop now.

    Comment by Jason Guanlao — May 11, 2012 @ 3:19 am

  120. The content of this article is quite perturbing. I had never taken notice to the drastic changes made to children’s toys because I no longer am exposed to them on a daily basis. My nieces request similar toys for Christmas and their birthdays, but I have not taken the time to critically analyze the implicit and explicit messages they are sending young girls. I grew up in the 90′s, and I am very familiar with Polly Pocket and Lisa Frank. Just as I was entering my adolescent years, Bratz exploded onto the scene with massive appeal. I owned a Bratz doll, but I do not recall it affecting my self-esteem in any particular fashion. This may be in part due to the dissipation of my doll playing years. Nowadays, girls are exposed to cultural ideals of beauty from multiple sources, including toys, at a much younger age than previous generations. I have seen the adverse effects manifest in the eldest of my nieces. She is eight-years-old and frequently plays with toys known as Monster High dolls. They are Halloween themed “Barbie-esque” dolls with little to no clothing, packed on makeup, and rail-thin bodies. There is also a corresponding television show, which features all of the characters in a school setting. My niece adores her dolls, and the resulting consequences are palpable. The dolls are not the sole source of blame, but I have noticed that she is already delving into the world of makeup and she almost had a full-on temper tantrum when her mother refused to go to the mall and buy her high heels. She and my younger niece gyrate similarly to how I danced in my high school years. I could not believe my own eyes! It is an indecency to deprive these young girls of their innocence. If I could go back, I would remain a child for as long as humanly possible. I grew up too quickly, but not in comparison to the girls of this new millennia.

    Comment by Nicole Z. — May 12, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  121. Every single one of these 80’s toys was one of the many toys I owned as a child. It is sad to see how drastically the media has been able to influence their image. They are basically throwing sexuality at young children. It is no longer allowed for a care bear to have a belly? That is preposterous. It’s a teddy bear not a stick figure! The truth of the matter is that ALL toys are being affected by this; new and old. Toys like Brat Dolls and Barbie have always conformed to the media’s views of body figures. These sorts of toys never seize to surprise me. Yet there are other toys like, Dora the Explorer and Disney Princess dolls that are the essence of childhood and innocence that have as well conformed to these views. I recently went to the Disney store to buy a present for my younger cousins 5 year old birthday. She really wanted a doll of Bella so that was precisely what I went for. When I bought the doll, I honestly didn’t think much of it but when I went home and compared it to my own doll that my mom had saved from my childhood, I noticed differences. Bell’s eyelashes were longer, her face and she over all body was slimmer, her body had a much more apparent “bottle cap” figure and her eye brows were much more shaped. My doll looked nothing like the new doll. Even the skin tone was different! All of a sudden my doll wasn’t sufficient for Disney. Then again Disney has been promoting sexuality much more than ever before in many of their toys and artist that they promote. Their newest cartoons which feature Tinkerbelle, display 5 fairies whom all much like Starburst Bright and Polly Pocket have model like figures, trendy, makeup and other things that are not what toys from the 80’s had. I enjoyed my Lisa Frank set just the way it was as a child. It was actually my favorite. It is sad to see how much they have changed things. The innocence of childhood is slowly dying.

    Comment by Mariela P — May 12, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  122. This hits close to home as my cousin has grown up during this time of “life like sexy” as she puts it. I remember one instance where I came over to visit her and she was wear more make up that my girlfriend. She just a little girl only 7 in the third grad but has been mistaken for a middle school in the 7th. Its obvious that these dolls have an impact on her because she will say things like no I don’t like these clothes because they don’t make me look pretty like my Bratz doll. Or comments like “Eew that’s for fat ugly girls. Do I look fat to you?” How am I supposed to react to that should I be mad at her or myself for perpetuating these ideas by giving into her and buying “pretty things”.

    Comment by Albert Q — May 12, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  123. This absolutely blows my mind. I grew up with all the “before” images of these toys, and after reading this post, I am so grateful that I did. As a young girl, I felt so much pressure from movies and TV shows and magazines to be pretty, I can’t even imagine how that pressure would have surmounted if my dolls and toys were added to that mix. Its crazy to see these sex amped dolls with loads of makeup and unrealistic curves. It really is like the Victorias Secret ideology took over cabbage patch dolls. Its things like these that make me very concerned for the younger generation of girls that has to grow up with the mainstream media as it is today, and how being saturated with these images-and now toys- so young will affect them.

    Comment by Anndrea Anderson — May 13, 2012 @ 4:24 am

  124. I really enjoyed reading this article because it brought to my attention just how sexualized these toys have become. Toys like Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony were some of my favorite toys as a child, I even remember watching my Strawberry Shortcake video every chance I could get. Now, with these toy make-overs, I can’t help but wonder what the point of sexualizing these toys really is. Why should a child’s toy be thin, have big boobs, long eyelashes, and long straight hair? In my opinion, I do not see a need for this in the least. The only message we are sending to our children is; beauty is everything. That it is so important that even our toys are beautiful. Agreeing with the above statement about these make-overs, these sexualized toys are taking away the joys of being a child and not having to worry about looks or being judged by one’s appearance. They have the rest of their lives to worry about appearances, especially girls.

    Comment by Brittany Fisher — May 13, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  125. Girls today are in trouble. Young girls now are being exposed earlier and earlier of what someone might say the perfect body should look like. The images of the 80’s cartoons and are way more realistic to what a young girl should like. The makeovers of these cartoons are not things that young girls should be looking up to. Young girls, should be more focused on being young girls, they should not be worried about false lashes and flat tummies. It’s sad that these young girls can’t enjoy being a child. They have to worry about their bodies and what it is supposed to look like. I’m sure the low self esteem within our girls is happened at lower and lower ages. Young girls have images all around them, to have their toys as something they may lower their self esteem is something that is not good for their future. Young girls are playing with dolls that have high heels and miniskirts; girls should not be exposed to those things. I didn’t know what a miniskirt was until I got into high school.

    Comment by Glynda Givens — May 13, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  126. Unfortunately it is true, nowadays toys have been clearly sexualized. I remember when I was a little girl toys, dolls and barbies were just toys, nowadays dolls include heavy makeup, and like the pictures shown, toys have undergone a makeover, resulting in heavier makeup and shorter clothes to bear more skin. My younger ten year old sister knows of derogatory terms, she knows of things that I never came across in my childhood. I blame the television programs and the media’s influence. During my childhood I used to watch clean cartoons such as Sailor moon, Barney, I used to play with Lisa Frank as well with My little Pony, nowadays children are to busy with technology and toys that lack room to expand creativity. Rather they want to play with cellphones or be in the computer playing games. The pictures from the article clearly illustrate that like toys, children are growing rapidly and their needs have bee altered. I remember when I was little I would steal my mom’s heels and try on her makeup, it worries me that my little sister is growing up in a society where the media has such influence in ideal standards. As a result toys are becoming more than ever sexists and promiscuous. Childhood is the only time where children have no financial or stress responsibility, yet I feel technology and promiscuous toys are taking that freedom away from them.

    Comment by Berenice V — May 13, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  127. It is crazy how social construction is being made. If individuals can’t see that something is wrong by looking at that, then I don’t have any hope left. Not only are children being challenged, but even adults have “barbie and Lisa Frank” to compete with. Even celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian at an early stage in womens lives. These type of stereotypes effect womens life throughout their entire stage of life until they come out of thier shell.

    Comment by VicG — May 13, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  128. Children are exposed to what society expects each gender to be, especially young girls. In the past, cartoons and toys used to be non-sexualize, however, nowadays young children are exposed to sexualizing toys. Bratz Dolls are the perfect example of this because they depict big heads with very slim bodies. Also, they are dressed inappropriately for the young ages. They are dressed in high heels, skirts and tank tops. The main problem is that toys such as Bratz Dolls are influencing children at a younger age on “how to dress” and “what females should look like”. Young girls seeing pictures of very skinny toys, celebrities and people on the media can lower their self-esteem and also influence one to follow the crowd rather than being an individual. In conclusion, the toy companies need to put a stop in sexualizing their product but the first step is society. Society needs to stop purchasing these toys, which the companies will stop making money therefore stop manufacturing them.

    Comment by MaryD — May 13, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  129. I remember playing and watching these shows. I too have noticed the change. These characters were so cute to me growing up as a child and now they don’t even look child friendly. For example Rainbow Bright now has women features and dresses like a woman?! I understand that these companies need to keep up with today’s trends but why would you ruin a classic. These characters were not made to be sexy! The care bears are supposed to have pop bellys because that is where the power comes from HELLO?!

    The children today are being forced and trained by the media to imitate bratz doll. Whatever happened to dolls being dressed up in a sundress? Now it’s miniskirts and tank tops. It’s sad that kids are growing up and learning so fast because their minds are being fed with these images and swaying their percetion on what it means to be pretty.

    Comment by Simara Williams — May 13, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  130. There should be laws against sexualization of toys. It’s just wrong. Children are already curious by nature, and exposing them to sexuality early only makes them curious about sexuality. I believe that children should play with toys that are kid friendly and okay to immolate. I would never let my younger siblings play with dolls dressed scantily clad. Also why do they have eyelash extensions (sexy eyes), revealing clothes, and make up? These things aren’t for children so they shouldn’t be on toys made for children

    Comment by Corrin M. — May 13, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  131. I fully agree that companies need to start taking responsibility for their product, and parents for their children. It upsets me to see that toys have been modernized to the society we live in now, but it’s reality. This trend is teaching girls at a young age about beauty standards and self-image. Nobody wants there children to be expose to things like a women wearing short skirts and a lot of make up or men being per trade as aggressive and dominate but this is the image of men and women now.

    Comment by Vanessa Ochoa — May 13, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  132. First, to begin with, let us look at yesterday’s toys, when children played with Lego Building Blocks, when they were just building blocks. Children used their imaginations to build a house, landscapes, and create buildings. Today’s Lego Building Blocks are three-dimensional and come with perceptible directions, numbers on the pieces, and the only thing that needed is eyesight. Parallel to yesterday’s building blocks, today’s building block show about learning how to be a hairdresser, by giving your dolls haircuts, with safety scissors that rarely cut, and taking your moms bobby pins to create a hairstyle it was fun, and imaginative. Dolls of today no longer need scissors to style their hair, you can press a button in the back of the doll that makes her hair grow, and press it again, and the hair shortens. Parents, also can buy dolls that come with complete hair grooming kits, were you can even change the doll’s hair color, with little bottles of dye, what happen to dying your doll’s hair with Kool-Aide or a marker?

