13 Ways Mattel Can Screw Up a Doll Line

18 Sep

I have been a fan of Mattel products since I was a little girl. At the age of six, I enjoyed endless hours of “Barbie Time” on Saturday mornings when I didn’t have to go to school.  I have been a supporter of them for YEARS. Even as an adult, I still collect their products.

I have been a collector of the Barbie doll, Generation Girl Barbie, Diva Starz, Polly Pocket, What’s Her Face, Flavas, Myscene, American Girl/Girls of Many Lands, Monster High, and now Ever After High. I’ve always been swept up in Mattel’s products immediately. They always have captivating ideas to work with when they first release a doll line.

But while I am a fan of Mattel’s doll lines, I have slowly but surely become to be frustrated with the ACTUAL company. I am not a fan of Mattel. I love their ideas, but I hate their maintenance practices. I collect many other dolls, like Liv, Ever Girl, Lisa Frank, Magic Attic Club, Global Friends, etc. Though many of those dolls weren’t as commercially successful as Mattel’s dolls, their companies have been much more decent. Sure, many of their doll lines didn’t last, but many times they never came back making the same mistakes over and over…

I also collect Bratz. Bratz have something that the other doll lines don’t have. Not only has Bratz been a really cool idea, but MGA is a top-notch company that LISTENS to it’s fans and always seems to remember what makes their product as popular as it is. They are open to new ideas FROM FANS and they implement change without destroying the beauty of what they create.

I can’t say the same thing about Mattel. Despite the many cool ideas they come up with, in the long run, Mattel follows one similar pattern that ends up destroying many of the beautiful lines they make.

On a positive note, unlike other companies who fail and give up, I admire the fact that Mattel doesn’t give up after they fail. They may lose one doll line, sure, but they always come up with new lines, and just try it all over again. And I always get sucked up one more time.

But then, the results always turn out the same. Why? Well, while Mattel is always making superficial changes and inventing new ideas, they never really change the CORE issues before they move on to new lines. The core issues may never be present from the beginning, but oh boy, I always start to hear the same complaints from fans later down the line. Many of these fans are not usually familiar with Mattel’s tactics and don’t often recognize why things are going so sour. But people who have been fans of all of their doll lines always know what to expect from this company.

It’s even more evident when Mattel’s sales have dropped. They have these “fail-safe” tactics that they feel will get them quick money, even if the ideas end up destroying the line in the long run. I call this moment the “Panic Strategy”. They come in 14 different forms.

To me, they are 14 ways Mattel Can Screw up a perfect doll line.

1) Attack of the Pink

This is one of Mattel’s iconic “Panic Strategies”. Since their success of “pink” Barbie, they have deduced from Barbie’s “pink” success that girls must love pink an awful lot. It must be true for Mattel because all of their most successful dolls wear an awful lot of pink. The problem is that Mattel may see the success of ONE doll and apply that same color to the WHOLE LINE.

I’m not going to say that every doll who wears pink will sell, and this is where this strategy fails every time.

There is only so much pink a company can do before it gets redundant and sickening. Pastel Pink is a very frilly color that is hard to keep clean, so even though girls like it, it always ends up in the trash bin. The over-emphasized pink stamps out individuality and variety. It also sends out the message that everything “girl” should be one pretty color that identifies a gender, though we all know that “pink” began as a boy’s color…

I’m going to show you how often this happens using five examples: Diva Starz, Myscene, Monster High, American Girl,and the Barbie doll herself.

The Diva Starz line began as one of the first “diverse” lines that Mattel ever came out with. At the time when Diva Starz arrived on the scene, many companies wanted to make dolls that celebrated diversity instead of dolls that celebrated “white supremacy”. Mattel, unfortunately, had the reputation of highlighting blonde white dolls over ethnically diverse dolls. Diva Stars was their original plan to rid itself of that reputation. They were inspired from the Spice Girls, a very diverse pop music group.

Diva Starz began with each girl wearing their own unique color. The only girl who wore a whole lot of pink was Alexa. The other girls wore their own signature colors. Mattel usually starts off this way.

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Unfortunately, I suppose, the signature color thing “limits” the company’s creativity, so this ends up changing in the end all the time…

And what color did it change to? Well, the moment the Diva Starz’s sells started plummeting, what did they release? Another doll in pink! In fact, they translated pink to all their characters, no longer displaying the same diversity they began with! Instead of succeeding, however, it just made sales plummet faster until Diva Starz was a thing of the past. I am so happy that Diva Starz didn’t continue with Mattel because the pink would never end! I enjoy finding even more diverse clothes for them.

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Myscene was another doll line that followed Diva Starz in it’s tracks. Myscene began as a competitor to the popular Bratz dolls in 2002. Again, Mattel was still trying to remove their reputation of being a “white supremacy” doll company by creating another diverse line of dolls. This time, however, many little girls had stopped playing with dolls much sooner than generations before. Many little girls were more interested in pop singers. Barbie was getting too “babyish” with all of the pink. The Bratz related to modern girls. So, Mattel came with it’s “mature” doll line, Myscene. Myscene were prettier versions of the Bratz and more stylish versions of Barbie. They were very multi-faceted and not stereotypical at all. They had their own diverse personalities and interests. Their fashion styles had many urban details. They were meant to portray New York styles, which they did quite well. Even though they were still Barbies and Barbie was still the lead character, they almost didn’t feel or look like Barbies. Barbie didn’t wear pink. She wore many various colors, most of which were not pink.