    Next, what about the collecting aspect of yesterday’s toys when children collected Cabbage Patch Kids, Hot Wheels, and Transformers action figures, and would trade with friends, this is where a child learned social skills, being patience and even bargaining. Waiting patiently for your friends to come home from school to find out who has the fastest Hot Wheels was a lot of fun, trading action figures with your best friend or siblings was the way to go. Today the only trading going on is on the internet, trading video games. Now, I ask you where the fun is in that.

    Comment by Ani S — May 13, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  133. The sexualization of toys has been one of the most significant of issues regarding gender oppression and socialization of youth and children alike. I completely agree with this post that the sexualization of toys has transformed the focus of children to something not suitable for the age. Children are being exposed to sex through their toys and as a result are losing that sense of innocence and playfulness.

    Comment by Masis H — May 13, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  134. This is really crazy because the toys didn’t need make overs. I think by changing the appearance of the toys, we are making kids grow up faster than they should. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to all these different changes because they will start to believe they need to look a certain way at very young ages. It is already bad that so many older people have self-esteem issues and I don’t think those issues should passed down to young kids.

    Comment by Vincent McGhee — May 13, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  135. Wow! I didn’t even know this. This is so interesting. And aren’t care bears suppose to have bellies for care bear stare. Toys have certainly have been sexed up. It’s seems the toys are more for teenagers than kids. No wonder kids want to be “sexy.” It’s all they see in the media and in their toys. This is a sad situation and something I don’t want to have to deal with my six year old daughter. Strawberry short cake I think has done the biggest transformation. I think things need to go back to how they use to be and kids should be kids.

    Comment by Amber S. — May 13, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  136. This really saddens me! I grew up obsessing over Lisa Frank and the popular unicorn symbol. I remember being in love with the rainbow and that’s what would catch my eye each time. If I was a kid, I don’t know how much I’d want to see a Bratz doll look alike instead. I think they really ruined the image of what Lisa Frank was known for. Now it’s as typical as barbies and Bratz. But this is how society is coming along, everything is being driven to be sex based, even toys, and it’s horrific! I don’t understand the people who create these designs, and approve it. When I was growing up, Barbies were sexy, but now, they are even sexier. I noticed the other day when I was playing Barbies with my little cousins, their lips seem enlarged, as if they are filled with collegean, and the bodies seem even curvier ad enhanced as far as breast size goes. In general I don’t comprehend how some of these toys are made for kids. And this is where I believe teens years problems begin, from childhood toys. Girls become unhappy with their bodies due to exposure of sex appealing toys and wanting to grow up with that physique. I once babysat a couple of girls who were in the age range of 10-12, and the entire time they kept discussing how they can’t wait to grow up and wear heels. I was laughing thinking to myself, “sure you do, wait til you put them on, you’ll be crying to kick them off.” But the reason they want heels so badly is because they seen Barbie in the highest stilettos possible and it resonated on them to want to dress like her and have the perfect boyfriend like Ken as well. Toys are the enemy for kids now days!

    Comment by Anna Kleyman — May 17, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  137. [...] learned about the Polly Pocket make-over at Feminist Fatale.  Whereas in the 1980s, Polly Pocket looked kind of like an infant and came with various [...]

    Pingback by Sexy Toy Make-Overs: Polly Pocket, Care Bears, and Barbie | Adios Barbie — May 18, 2012 @ 8:00 am

  138. I am surprised to find that very popular characters and toys have been sexualized and made mature for young children(6, 8 years old and up?). It is heartbreaking to think that little kids, specifically little girls, are targeted for such sexualized toys. Now there are Bratz-type characters in the world of Lisa Frank? It is conditioning young girls to believe that shopping, shoes(high heel shoes), and looking pretty are what is necessary to meet prince charming. The poor girls who get this message and cannot identify with the toys their parents bought them, but accept that they should meet this image.

    Comment by JaeYoon Chung — May 20, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  139. The over-sexualization of toys massively contributes to the self-love and self-esteem issue discussed in my Women Studies 10 class. Before you know it, you’re thirteen years old and reading magazines that tell you that your shirt is out of style, you need to cover up that acne, and your hair needs a tune-up. Why are we expediting the process of feeling shitty about ourselves? As stated in the blog above, why can’t we let these kids be kids for a little while? There is too much pressure to look a certain way once you hit your teen years; there is no reason to add this pressure to young girls and boys just starting their developing years. Adding sex appeal to these children’s toys does not go unnoticed by children, contrary to many beliefs. Children pick up on these subtle messages, and act and feel based upon them. If little Jenny sees that Strawberry Shortcake no longer looks like her, she’s going to wonder why. Slimming these characters down now makes them less relative to children who are not stick skinny, which is a very small percent. We must stop buying these types of toys to shut down these manufactures to ensure a better community for our kids. Children are already bombarded by media messages on their local television stations and kid’s channels, they do not need any more negative messages flooding their minds.

    Comment by Ryan F. — May 29, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  140. This article is so true. Corporate America is robbing kids of a childhood and taking away their innocence. I worked at a beach volleyball camp a few summers ago and I listened to these kids conversations and it was all about sex. I was so appalled because these kids just hit puberty, they raged in ages 12-16. I was thinking I did nothing like that when I was their age. Thank God I have caring parents.
    It’s just shocking that parents don’t get why children have issues at a young age when peer pressure and stressors are always around them. The pressure to be perfect gets ingrained into a child at such a young age. It is so sad to see.

    Comment by Mary Marrone — May 30, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  141. I’m just so sad about how overly-sexualized our culture has become in general, but especially in toys. I’m a big believer in just sending your kids out to play outside, in the neighborhood, with actual other human children!!! Of course a kid is going to want toys and they must be entertained at home (especially if TV is at a minimum as it should be), so it breaks my heart even more that toys today are becoming so sexualized. How could a young girl not compare herself to perfect barbie or Polly Pocket? How could she not want to dress in the overly sexual attire of her toys? Children are so easily influenced, so it’s time we stop throwing the media’s means to profit at our children and be more selective in what we allow in our homes. These toys are perpetuating the ridiculous beauty norms that are already so destructive in our society and are emphasizing the importance of looks at such a young age; girls will look at these toys, compare themselves to them, and then feel sad that they aren’t this impossibly perfect. It’s just ridiculous.

    Comment by Lyndsay A. — May 30, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  142. I was unaware of how toys are portrayed and are so sexual until I took this class. This scared for when I have a child. It scared me for them to grow up in a society where toys are so sexual. I just remembered I would undress my sisters Barbie’s to see them naked. These ads make me want to build my own kids toys. The messages these images being sent are to wear make up at such a young age are not fair to children. Things like this want to me to make a toy business that somehow is not sexual. I can’t even think of one that isn’t sexy and sexism at first thought. Which gives me a sense of how engrained our society’s cultivation is in my thoughts.

    Comment by Bryan A — May 30, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  143. I was not aware of what the toy companies are doing to their products butyl I read this article. It is disturbing to see that toy companies are giving their products “sexy make over’s”. These products are made for children, and the last thing children— especially girls, should be thinking about is how to be sexy. It is the toy companies to blame for causing young girls to develop insecurities and feel the need to grow up faster than they need to. I did not like that the dolls have been transformed into sluttier versions of themselves. The dolls have been made over with pounds of makeup and shorter skirts. This gives young girls the idea that they have to look that way. I also think that the dolls should be dressed in other colors other than purple and pink. Girls are allowed to like the color blue or green too.

    Comment by Pauline T — May 30, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  144. It is truly devastating to see how our society runs today. Women are seen as inferior, men overly superior, and now our children are sexualized. As a 19 year old, I can definitely saw that toys have been significantly changed from the ones I had been playing with. The dolls look much older, way too done up, thinner, and “glamorous”. Aside from the toys, we see this in television also. Having a younger sister, I see shows all the time where not necessarily kids, but teens are kissing or talking about their bodies in a sexual way. We are in a culture that promotes and runs on sex, which makes me fear for my sister and potentially, my child’s future.

    Comment by Yasmine T. — May 30, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  145. Why do advertisers always have to attack the children? From a young age, people grow up not eing satisfied with themselves. There’s always something new out there that you don’t have, but you want it so bad. I experienced this a couple months ago when I wanted to purchase an iPhone. I thought to myself, “should I just wait and get the new iPhone in a couple months?” On a similar note, advertisers have manipulated us to believe that we need change in order to fit in with society. Their new target is little kids, weak minds who will fall for anything to e liked. I can’t believe what messages children get from products these days. I remember the old Strawberry Shortcake doll, but seeing her new body and attire, I feel a little disturbed. As mentioned in class, children need to stay away from advertisements completely until they can cognitively think on their own.

    Comment by Sharona M — May 31, 2012 @ 5:37 am

  146. This is the reason why little girls today act the way they act. Also, this is the reason why small girls want to dress, just the same way as their favorite dolls. What upsets me the most is that dolls, such as Bratz, are dress in miniskirts. Who wants to see a small little girl wear miniskirts? There are plenty of perverts out there who do. I mean, I have to admit that when a character doll is transform into a fancier chick but with enough clothes to cover the dolls legs, and not show boobs, then I sort stay calm. My point is that if I were to have a small daughter, and if she is younger than 12, I would not permit her to play with dolls that have miniskirts. That’s my point of view. Yet, it still dangerous for the rest of the girls, older than 12, to play with dolls that expose their plastic bodies. Either way, it still is disappointing to see how toys are being transformed into.

    Comment by Elyzabeth A — June 27, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  147. I understand to an extent that these manufactures are trying to make money buying giving their items a makeover but there is a way around it to stay clear from sexualize these toys for young children. Sexualization I feel is everywhere. You do make a good put to stop buying these product and maybe there will change their direction to something else. As adults I do agree that we face more doubts in our own body images but why do they feel its right to make children to start thinking that at a young age. Don’t these manufactures have daughters of their own, would they want their daughters to feel horrible about themselves?

    Comment by Amanda A. — June 30, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  148. The toy manufacturing industry today has really gotten out of hand in redesigning these toys for young children. There is no need for young children to fantasize about having “long lashes” and “thin tiny bodies”, the beauty of being a kid is not having to worry about these things. However, here comes the toy manufactures, always finding something to makeover to make more money and attract more customers. The makeovers they’ve done to Polly Pockets and Care Bears are giving the wrong message to young girls, that they must use makeup and wear mini skirts and high heels. It is bad enough that when these girls will enter adolescence, they will find a problem with every part of their body, but what’s even worse is teaching younger girls more and more ways to “dress up and makeover their image” to look like the toys they play with. With the deceiving messages the toy manufacturers send to children, the role of parents in promoting a healthy self image for their children becomes more important.

    Comment by Ariella M — July 1, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  149. I think they should nt focus to much on the looks of the cartoon characters or body image. Toys came out as a play for kids so they can play with toys and have imagination, not judging on the looks of the toys. But i guess they wanted to upgrade the toys i think they re copying the images from manga a japanese image for cartoons. They look both look similar so i guess they want to market those looks for toy industries. But i think they are gender socializing the toys and they should nt do that especially for girls toys i don t see that in boy toys.

    Comment by Yanira S — July 4, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  150. Unfortunately I didn’t grow up in the 80′s nor am I a girl so it’s difficult for me to understand how these new products may be perceived as something negative. However as a human being, I do understand why making dolls and cartoon characters skinnier may be viewed as an ideal image of how a girl should look like. Much like the new decade, many girls are now going through unnatural process to lose the fat in their body (e.g. liposuction). These dangerous methods of losing weight may seem safe, but the the actual process is more dangerous than one may think. I believe that personality is what matters. Although looks are important, a good deed can never go unnoticed. I also believe that the deeper we try to advertise the idealistic mainstream that our country has to offer, the sooner we will realize how moronic we really are.

    Comment by Alexander K (Wom.10 Scholars) — September 8, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  151. [...] mature/grown up image. By that same token, however, what’s happening to all of the dolls? Dora the Explorer, My Little Pony, even Rainbow Brite have all been made over to be more “sexy…In addition to cartoons taking a bend toward this trend, children’s programming and clothing [...]

    Pingback by Young Girls and Too Much Sex « Wining Wife — September 10, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  152. Marketing is being aimed at younger and younger girls. These fun well-known characters that have been a part of children growing up for years have been stripped of their innocence and made more grown up looking. Probably dragging along the children who so much look up to them to mature quicker as well. Making these dolls thinner, with “sexier” clothing options and more make up is dangerous. Instead of the wholesome toys they used to play with, they have been replaced with the idea of what they themselves should be looking like. It sets this in the mind of young children at such a young age where it is dangerous to their perception and thought for the future.

    Comment by Nadia A — October 3, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  153. It is outrageous the way toy manufacturers are sexualizing toys for children at such a young age. Do they fail to realize the implications these toys have for our the next generation? By giving children, particularly women “sexy” toys, they are essentially telling them that they need to be like these toys, that they need to be skinny, wear lots of makeup and act in a sexual manner. There is no need for these toy manufacturers to change these toys yet they still do so anyways. I remember when I was a kid, toys were barely sexualized if at all. I can now finally understand why the next generation is being in these inappropriate manners. These toys contribute to self-esteem issues that these children will face in their teenage years. It is unfair how these companies won’t let these children just be children for whatever is left of their childhood. This marketing towards children needs to stop.

    Comment by Nathan R — October 6, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  154. This whole subject really gets to me. 7 years ago I wrote a thesis on sexual images in society influencing the values of the youth demographic and this type of thing was part of my supporting argument. I don’t believe for a second that these toys and TV shows have no effect children at a shockingly young age.
    I worked with children ages 4-13 for 7 years and in that short amount of time I noticed more and more of the girls wanting to wear make up and quoting horrible sexist cliques, acting like mean girls, talking about diets and how fat they all were and the age that they started this was younger and younger. The idea that these kids are unaware is ridiculous! They would have bratz dolls, palettes of makeup and super short skirts. I remember sitting down with a group the the girls and having a heart to heart about how they were feeling about themselves. And it broke my heart to hear how many of them feel ugly or fat of not good enough in general. These were girls 7-13.
    I grew up in the 90s when the more innocent versions of these toys existed and I know I started having body image problems by grade 5 that was when I was 10 years old. I don’t know about any of you but I wouldn’t consider that adolescence. And the idea of it coming down to proper parenting is only a small part of the issue. My mother and father never let me have Barbies because of her body, I grew up with boys, played outside all the time, wasn’t allowed teen magazines, wasn’t able to have makeup and was taught that I was beautiful the way I was ( And I thank my parents every day for being that awesome). That didn’t stop me from feeling fat and ugly by grade 5, refusing to wear tank tops till high school, not wearing shorts till college and developing a serious eating disorder by the time I was 15/16 that has reared its ugly head a few times since.
    I suppose my point is that this images are going to effect your children whether by first hand exposure, second hand or how ever. I wish we could stop placing blame; the toy companies, the parents, marketing, etc, and just accept that this is societies problem and if we want strong, healthy, independent women we need to start teaching them how to become those people from day one.

    Comment by Samantha — October 9, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  155. Although I am a 90′s child, I grew up obsessed with Lisa Frank and having every inch of every notebook and even my bedroom wall covered with Franks Stickers. I never played with any ponys or stuffed dolls, and hated watching cartoons. But I have little siblings who did and I do watch tv so i did notice the products changing. It is sad to see toys being modernized to what is now the perfect body type, and even making bears and horses thin. i also believe that today’s dolls and toys are not the sole problem. Children growing up will still be “corrupted” in different ways. Being on the internet they come across commercials and ads. Reading magazines and watching tv shows all these celebrities thin and perfect. I recently read a recent article with a Disney channel star stating “I could just eat you up, well if I ate.” on Sonny with a chance. Varying ages of children watch this show, so i think in this day and age there is no running away from such problems. It just depends on how the parents raise their children.

    Comment by Samina Abgin — October 15, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  156. Just like clothes these days promote girls to be sexy at a young age,toys do too.The fact that dolls have accessories such as mini skirts,eyelashes,and highheels also promote girls to be sexy at a young age.For example,bratz are dolls that look like prostitutes and if girls play with them at a young age they will be influenced to dress like this.As a result they could get bullied and called names such as “slut” and “whore”.We all know that bullying is very hurtful especially to girls just look at what happened to Amanda Todd,may she rest in peace.

    Comment by Saman M — October 18, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  157. I am in complete shock in how much manufacturers completely changed girls’ toys such as Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake in order to meet today’s standards of how girls should look (wearing mini skirts, heels, makeup and being slim). I remember these toys as a child, and they have changed drastically and it is actually really sad to see because it takes away from the innocence of the toys by gearing them towards a more sexualized perspective.

    Comment by Natasha N — October 22, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  158. Toys are now starting to influence children sexually. Teenage years are when people are first introduced to sexual ideas and become sexually influenced. This is bad because now children are becoming sexually influenced too early. Children have traditionally been allowed to enjoy their childhood innocent to sexual ideas; teenagers have traditionally known to face a lot of conflict and troubles, and experience many hardships when they first learn about sexual ideas. Because toy manufacturers want to boost sales of their toys, they are trying to appeal to children in a different way then they used to, which will most likely cause a lower median age for suicide rates, along with drug and alcohol abuse.

    Comment by PanteaP — October 27, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  159. I could not agree more with this article. Sexualizing children and the arena of children’s play is not only tasteless; it is a grievous error in education. Idealizing physical touchpoints of beauty and emphasizing a sexuality that is age-innappropriate broadcasts messages to children as to what their values should be. As a result, children undergo tremendous anxiety and discomfort trying to be age-innappropriate idealized versions of themselves when in reality they need to be concerned with other developmental proccesses. Sexuality is a normal part of human development and personality, but it is distorted and irrelevent to grade school children. To make it the provenance of childhood expirence is to both deprive children of a crucial developmental stage and to misdirect their growth.

    Comment by MansourR — November 2, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  160. I feel this is happening to the toys due to the media, the media is changing and in turn the toys need to change as well. I find it quite shocking they are giving these toys such promiscuous features such as high heals, professorially done hair and long eye lashes, they are even slimming them down. This is giving these girl at such a young age the idea that women need to look like this and stress being skinny. Causing these poor girl to enter the trap of society that is set for these poor girls, they are raised by these extremely sexual toys that are alarmingly skinny and then people say why these girls grow up with eating disorders and want to express their sexuality and yet they are battered for it, by society, called sluts or anorexic. We need to change the media and the toys and fix this but how long will it take, how long will this damage on our youth take place.

    Comment by Daniel S — November 10, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  161. As I look through this ad I realized that when I was younger I used to play with My Little Ponies. Except when I was playing with them they were a lot smaller, and the horses were fatter. It just makes me sad knowing that little girls are playing with toys that are sexualized. Girls seemed to be forced to like the color pink, and they have to love shopping, and wear high heels. I am a woman and I don’t like any of that. I just don’t understand why children have to be expose to this issue at such a young age. I get it that girl aren’t going to play with toys or look like women in the 80s, but I just find it so sad knowing that toys are influencing children sexually. The toys are just made in such an exaggerated way.

    Comment by Yael K — November 27, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  162. Young girls are growing up in a sexually socialized society. The mass media is marketing toys and images that have greatly changes over the past few decades. These new images are unconsciously sending the message to young girls that they have to worry about what they look like and what they dress. These images that are sent to young girls greatly impact them. The slimming down of the bodies of dolls and the way they are being dressed greatly affects the body images young girls have. They come to compare themselves and thus this creates a low self-esteem for them. I find it disturbing that these toys now feature short dresses and high heels, items girls should not have to worry about until they are much older.

    Comment by Angella F — December 2, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

  163. over the years, children’s toys have become extremely sexual. They began wearing high heels, short skirts, and tight low cut shirts. I also believe that this has influenced children at ayoung age to be sexual and to feel self conscious about their bodies. Media has a huge effect on children. Children want to be what they see, and what they see as “perfect”. With all this pressure on little children, (both boys and girls), it makes them want to be something that isnt right. They should enjoy their youth and not think about whether or not their hair is perfect, or if they are wearing a cute enough outfit.

    Comment by Tiffany N. — December 3, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  164. I can attest to the fact that these toy images have made me feel self- conscious when I was a child. I remember gathering with a group of my girlfriends at recess and picking which Lisa Frank girl character we would be. We all would get into arguments about who could be the prettiest one or if we were upset because we couldn’t be the girl with straight hair and were stuck with the curly haired one. The media does a good enough job at sexualizing children already why do toy companies have to make children more self-conscious too? I completely agree with the author of the article that like in Sweden there should be some sort of grace period where it is illegal to advertise to young, impressionable children. I already have my niece singing scandalous Katy Perry songs I don’t need her having to obsess about her body too. The reality of the situation is that the change starts at home and although it is the holiday season parents should not buy their children these sexualized toys. I would much rather have my child throw a tantrum than have to see my child deal with an eating disorder.

    Comment by Andrea C — December 3, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  165. Honestly, after I read these blogs is when I really start to see how corrupt our society is. Our society is damaging little girls at such a young age through anything and everything. They are teaching girls through these toys what “real” beauty is. They are portraying that being skinny and showing off your body is the way to do it! Usually teddy bears are supposed to be fat and cuddly and now overtime these Care-bears have even slimmed down with flatter bellies. They even have “mascara” on. We see this with almost everything. As a child, my favorite doll was Barbie. Yes she was hot and sexy even when I was playing with them, but when I go to toy stores now a days I see how from my time which is not that long ago these Barbie dolls have transformed. Now Barbie has an eyebrow lift, her belly isn’t a Twist n’ Turn it now looks like a slim fit real belly, and she has more makeup on. Children in this generation are more exposed to the bad expectations this society has. They can no longer be carefree and themselves, rather now they are growing up too fast and living as children with an adults mind.

    Comment by Shaina M — December 3, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  166. I grew up with a sister who had all these toys. i was very shocked to see how these toys have changed. I do believe that if we stop the purchase of these toys the toy companies will change the ways of production and design. the way the Toys are changing is the same way out society is changing. It is accepting more sexuality at a younger age.

    Comment by Kevin Y — December 3, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  167. It wasn’t so long ago that I, myself was seen playing with My Little Pony dolls and coloring in Lisa Frank books. Back then it was all in good fun and I never thought it would change this drastically. Little girls are seeing this and want to be these things so what are these companies telling our youth. That it’s okay to be seen showing off your mid section and wearing short shorts and wearing so much make up that if you were to walk into sunshine your face would literally melt off. Exhibit A is that show that depicts little girls in beauty pageants who aren’t depicting themselves but are a mirror image of what the media believes is beauty. Their natural beauty isn’t seen because they are forced to wear teeth veneers and extensions and even fake eyelashes. Instead of molding our youth to love themselves for who they are, the media is making their self esteem non existent.

    Comment by NedaM — December 3, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  168. I’ve realized over the years toys have became to lose more and more clothing. Its the media who has a big affect on this because they advertise it. Making it seem like these toys are the perfect image to be. Seems like the generations are just getting worse and more acceptable to inappropriate things.

    Comment by Oliver M — December 4, 2012 @ 1:23 am

  169. After doing the field research project where we had to go to a toy store and analyze the toys, and see the difference between a boys toy and a girls toy. I realized that toys have changed so much from when I was younger, and I’m not even that old. Instead of seeing more stuff animals like teddy bears, which I adorned when I was younger I’m seeing more and more dolls. Which is fine, but the way the dolls are being protrayed isn’t. They’re taller, skinner, prettier and you can fix them up by dying their hair color, or bedazzling their outfits. So what kind of message is this sending out to young girls? It’s saying that even the prettiest and skinniest girl still need work to be done. You can make them better by giving them the latest fashion or the latest looks.

    Comment by Mita S. — December 4, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  170. The same reason why women and their style have changed since the 80′s is the reason why these toy dolls have a different style and changed since the 80′s. Over the years people have a different taste in style. In todays time children see their mother wearing high heels and mini skirts and want a toy to relate to their mother which is their female roll model. Just how hair style, shoe style, even body style have changed, not just on females but on men, dolls and toys will modernize with society.

    Comment by Jimmy S — December 4, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  171. Barbie was always beautiful to me when I was growing up. She was blonde, skinny and had perfect features. I can’t lie and say this didn’t influence me and my current perception of beauty. However, it is absolutely shocking to see these toys that depict animals to have such “fashionable” features. By doing this, the companies that make these toys are encouraging the formation of beauty standards to be formed at such an early age. Growing up one of my favorite shows was Recess. None of the female characters had a focus on their appearance. In fact, they looked like the complete opposite of Barbie or any other beauty ideal. I honestly don’t think a show like Recess would last a day today with shows like the ones on Disney channel around. Toys don’t seem to be the same either–it seems they all focus on make up and hair, and I don’t see any of the old Nick characters that I used to love. I tried showing my 9 year old niece some of my favorite movies and shows from when I was her age and guess what? No dice. All she wanted was Hannah Montana or Shake It Up. Needless to say, I detest these shows with a passion.

    Comment by Michelle G — December 4, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  172. I agree with Jimmy’s comment about the style changing in women and men throughout the years. Yes the dolls and toys should change, but not into society’s perspective of a slut. These toys midriffs show and all of there legs. That isnt the style unless you’re trying to dress scantily. Toys for young children should have makeup and short clothing because we wouldn’t dress our children like that. Why let them be exposed to that when we don’t want them looking that way?

    Comment by ZaneM — December 4, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  173. Once again, i find it unappropriate and unsuitable for big major toy companies to be constantly changing their toy for the worst. Because they are brainwashing young children to grow up just like the modeled toys they love and play with everyday growing up. Because it is a clear fact that children grow up a certain depending on what they are taught at a young age. And them viewing and learning from toys that are skinny with short mini skirts may affect them and how they grow up and how they think they should look and be like in society. Which is why i think that big toy companies should be precautious on how they change they make and build because it could cause and affect on how our future generations of children think and grow. And in my opinion i think that they should produce and advertise our old societies toys because they rarely send the message that young girls should be skinny, thin, and into fashion. Because it can overall result in how young children see life for the better with healthy minds and habits because they are not being taught that they have to be and look a certain way and just simply just accept who they are how they look.

    Comment by Danny S — December 4, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  174. It is incredible how the toys that were meant for kids to play in the 80’s with are now toys that look like they belong on a runway. Most of these toys are suppose to be played by girls’ ages 6-10 whose bodies are developed yet. When I looked closely at these toys like the new Polly pocket and Lisa Frank their bodies are developed making them look more like a teenager’s bodies than a young child’s body. I agree with the speaker that toys like these just make children feel bad about their own bodies for not looking like their toys’ bodies. I remember when I first bought my first Care Bear its belly was stuff with cotton making it look like a real teddy bear but when my younger sister bought her first Care Bear it look thinner compare to mine. I remember think how fat my Care Bear looked compare to my sister and this eventually lead me to criticizing my own body as I got older. Sexualizing the toys young girls play with during their childhood might have some affects on the way they see their bodies.

    Comment by Gisela D — December 4, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  175. I feel like in the 90s the media started to change the girl characters because in Jonny Brovo theres a main woman lead that is tall, small wasit skinny, big chest, and long perfect hair. In the super hero shows Wonder Woman was a strong tall skinny woman that had it all beautiful, smart, a hero,and perfect. She was my hero, my idol I looked up to her. Now I see that I started to wear tight shorts, and short tight shirt, always had my mom do my hair like her. If she didnt I would get mad. Its crazy how time goes by and the characters change extremly but to the worst not to its best. the message it sends to kids is something that needs to be change but its also something that can take an extreme change too.

    Comment by Alejandra A — December 5, 2012 @ 2:44 am

  176. I have not noticed the changes in these toys before looking at these ads and it does not really bother me like the other ads did. I think because it wasn’t as noticible it isnt that bad. I am not saying I agree with what they did to transform these toys into models with model like hair and model like eyes because I don’t agree with it. I think that for the people or kids who realize that these dolls have such perfect everything will later on consider themselves as subordinate or not good enough which will lower their self esteems pretty early in life.

    Comment by CharlleneA — December 5, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  177. Children will never see the differences between these toys. All they will think about is how pretty they are. We adults do see what they have done because we are educated to see what the media is doing to the toys now just to see them. A little girl wouldn’t want to get a toy that was mad in the 80s because they are made for that generation. The kids in 2012, they know what is pretty because of the media. The media are telling them that the toys made now are okay and the old toys are not. Unfortunately the kids will not see this until they grow up and hit high school then they will notice that they are just doing these toys with Minnie skirts because of the money and no other reason.

    Comment by InokeT — December 5, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  178. Over the years I have to admit I have noticed there to be a very gradual but obvious change in the way toys are being made. However, it is sad to see that the things I associated my childhood with, no longer have the same innocence now as they once did. I agree with this article in the sense that the toy manufacturers that are selling to children today are sexualizing their toys. The toys young girls play with should not promote ideas of looking thin, sexy, wearing a ton of make up in order to look pretty, etc., because this will only lead to them unconsciously internalizing these negative ideas. Girls then will be more likely to becoming self-conscious and unhappy with their bodies. This being said, I really do think it is scary how the media today is influencing children now at a younger age than ever before.

    Comment by NatalieA — December 5, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  179. This article said it right. These toy companies are not going to stop sexualizing their toys so that girls stop getting influenced at such an early age. The only way to stop this once and for all is to boycott all these companies and to stop giving them business. It is not the little 7 year old kids who walk into stores and purchase all these different kinds of toys. It is rather their parents, who should be smart enough to realize how wrong this is. It is very easy to see why girls become so self-conscious and insecure as they grow to be older.

    Comment by Shahriar M. — December 5, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  180. Having two younger sisters, the new update on toys has been brought to my attention. As I take my sisters to Toys R Us to find them new dolls, I try to find them a doll that is dressed appropriately and not wearing makeup, but that has become impossible. These dolls are sending little girls the message that they must show skin and wear makeup in order to be beautiful like their dolls. Not only that, but it is giving girls the message at such a young age that they must BE dolls, something extremely dangerous for their futures.

    Comment by Carolyne A — December 6, 2012 @ 12:16 am

  181. Very interesting article. When I meet younger girls these days (ages 6-14) I think, “wow, she is so much more mature than I was at her age”- I guess this could be why. I used to feel intimidated by these younger girls because I felt like they were gaining more knowledge at a younger age on “how to be a woman”. However now I feel very sad because I realize that they are not gaining more knowledge, rather they are being exposed to damaging and unhealthy values and expectations.

    Comment by OliviaW — December 6, 2012 @ 12:23 am

  182. This article is completely right on what a sad transformation toys have gone through over the years. It does seem as if toys are becoming more “sexy’ instead of.. toys. I remember dying over having a cabbage patch kid, which was a chubby little baby doll usually dressed in overalls. Now i witness my little cousins beg for and cry over Bratz dolls, which are literally barbies with over sized hair, over done make up, over high heels, and extremely mini skirts. I dont understand what society has become in doing so, targeting young girls to become used to the fact that even their toys that they play with fit this ideal woman image that society has created.

    Comment by Segal M. — December 6, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  183. Wow, this has definitely opened my eyes. I remember growing up wondering what games can I play today or where can I go today but never so much about what should I wear to make me feel pretty, yes Barbie dolls were around but their clothes were never as adult as they are now. My mother had a good idea teaching us( her daughters) how to remain children. We never were able to perm our hair, wear make up, high heel shoes, mini skirts, nail polish etc and really I did not see the need. I am 23 now and still have no desire to completely transform myself into the ideal woman but I believe that if little girls are constantly blurred by images or toys that reveal something different than a child should know, they will want to emulate. It’s an epidemic but parents need to careful of what messages they allow their children to pay attention to. Having a low self esteem ever before age 13 should be unheard of.

    Comment by Anhjia L — December 6, 2012 @ 1:42 am

  184. Growing up I questioned why I was pushed to play with legos and video games while my desire to paint and draw was shoved aside by my mother. Even more so, when I invited my female cousins to play video games with me they would have to wait until their father was busy to take part. I think the generation of today is forced to deal with an unfair and unprecedented form of socialization which channels its influence through toys. I played hyper-violent video games, took part in mock trial, cooked, and painted throughout high school ( much to my parents dismay) because I didn’t want to feel that I have to adhere to strictly being one stereotypical character from the breakfast club. I think a push towards ultimately the deconstruction of gender and removal of social stigmas behind different activities would lead to incredible improvements for every level of adolescent who has to deal with handling toys or enjoying a social environment. To dismissively state toys have always been the same is to completely ignore the compelling argument professor Klein states which I wholeheartedly agree with stating that toys have changed and it has lead to debilitating impacts.

    Comment by Hasunk — December 6, 2012 @ 2:47 am

  185. I completely agree with this article. I do believe that all these toys, magazines, and advertisements are constantly trying to make girls feel like they have to change and do makeovers, go on diets, buy the trendiest clothes and it isn’t right. Having younger cousins both girls and boys the girls are playing with all these toys that are listed above and are being brain-washed at an early age on how to fit into society as a girl and my boy cousins’ toys are getting more masculine as well. Also, as my girl cousins are playing “housewife” and my boy cousin wants to join in they say “no you cant, its a girls game” even though he just wants to play the baby or the be a dog. Already society has influenced my young cousins on what it means to be a woman in society which is a housewife and to care and nurture and for my boy cousin to be masculine starting off with the toys and going all the way to the wardrobe. All the toys created supports the ideal woman or man of society.

    Comment by Shannon Ha — January 21, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  186. When we are very young and immature, we are also easily influenced. Society throws every curve to try and force an image. Whether its through other people, the media, television, magazines or even toys, kids at a young age are easily coaxed into believing everything and everyone too easily over themselves. For example, in this article that I completely agree with, it mentions how little girls are sold these toys that have nothing but beauty, long hair, pink bows and long eyelashes on the covers. Now, i think there is a problem here, because not everyone has long eyelashes and pretty bows, but certainly everyone has an opinion and their own way of expression that is in fact altered and disrupted by these products. The toys make little girls think that beauty and appearance is everything, and that the way that they currently are isn’t good enough for others and the rest of the world. So they strive to be like the little girl on the cover of the toy. I think that this is poisoning the minds of the little children and leading them to years of confusion and misguidance.

    Comment by Edwin P — January 21, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

  187. The toys have gone through a complete make-over and that’s not surprising as they’re just following the trends of society. The image of new toys is really the image of what contemporary women are expected to look like. The high heels and the mini skirt image is really not surprising to anyone. However, the issue here is presenting it to kids at a very young age and pretty much pressuring them to be a certain way. Five-year old girls don’t need to know that men like seeing women dance on stripper poles. They don’t really need to know that they have to wear make-up in the future to impress their boyfriends. There is really no reason for bringing such expectations to kids at such a young age. If you ask the toy companies, they’ll simply answer that it’s about maximizing profit and selling what’s marketable. I don’t blame them that for that because really, the amount of money in your pocket probably is more important to you at the moment than influencing the daughters of others. It’s really the transformation of society that has hurt the kids and the companies themselves.

    Comment by Jun L. — January 23, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

  188. This comes as no surprise to me because of how early socialization starts. Society tries to influence us anyway it can and even toys are being made to reflect what “in” in todays standards. Just like the way “reality” TV shows really weren’t a big thing in the late 90s, but in the early 2000s they blew up and every major network decided to have multiple “reality” shows for different things. Toys will change with the rest of society.

    Comment by Alireza D. — February 3, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  189. The images of hyper sexualized, “perfect” female figures in toys that are “made-up, manicured, trendy and super model-like” that confront real girls in every facet of their life scares me. We are training our girls up to be concerned with nothing more than their appearance. I have a daughter and a niece and I work with youth at my church and the barrage of images they face continues and will continue to tell them that they are not enough. When will it be enough? Apparently, it won’t. Why are we teaching them that it is all good, as long as you’re mid-drift is showing and your pole dancing to the latest Brittany song. There is where your worth is. Not! If the images are the only ones we are providing for them, without questioning the media or toy industry, how can we accept them to have morals or values to adhere to? These images are their role models and they want to be like them. Can we hold girls and young women accountable when these are the only versions of “success” and “power” they see? I do not see how we can. It is a severe injustice to a generation. We are placing all of these expectations upon them without guiding them on how to live up to them. We are simply setting children, both male and female up for failure. How is that fair?

    Comment by Jewel B — February 4, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

  190. As a child, I did not pay close attention to the toys I had been playing with and the secret signs. Now that I am older, I can see that toys are actually influencing children sexually. Toy manufacturers are beginning to appeal children in an opposite way that had been present in previous years. Toys today are definitely more sexual. I understand that manufacturers are trying to make more profit, but corrupting a child this way is not acceptable. Not only does it make children more sexually active in their teenage years, but it may lead to children attempting suicide because they do not look a certain way, and possibly even drug material to get certain thoughts out of their heads.

    Comment by Yasmin F — February 5, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  191. All those manufactures are sending messages through their products. Whether it’s in a commercial, on television, children toys, a cover magazine it’s the same message that is getting through.
    We can’t say that children are the only ones being influenced because we all are. The problem is that those high standards that are being illustrated are impossible to achieve. All those models on the magazines don’t actually look that good in reality. Photoshop is always raising the bar when it comes to the body image, when in reality it’s not even achievable by those models that photoshop is being used on. I just think it’s ironic because manufacturers are socializing us into thinking that that’s how we should look when in fact they know that it isn’t achievable which explains the use of programs such as photoshops. After all, don’t they always say aim higher than what you actually want.

    Comment by Mariya A — February 5, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  192. I find this trend of dolls having such revealing clothes and such an emphasis on body parts very disappointing. Once instance that I recall took place around a couple years ago when I was at my grandmothers house and it was my cousin’s 8th birthday party. My grandma had went and bought her a doll and the second my cousin laid eyes on it, she started yelling at my poor grandma about how ugly the doll is and how ugly her clothes were. I found this instance interesting because it showed the clear cut separation of how the generations have changed. My grandma had went and bought her an ordinary doll who was covered from head to toe in a one-piece article of clothing. I know that my cousin was looking forward to the nearly nude Barbie doll with the belly shirt and the tiny skirt. When young girls see doll’s dressed this way, they will think that they too must dress like this, and will go out of their way to do so.

    Comment by Jonathan M — February 5, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

  193. You are always influenced by the toys you play with. As a child toys are what make up most of your days and lives. You create with them, you are able to use your imagination and have tons of fun. When the toy you are playing with looks really pretty to the point of perfection and can also be seen as somewhat slutty that crosses the line! The advertising industry continues to update their products so people will go out and buy the new version of the toy, because its what’s in.

    Comment by Ashley M — February 5, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

  194. It is really shocking to see these complete transformations in things as simple as toys. I could not fully realize how significant the difference is until I saw all the comparisons on how they were to what they are now. Starting at such a early age, socialization really embeds itself in the mind of the adolescents and makes them think that this is what they should be like. It is saddening to see, yet no one is doing anything about it. I totally agree that there should be an initiative to putting a cease to the purchasing of these products in order to run these morons out of business to not corrupt the mind of our youth.

    Comment by Arash R — February 6, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

  195. I remember still using the the decent Lisa Frank stationary. Now, everything has changed. All the toys for girls have a lot more sex appeal now. It is because of this that girls learn that the most important thing is beauty. It also shows that beauty is the most important thing they need to be considered valuable by men. Through cultivation, little girls learn that they need to have a perfect body, a perfect face, and even a perfect rear. These are all aspects that dolls now have. Toys for girls show what society expects from little girls. It also shows them how they should behave and what they should be able to do, such as cooking, when they grow up. Nowadays it is hard to find non-sexist toys in big name stores. This isn’t because it’s what the people demand. It is because that is what patriarchy wants.

    Comment by Judith S — February 6, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  196. Wow. Ive seen the My little pony on tv before but i never saw the older picture of it, and i am shocked as to how much they changed the toys due to our current view of fashion, women, and sexuality. Going from blue to pink, to long eyelashes, to having hearts on the toy and so on with all the other pictures. I think its just sad to have children be more like an adult. They have the majority of their life to do so and why push them into puberty early then they need to?

    Comment by Jonathan Y — February 14, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

  197. It is true that the images portrayed in today’s toys are more risqué than they were in the 80’s. I suppose everything has to change with the times, but it seems important to ask do the toys changes because kids interests demand it, or do kids interests change because of what’s happening in the toy world? My guess is it is the second of these, as marketing departments and advertisers cash in (literally) on the growing push towards the sexualization of children. Along with skinny jeans and other age-inappropriate possessions, these toys with “make-overs” are part of a campaign to open up a new demographic for the possibility of extra and profitable selling opportunities.

    Comment by Lois P — March 19, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

  198. I’ve always been familiar with the transformation toy companies have undergone when it comes to revamping toys for the next generation of kids. Now that I look back, the Bratz Dolls were really a step back for the feminist movement. Those dolls were simply outrageous. Sadly, parents would continue to buy them and unknowingly effect their children’s outlook on gender and society. That it’s okay to dress very revealing and expose more and more skin. The parents play a large part in the socialization of children in America and sadly, they don’t seem to be doing a very good job teaching their children.

    Comment by Pravesh S. — March 26, 2013 @ 10:27 am

  199. American Girl magazine is what some teens are still reading. Dear America is still hugely popular so that covers that. American Girl dolls are what every girl seems to talk about now. Boys are reading about the army and playing with Legos. Everything us fine.

    Comment by Jocelyn — April 21, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

  200. American Girl magazine is what some teens are still reading. Dear America is still hugely popular so that covers that. American Girl dolls are what every girl seems to talk about now. Boys are reading about the army and playing with Legos. Everything is fine.

    Comment by Jocelyn — April 21, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  201. Since I don’t have children or younger siblings myself I have never noticed that toys could actually be sexually revealing to children. I am shocked to know that such things could possibly occur. Even worse, most parents are not even aware of what they are exposing their kids to. I believe that this horrible outrage should be stopped and more people should talk and about it. Hopefully better awareness can help parents to be more knowledgeable and take better control of the situation.

    Comment by Sam F — April 29, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

  202. It so sad. How can marketers, advertisers, and society as a whole create a mess around the purity of childhood. We sexualize products to fit this ‘norm of beauty’ who ultimately is a unrealistic, unattainable, and impossible reach itself. Shifting from the models who embody that images, now we she little girls pose in women’s magazines. We she products like Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake to slim down and become more flattering. We are on a constant shift to become a people centered around shallow ideas. Why can’t we let children be children? Why can’t we let them love themselves, be confident, strong, and find there own beauty? We gave the media the power to dictate our sense of reality? We did and its times to actively take charge and find our own truths.

    Comment by Rita C — May 9, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

  203. I am in shock! I cannot believe how some of these toys have changed over time to fit what our society considers beautiful. Who would have thought that teddy bears would ever be skinny? – Not me. They are supposed to be comforting and fluffy! These toys emphasize our obsession with weight and beauty. It is disappointing to see these changes because these remodeled toys encourage young children to wear make-up and grow up way too fast. Because toys are so influential in society and gender roles, children are going to idolize them and mimic their looks. We used to play with innocent toys and now we are playing with our sexuality and adultness. When I was a child, I would be outdoors or participating in sports, whereas children today are inside more and playing with these toys that teach them how to behave in the adult world. I was not affiliated with Lisa Frank logos when I was a child but I now that I am, I am definitely more aware of what kind of messages they send out! I work with little kids and when they accomplish a task, we are encouraged to give them stickers to applaud them. For a few weeks, I was handing out these creepy looking dolls and ponies (Lisa Frank) stickers because they were the only stickers in our sticker box! Now that I realize the hidden meaning behind these stickers, I am going to the dollar store and buying gender neutralized star stickers! I wonder why children love the Lisa Frank images so much because I find them rather creepy. Children idolize these toys and as a society, we need to encourage them to grow up loving themselves rather than trying to make them love someone they are not.

    Comment by Danielle B. — May 24, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  204. Children are brought up to this lifestyle of being the prettiest from when they are born. I have come to the realization that gender socialization, is the prominent cause for the constant expectation for women to “like” specific things and have specific attributes due to their gender. Our society has set different standards for men and women in their everyday lives and this reflects the toys that are created for them. These famous toy brands create problems by making little girls feel these toys are the “ultimate perfection” from her glowing blonde hair, perfect skin, thin body, and long legs. The toy industry is essentially giving off the message that appearance is everything and it is what is on the outside that truly matters.

    Comment by Solok — May 24, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  205. The drastic alterations made to these toys is disgusting. My sister played with Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake before kindergarten! Its just revolting how these companies are shamelessly trying to manipulate young girls at an earlier and earlier age. I think the saddest part about this article is that the author makes it clear that a girl feeling insecure is inevitable in this patriarchy that we live in. Hopefully change can be made that will change the inevitability of a girl’s insecurity into a rarity.

    Comment by Bryan S — May 27, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

  206. Having two young cousins who play with toys like the aforementioned this is a very disturbing trend. These kids are being taught at a very young age to dress up with cleavage showing and in a naughty way. Also this is putting these kids in a mindset in which they say that they must look exactly like these toys, slim and skinny with heels and blonde hair. This is what the trend loos like these days. Unfortunately for our children this is not going to get any better soon and we must try and put a stop to it. Girls in particular will have many insecurity’s if they do not stop using these toys and stop learning from them. Corporations must realize that children are the face of the future, and if anything is wrong with them, that hurts the corporation greatly.

    Comment by Shahien Hendizadeh — May 29, 2013 @ 9:08 am

  207. This post made me chuckle, especially My Little Pony after a trip to Sephora haha! In all honesty, I don’t think I noticed feeling envious about toys when I was younger, but now that I’m older, I totally see it! I see how my main goal was to be Barbie-beautiful. Blonde, straight hair, big boobs, amazing legs, and an INSANELY provacative wardrobe! Now the only toy I can personally relate to that were mentioned above are Polly Pocket and Lisa Frank stationary. I do remember my sisters coloring in Lisa Frank coloring books and I was fascinated by the artwork and creativity. However, when I became obsessed with Lisa Frank books, the transformation had already been made. I clearly remember my obsession with the dolls and their faces. I wanted their lips, eyes, and hair. It took away all the creative and “trippy” fun from Lisa Frank coloring books and made it more about which doll figure to look up to and what can I wear on my body or face to look more like her. And as far as Polly Pocket goes, I’m genuinely heartbroken that she is now but ANOTHER doll (regular sized) to dress up (boring), rather than an interesting little toy to play with around my dinner plate and in the sand at the beach.

    Comment by Ambar P. — May 29, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

  208. Of course it is no surprise that most dolls have recieved extreme make overs! What society considers “beautiful” is unbelievable. You have to be skinny, flawless, have perfect hair, long eye lashes, and cool clothes to be pretty or sexy. It is disturbing knowning that dolls such as strawberry shortcake, dora, and TINKERBELL have had complete make overs over the years. I capatilized tinkerbell because that is one doll that’s close to being naked on shows/movies young girls watch. Tinkerbell is represented as a skinny, blue-eyed, and blonde-haired fairy wearing a tiny green leafed dress. So what messages is this sending to young girls? The fact that toys have been sexualized is sending a negative messages to all young girls in the world. The young girls are getting ideas that to be considered beautiful in today’s society you have be skinny, have long modeled-like hair, long eyelashes, and have the lastest fashionalble clothes to be cool and pretty. Advertisers need to quit giving these dolls/toy extreme make overs that are just not realistic because they can harm young children in the long run. By people seeing skinny models in magazines, skinny dolls at stores, and actors on television it can lead them to serious eating disorders by trying to be just like them. Advertisers should focus more on embracing all types of bodings through the media and come up with better role models.

    Comment by Johanna J — July 2, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  209. These toys are giving horrible examples to children these days. I was just explaining in my Women’s Studies class about how Barbie is the “ideal” body image of a woman. Why is that? We all have grown up with Barbie. Even now, Barbie is still alive and little girls still play with them. What kind of example is Barbie giving? With her skinny body, with her big breasts, with her long hair etc. Such examples are giving children to live to expectations to be just like Barbie, or as the example above says how, “My Little Pony looks like she just got back from a shopping trip to Sephora.” We do not need our children living up to these expectations in life. These toys over the generation have changed children’s, especially girls, lifestyles.

    Comment by NatalieM — July 10, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

  210. Having just learned about the effects of media and advertisement, I am disturbed by what I have just read. I always knew about how the media affects young and older women but never would I have thought that these adverts are now being extended to children. These drastic changes make me question the intention of these manufacturers and what their purpose is. Why would they feel the need to pressure young girls into these standards? The Idea of a 7 year old wanting to diet to look like her pretty skinny barbie deeply scares and disturbs me. If these toys are going to continue being manufactured this way, they are definitely not receiving any business from me.

    Comment by NikiN — July 19, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  211. Its very disappointing to find out that many of the toys that one grew up with is changing throughout the years. From what I have learned in my women studies class it is clear that many of the companies to change their toys completely is giving out a message. An example would be how society is making dolls look more sexy and to have the body that one wishes to have. this changes the minds of many girls who no lie look up to these characters that they play with or see on television. We really do not need children to be getting these ideas in their minds on how in order to be famous or pretty would be to change their looks and to look like the characters they know. Society need to focus on showing children that no matter where you are from and how you look like what is more important is your intelligence and to show the world that there is nothing wrong with being different. A child’s mind is not something that needs to be corrupted because the beginning of these lives is the most important years of their lives. They really need to stop changing the toys into making them seem like if they are perfect because that is so not true. Nobody is perfect and to have to show this to the children makes it disappointing to me.

    Comment by Kimberly C — July 22, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

  212. This article reminded my childhood which was full of robots cars and weapon like toys. I realize I am deeply socialized and grown in expected way. I believe same thing will happen to girls if they are playing with toys with sexualized toy. They need to stop this and let children be the way should children be.

    Comment by Chul Woo Park — July 23, 2013 @ 8:18 am

  213. By these popular toys receiving makeovers, it changes the minds of the kids that are playing with them. For instant, if a 6 year old girl is playing with a skinny, long hair doll with a short skirt, that little girl is going to grow up thinking she has to be skinny, have long hair and wear short skirts just like the doll she used to play with. Making toys more slim and attractive brain washes little girl into thinking that is normal and they too should look like the dolls. Dolls for girl have become more girl over time.

    Comment by Qujuan F — July 23, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  214. Children are innocent victims and don’t understand the gradual pictures that society is painting for them with the toys that are being made. Barbie dolls are not seen as just “pretty” they are very skinny with blonde hair and blue eyes with a tone of macup. You don’t see a kid walking around looking like a barbie doll right? So why make a toy like this for a child. I think it is just a wrong example and to needs to be attended. We are grown to be deeply socialized and fit into a certain way that needs to be followed. Children should be left alone to figure out themselves.

    Comment by JessicaH — July 24, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

  215. I find very sad how now days you cannot see a somewhat normal toy at the toy store. The fact that so many toys for young girls have been sexualized is completely sickening. I can not even believe that they are making animal toys skinnier. The image they are sending young girls is totally outrageous. I remember just recently my 11-year-old cousin came up to me asking me how can I loose weight? She was telling me she was fat. No 11 year old should worry about their weight. It just makes me feel sad what they are doing to these young girls. Like you said the article, the only way they will stop is if we stop giving them profit. I for one will stop purchasing their toys in efforts to make a change. But I am one person make little impact. If we ever want true change we must spread the word and all together stop giving them businesses.

    Comment by Kayla A — July 24, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

  216. If a child is familiar with a certain character and then that character gets made up to look slimmer or more made up, it gives little kids the idea that they too need to do something to improve their looks. No child should look at their toy and think “My Strawberry Shortcake doll is smaller and prettier so I need to look smaller and prettier.” Changing the way that these dolls look is messing with the minds of small children in todays world. A doll is something for a child to play with and to have fun with, not something to influence them into looking a certain way.

    Comment by Jasmine P — July 24, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

  217. I think its a shame that these dolls and toys are getting makeovers and getting more makeup to make themselves look better. Its an outrage! Little kids are going to like the toy or doll anyway!? so why change it to a more older and pretty look for the doll. children are being raised way too fast and way too spoiled these days. I thought i had it the good way but looking at all the new toys out there and the technology, but after seeing this i realize each generation of kids are growing up faster and faster and getting much more attention then how people in the 80s and 90s did.

    Comment by Justin N — July 24, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

  218. Many kids look up to their childhood characters. Changing the appearance of a character and making them look more like how society wants them to be, it can quickly influence the child to do the same. This could lead to a whole lot of problems. Kids should not be playing with dolls that have high heels and short skirts. It sends a terrible image to kids and kids don’t need those things this early in their lives. It should be simply a toy for a kid to enjoy not something to compete with.

    Comment by Matthew M — July 25, 2013 @ 12:09 am

  219. These transformations of dolls and television show characters are very dangerous to the youth. The way many of these characters dress is the way 20 years olds dress when going out to a club on a Saturday night. And when young kids see this they will think its ok and will want to look “beautiful” like their dolls. This is very scary, honestly think if your nine year old daughter dressed in a mini skirt and make up was going to school what would you think as a mother or father. Children will get distracted trying to look like their brats dolls and will not focus on important things like their education. As well as kids might think it is ok to dress like this all the time since they see the characters only wear does kinds of clothes and make up all the time. Honestly, I do agree that the best way to fight this is not buy products like this as well as not watch shows that show characters this way, and to watch shows and buy products more appropriate for children.

    Comment by Benjamin E — September 17, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  220. Speaking from a perspective of a kid who did not grow up in the United States and did not play with these toys, I do not blame most of these toy manufacturers. While I do not understand why the Care Bears need to be slimmed down, like Alison states, they are teddy bears. The whole point of a teddy bear is to be round and squishy. Hence why children cuddle with them. However, other than that I do think that these transformations are simply mirroring the changing style of our culture. A lot of girls today wear midriff tops and mini skirt. These girl’s younger sisters look up to them and want to grow up to dress like that as well and so they want to dress their dolls in the image of what they think a “grown up” dresses like. This would be the demand side of the market and the toy companies are simply responding by supplying. That is the job of the toy companies, to supply. If people want to change this they need to change the way older kids dress. They need to change the look of the “it” girl. Yes, parents could not buy their kids these toys but the children’s want does not subdue with the parents not proving. Furthermore, the media will continue to instill the image of the “it’ girl into children’s mind that by the time they reach high school they will be wearing midriff tops and miniskirts (especially short-shorts) to make themselves feel sexy and cool.
    If you also look at this historically, our sense of style has become more revealing each decade. Look at the swimsuits of the 1970s and there is no way you can tell me that they look similar to the swimsuits people are wearing on the beach today. Each decade pushes the sexual morals higher and maybe that is what our culture is continuing to do today.

    Comment by Ronita K — September 21, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

  221. This article immediately reminded me of our field research project in which we analyzed the role that toys & toy stores play in gender socialization and social construction. As I had previously stated, toys (especially the aforementioned female’s toys) are subconsciously exposing young women into what society expects them to be – girly, dependent, submissive, and pretty home-makers. Since we leave our mother’s wombs, we are exposed to gender roles. The toys we play with inevitably shape the people who play with. Boys with manly toys with hang around other boys; girls with dresses and pink dolls will mostly be around other girls with dresses and pink dolls. We – as a society – are leaving no room for the purpose of individuality. As soon as you step into a toy store you see section after section filled with guns, superhero costumes, & race cars for boys and pink dresses & kitchen sets for girls. Notice the lack of diversity? & the pinkness. If we have any hope for progression, we must leave more room for our youth to make individual decisions rather than pressuring (or subconsciously molding) them to do what is expected of them to do (societal expectations for gender roles is harmful to individuals and society as a whole).

    Comment by Michael A — October 13, 2013 @ 1:33 am

  222. Compared to the toys of the 80s it does not surprise me that toys now are different after they were redesigned since times change, but because of those changing times we see that the normative ideals of society of being pretty and attractive are implemented into these toys. Like Barbie dolls, the new Polly Pocket has to compete with the usual fashionista and sexualized Barbie. In regards to Rainbow Bright, the new design of the dolls are dressed with shorter skirts and have longer legs. For My Little Pony I noticed that the previous advertisement included various range of colors and even showed a boy and villains but the new ad looks as if it is onl targeted for girls due to its pastel colors and girly attributes. I think these toys are placing too much emphasis on physical appearance that is not necessary for children this early on. The girls in the toys are made look older with developed bodies when in fact children in second and fifth grade should not be focusing on.

    Comment by Julissa C — November 11, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  223. Children are now pushed by advertisers and corporations to grow up incredibly fast. They don’t allow children to enjoy being a kid and do things like play outside without having to worry about their looks. Growing up as a child I had no interest on how I looked or how skinny or fat I was or especially on how fat or skinny my toys were! Things have completely changed over just a couple of years. Children are socialized at such a young age to look and act a certain way. They encourage young girls to worry about their looks and what people think of them. They are being taught at a young age that to get attention or to be someone in todays society they have to look a certain way. Toy manufacturers are showing young girls that they have to use their sexuality in todays society. When realizing this it comes to no surprise the rising percentage of young adolescents that suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia all because of corporations like these that are shoving ideas like being skinny and pretty down the throat of young girls at such an early age.

    Comment by Maritza R — November 12, 2013 @ 10:53 am

  224. Children are now pushed by advertisers and corporations to grow up incredibly fast. They don’t allow children to enjoy being a kid and do things like play outside without having to worry about their looks. Growing up as a child I had no interest on how I looked or how skinny or fat I was or especially on how fat or skinny my toys were! Things have completely changed over just a couple of years. Children are socialized at such a young age to look and act a certain way. They encourage young girls to worry about their looks and what people think of them. They are being taught at a young age that to get attention or to be someone in todays society they have to look a certain way. Toy manufacturers are showing young girls that they have to use their sexuality in todays society. When realizing this it comes to no surprise the rising percentage of young adolescents that suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder all because of corporations like these that are shoving ideas like being skinny and pretty down the throat of young girls at such an early age.

    Comment by Maritza R — November 12, 2013 @ 10:56 am

  225. Children’s toys that are targeted towards girls are becoming extremely sexualized. This is of course because society wants girls to become sexualized at even younger ages than before. The numbers of eating disorders are rising in the United States and its no wonder why when young girls are being exposed to images of cartoons that are unrealistically stick thin. Teenage girls and young women have always been the targets of magazines and television that shows women as thin and sexual. But now with toys like this, girls of even younger ages are being exposed and socialized to behavior like this.

    Comment by Christine E — November 20, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

  226. It is a bit sad that toys that are meant for children who are nothing but innocent are being molded to showcase forms of adulthood to these children. As someone who has played the parent role for my niece, I wish she were not exposed to such things. It is simple for her, like many other girls to start to create images in their heads on how girls should dress and look. Long lashes, flat stomachs, toned legs, etc. are not things that I want any child to think depict the perfect girl. These toys fail to depict what really matters;thus, give young girls the wrong message. Gender socialization is being seen in ways never imagined and is even depriving children to a childhood

    Comment by Bonnie O. — November 25, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

  227. Looking at the before and after images of the toys, it kind of represents the change in values of our society throughout the decades. The cartoons are slimmer, more attractive, wearing makeup and revealing clothes. It sends a strong message to children to value a slim figure. This can lead to health issues such as eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorder. Girls have insecurities about their appearance at such a young age based on what toys they have. Its sad that children idolize these toy rather than actually real life heroes.

    Comment by ChristinaB — November 26, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  228. After reading your post, I got curious how this society has changed this much this quick. Children toys, especially which are targeted girls, are very sexualized. There are more girls who get anerexia. Women are socialized to get thinner and thinner and have bodies like models in magazine. Consumers do not acknowledge that the magazine advertisements are photoshopped to unrealistically what this society describe as “sexy”. These children’s toys are producing more gender socialization and putting women to patriarchy in early age by themselves. These kinds of toys lowr the children’s self-esteem. Current society makes women prefer to get loved, more than loving themselves or others.

    Comment by Jieun K — November 26, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

  229. Every day that goes by, this sick obsession with beauty is affecting more and more people, EVEN CHILDREN, and I believe it is because of these dolls that they play with and compare themselves to. I do not think children should be having society’s opinion of beauty on their mind at such a young age. They should be worrying about learning, educating themselves, playing with their friends outside, and if they want to watch cartoons I think the parents should make sure it will be to their child’s benefit, affecting them in a good way. The fact that our society has come to this, where they have to change the dolls to make them skinnier and pretty is not okay. How is a child going to know this really matters? Why do they need to make these dolls prettier and skinner? It is only going to affect these children in a bad way, and I think it is up to the parents to make sure this does not happen.

    Comment by Nicole R. — November 29, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

  230. This is quite scary. To see how these little dolls from birth are socializing us is insane. Like it was mentioned, these ‘improvements’ to the dolls were only of recent. It shows how our society is really on the decline, and how it portrays a women is only useful for her looks. These dolls should actually be fatter, and uglier in order to prove a point that being that idea of ‘perfection’ isn’t in one’s looks. We have to find another way to achieve greatness in our society. In a total sense, these toys generate depression to girls in their adolescent ages.

    Comment by Ilan G — December 1, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  231. It’s sad that I’m not shocked one bit about the changes that popular 80’s cartoon toys went through. But it’s disturbing to the extent companies’ reinvented perfectly fine characters. Why sexualize toys? It’s extremely disturbing that these manufactures are socializing children to become something they shouldn’t be. Children are easily influenced and they know that, but that shouldn’t bring about for companies to teach young girls to be sexy. Girls shouldn’t be worried about wanting too as cute as Care Bear Pocket Polly. Toy companies are producing what consumers want to buy and if sex sells for an older audience it should sell for a younger audience. The sexualized transformation of iconic character toys will lead girls to have an obsession with diet, hair and makeup, which in long run will have influenced young girls to become traumatized about what they’re expected to be. Socialization is everywhere, but toys, especially iconic toys will get purchased for children, and definitely socialize girls to either do domestic work or be a pretty girl who buys clothes. The concept of letting children have dreams and not worry about body image at such a young age has completely gone out the window and needs to be changed.

    Comment by Benjamin C. — December 2, 2013 @ 1:24 am

  232. More often I feel the pressure to have a baby now because I am not getting any younger. Like Jennifer Siebel Newsom (Miss Representation Documentary) I want my baby to be “ emotionally healthy and fulfilled.” I think that it is not enough to be parents with progressive views, it is also important to try to make a change so your child will have that opportunity of choice. Being somewhere in the beginning of the road of self-assurance, learning and getting financial stability as well as becoming a part of this new to me culture, the thought of having a baby now scares me. It scares me because I do not know how to fight those stereotypes and expectations that society created for us. Even my recent study research in Toys r us Store showed how toys play an important role in a child’s development. How toys shape his/her understanding of the world. Unfortunately toy choice today does not offer many choices of development other than sexual. As non-native citizen I rarely saw any American cartoons and often found myself unfamiliar with characters while reading the article. The latter offers a nice analysis of toys and cartoon characters “recent makeovers”, as well as providing a visual picture of before and now. Today’s toys idea has its emphasis on sexuality. And everyone seems to be ok with our children learning about sexuality at early age. Skinny bodies, heavy make up, model-style hair, mini skirts, mini tops, mini dresses and platform heels these are the characteristics girls see in toys that had “recent makeovers” like Rainbow Bright, Strawberry Shortcake, and try to copy and be like them. Toys like that represent the idea of sex and beauty and this idea is made to distract or take attention away from important things. No matter of when it happens, I know I will feel ready and do my best in raising my child in a healthy and progressive environment.

    Comment by Olga M — December 2, 2013 @ 3:26 am

  233. I am very glad that I came upon this article because I have been able to see this change as our culture progresses. It is unbelievable how much of an affect our media has had on these products and their fictional characters. Our society’s standards of beauty has been changing ever since the 80′s. This has not only affected the toys, but women in real life as well. Women today are more vulnerable to show skin than they were back then. I have seen this happen in my high school where the freshman girls would come to school with shorts that were shorter than arms length. Our school took this so seriously that they began to hand out suspensions to students who violated the dress code. I just hope that the young women in the future won’t take this to such extreme lengths that coming to school with underwear would be considered normal in the upcoming years. One could only imagine how much crazier our society can get over the next few years.

    Comment by Leor M — December 3, 2013 @ 12:02 am

  234. Toy manufacturers sexualizing toys for children are going to hurt the new generation badly. By giving children (mainly girls) these “sexy” toys they are subconsciously embedding that they need to be like these toys. These toys are too skinny and for 99% of females unattainable because of genetics. Little girls playing with these toys are going to think that they need to be skinny, wear a lot of makeup, and be sexual to be accepted. I found out my cousin was sexually active at such a young age, and now I understand why. When I was his age I would have never even though of touching a girl. These toys will cause self-esteem issues and I think it is unfair because the companies won’t let these children continue to be innocent, and instead corrupt them. This marketing scheme really needs to stop.

    Comment by Jason P — December 3, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  235. 8) Toys today such as Barbie and Bratz dolls are being sexified and the sad part is that people do not notice because we are being exposed to it so much on the daily. The changes being made to these toys only gives a better explanation of what society expects of us. These toys that these young girls are unfortunately playing with are just making it seem normal to them. Kids at a young age are very naive and do not understand the message that is being sent to them so they grow up thinking that dressing and behaving the way marketing companies want them to be is okay. These transformations and sexualiazation of toys, not only challenges children but is what leads them to growing up being insecure about themselves. These young girls and boys grow up dreaming to look like their favorite toy only to find out that there is no such thing as perfection and what they were raised with was a false deception of beauty.

    Comment by Daniella S. — December 3, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  236. This article truly opened my eyes to seeing how these toy companies are sexualizing toys and to see how different the toys I played with when I was younger are today. I am shocked at how times have changed. The change that is brought upon by our culture is being influenced through more and more outlets as time goes on, whether it is movies, toys, magazines, etc. The impression given off popular toys to young girls is that girls must look like that. When I was younger, I would die to look like my Barbie. I would love to be tall, skinny, and have flawless facial attributes, but realistically that is not going to happen. I recently saw a picture of a Barbie and next to it was how Barbie would look with realistic measurements and that second Barbie, had the same kind of body type that I do. The toys that are brought in to toy stores are so sexualized that it starts to give children the pressure to look a certain way at such a young age. I think the last thing that an 8 year old should worry about is their body. These are unrealistic ideas presented for young children and shouldn’t be geared towards them.

    Comment by Ashley B. — December 3, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

  237. I think the most insane change was the transition of Strawberry Shortcake. That character went from being a cute and playful image to a vulnerable-looking innocent girl who looks like she is just waiting for you. This is kind of scary because I have a few younger cousins that are girls around the age where they buy all these toys. I don’t think their parents know anything about these toys that they are blindly purchasing for them. I have already noticed how much my cousins are obsessed with their physical appearances and clothes and I never really thought about the fact that it is NOT normal for them to be thinking about that stuff at this age. I am afraid that when they get older and into their teens, they will either be the ones that are judged by others or they will even be the ones judging others based on their appearances. I will make sure to mention to my aunt’s and uncles that they have to closely observe everything they buy for their kids.

    Comment by Nathan P. — December 3, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  238. In modern day society, I feel as if almost everything that you can walk into a store and buy is being sexualized. From clothes to beauty and grooming products, the new reformed and “sexy” advertising seems to be at an all-time high. However, when toys and children products come along, I definitely feel as if there is a fork in the road. I feel as if every generation is becoming more and more rude and inappropriate, and this is not the kids fault, it is their corrupted exposure to the media. These “sexy” toys are embodying an image in the new-generation’s minds of what to look like and how to act.

    Comment by Michael S. — December 4, 2013 @ 2:56 am

  239. Even toys have been the victim of society’s vision of physical perfection. It’s interesting that child’s toys have transformed with the rest of society into these symbolic forms to begin the socialization of young children. When I was a kid during the nineties, I remember witnessing the transformation of toys slowly take its form. They were once innocent play things and have now become sexually infused socialization tools. Children should be able to play with toys without being subconsciously socialized. It seems as though innocence has become absent from everyday life. There isn’t a day that goes by without a sexual image or message being displayed. We have no value system anymore. I get it, people should have the freedom of individuality but it must be limited. We have very little standards and it seems to be getting worse.

    Comment by Zachary L — December 4, 2013 @ 9:16 am

  240. Over the past few decades, the extent of manipulations to both children’s toys and clothing has increased for the purpose of maintaining our societies cultural values. Young girls are taught that they have to be thin and attractive. They learn that they have to wear make-up to look good for men. The overuse of mini-skirts and high heels in toys and television shows for young children causes girls to believe that it is normal for them to wear these things. I believe that children are too young and innocent to be victimized by this brainwashing.

    Comment by Gabriel P — December 4, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  241. This article was an eye opener for me. I as well grew up in the 80’s and played with all of these same toys. Not having children yet, I’m not very current on the latest incarnations, which is why I was so shocked. I understand an “update”, with colors or clothing styles to fit in with the times, but this is going a bit far. There was nothing wrong to start with these female characters like Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Bright, or Polly Pocket. Again, I understand a color or wardrobe update, but making them skinnier? Then adding makeup, longer hair, or a shorter skirt?! It’s insane. For crying out loud, they managed to oversexualize a pony! The sad part is, people are buying it. They wouldn’t be making it this way if they weren’t selling. So, does that mean moms are more drawn to toys with more attractive female characters? Do they not realize what they encouraging? I’m sure many moms don’t notice or there becomes a point when you feel bad telling your child they can’t have a certain toy that all their classmates have; either way something needs to change.

    Comment by Kari B. — April 2, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

  242. I don’t believe that parents have necessarily chosen for their daughters to play with dolls and other toys portrayed in the images on this page. I believe that if anything, girls have become attached to beauty and good looks, and choose what toys they will play with for themselves. For a girl who wakes up every day, you know you have to comb your hair, clean your face, improve your look, and wear trendy clothes before going out. The Polly Pocket’s wardrobe closely relates to a girl’s reality. Moreover, it seems to me that the toys look more “sexy” and stylish in order to appeal to the buyers, or girls, if anything. And if it has attempts to have any effect on girls it is to care for their looks and be familiar with the style of the present. Additional tools and accessories that come with the doll figures are there for the better enjoyment of the girls. If somehow, the made-up, manicured, trendy dressing, model like figures have effected toddlers for the worst (attitude and behavior-wise), than there is always parents to realize this (often) and care, sway their children away from playing with such toys.

    I do not see in what ways should toys be changed in order to better accomodate gender roles. Should dolls, Care Bears, and Rainbow Bright be designed as fat, simple, or having muscles? I can only imagine how weird this world would get.

    Comment by Tamir M. — April 8, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

  243. As long as parents and toy manufacturers are not shoving the toys and dolls portrayed in the images on this page in the girls’ faces and telling them that they have no other choice but to choose to play with these, it is my belief that girls have become attached to beauty and good looks, and choose what toys they will play with for themselves. For a girl who wakes up every day, she knows she has to comb her hair, clean her face, improve her look, and wear trendy clothes before she goes out into the world. She may be disciplined a little at first about setting a good impression, but she will ultimately learn that on her own as well from daily life.
    The Polly Pocket’s wardrobe closely relates to a girl’s reality. It is very analogous to what a girl has to do herself and how she has to care for herself in order to set a good impression next to others.
    Then there is the fact that some dolls may have “inappropriate short” adult-like dress-ware. Does that necessarily mean that girls being exposed to such dolls will grow up to become strippers or something degrading? I think not. I believe that most extremely, girls may form an admiration for clothes that may reveal kneecaps and belly buttons, and that’s not necessarily negative. Keep in mind, that these girls may most likely have gone to the store most times and chosen whatever they like on their own unless they had shitty parents or got it as a gift.
    In addition, it seems to me more like the toys look more “sexy” and stylish in order to simply appeal to the buyers, or girls, if anything. And if it has attempts to have any effect on girls it is to care for their looks and be familiar with the style of the present. Additional tools and accessories that come with the doll figures are there for the better enjoyment of the girls. If somehow, the made-up, manicured, trendy dressing, model like figures have effected toddlers for the worst (attitude and behavior-wise), than there is always parents to realize this (often) and care, sway their children away from playing with such toys.
    And why does is these always thought to be associated with negative outcomes so much. If these dolls/toys have any affect on the child, I believe those affects have as much potential to turn out to be positive as they have to turn out to be negative. In my opinion, girls may have the potential in caring about their health and looks after playing with these toys/dolls, which is a good and important thing.

    I do not see in what ways should toys be changed in order to better accommodate gender roles. Should dolls, Care Bears, and Rainbow Bright should deviate from looking thin, gentle, “sexy”, and stylish by being designed as fat, simple, or having muscles? I can only imagine how weird this world would get if that should be so.

    Comment by Tamir Mizrahi — April 9, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

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