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But then the lawsuits came from MGA. This put a damper on the doll line. Mattel was losing money from these court cases and sales began to plummet. What was Mattel’s solution? To replace Barbie with Kennedy. Now, they thought this was a good idea. Their logic was that Myscene was still too “connected with Barbie”, which they thought was the reason behind Myscene’s plummeting sales, so they decided to get rid of the lead character, Barbie. And who did they replace Barbie with? Someone who had a different name, but was MORE BARBIE-like than the original Barbie! Kennedy wore a heavy dosage of pink! Next thing we know, the Myscene line is re-vamped to include this heavy dosage of pink, destroying the mature and urban feeling of this line. They really missed the point entirely.

I know, she looks like Barbie

I know, she looks like Barbie

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Monster High is another good example. Monster High began as a freaky cool line. It took off unexpectedly a few years back. It began as a diverse ghoul line. What made this line so unique was that no one was human. This line didn’t have the same “cultural” problems the other lines had. No one was Caucasian, African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or anything else. This line avoided the same cultural pitfalls many doll lines have. Each doll had their own signature colors. And the best part? The lead character, Frankie, did not wear PINK! It appealed to “darker” people, those attracted to “darker” themes. It was fitting for Halloween. Halloween colors don’t tend to be pink…

Frankie USED to be the main character. Now it appears the pink-fluff vampire character, Draculaura, is the main character. I mean, she was the lead in almost every movie. Frankie almost seems like an obsolete member. After the popularity of Draculaura, because suddenly everyone is obsessed with vampires, PINK became the new “it” color. And it seemed like every character that came after sported more and more pink.

Fairy-tale dolls, particularly Disney’s dolls, are heavily cutting into the Monster High market. With that, Mattel has once again used it’s tactic of Attack of the Pink.

While GiGi Grant’s sister looked more original and cool, she never got a doll. But here comes Miss Pink GiGi with her boring and unoriginal doll.

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Not that Monster High doesn’t have enough Were-Cats, but one of their additions to the line also sports pink.

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They even thought they could get away with making a serpent’s hair PINK! What snake in the world is pink?

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They have so many dolls sporting pink more than any other color, this line is hardly feeling like a “dark” and “edgy” ghoul line anymore. But what really makes the whole thing obvious is the complete change they made to characters that were never originally “pink”. One character: Howleen

Howleen’s original hair color was orange. She was meant to be original and spunky-not like the other girls. She had the edge that made her stand out. But no. They had to go and turn her into a less original character by changing her hair PINK! They took the original detail, the thing that made this doll stand out, and threw it away.

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It’s a bit sad. I really thought Monster High would be the line that would break the pink mold. I guess not, since apparently that’s all girls seem to like nowadays, according to Mattel’s demographic research.

American Girl has even jumped on the trend. American Girl is supposed to be a doll line focusing on bringing timeless stories about girls from the past to the future and relating it to girls of today. These stories are better highlighted with matching dolls. The doll line used to be filled with authentic and period-accurate clothing that could impress even the most skeptical historians, such as myself. It came in various colors and fabrics. It expressed the diversity of the characters, as well as educated children about fashion from the past. American Girl also consists of contemporary dolls that represent the girls of today. They also came with an array of clothing and accessories. Girl of the Year was once just as diverse as the historical line.

But suddenly, just recently, American Girl decided to dye everything in pink. From their most recent Girl of the Year, whose wardrobes are drenched in pink, to over half of their historical dolls, Pink seems to be the signature American Girl color. Even the packaging has been changed from red to PINK. Instead of hitting off the ground, it’s really hurting American Girl. There are so many colors in the rainbow. Many items in the past may have never been pink. And today, we have so many various colors in our stores! So why constantly shoot for pink? They even stuck Kit, a character who supposedly hates pink according to her story, in pink! Girl of the Year 2014 is model pink!

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Mattel will do anything to insert it’s pink paradise. Apparently, they think pink is the only way to make some money. While it may work at first, too much of this kills doll lines. Not everyone relates to the color pink, and no one wants to see everyone wear pink. When they all look alike, no characters stand out.

Finally, I want to talk about Barbie. Many of you probably didn’t know this, but Barbie wasn’t always a pink princess.

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Even Barbie had her moments where she suffered in the past. This is the reason Matt and El sold the company in the first place. Still, even after Barbie was sold, everything about her wasn’t pink. I had a Teacher Barbie that wore black.

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Bu the “new” Mattel had this “idea” that pink would sell better. Suddenly, Barbie was transformed out of nowhere into this pink icon. Now, all she wears is pink! And we hardly see any “teacher” Barbies anymore. She’s become this shallow pink princess with no career goals…

I think the Barbie doll has now become the reason many people hate pink.

2) Attack of the Blondes

Mattel is very famous for it’s worship of blondies. In fact, many of Mattel’s leading girls are blonde. From Diva Starz, to Myscene, to Polly Pocket, blondes make up Mattel’s universe. I will admit, blondes can be ticket-selling points. But of course, many times the reason the blonde characters sell so much is because of, not only hair, BUT what’s she’s usually wearing, which is something that is usually prettier than all the other dolls.

American Girl Kirsten didn’t sell as much as Samantha, even though she was blonde. Perhaps that’s just it. Mattel usually puts their blondes in all of the pretty girlish outfits and puts their other characters in drab fashions. They usually give their blonde characters unique hairstyles and all of their brunette characters the “normal” looks. Kirsten was the first blonde doll that didn’t look like that…Then again, she wasn’t originally designed by Mattel.

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Draculaura isn’t blonde and she sells well…so possibly, it’s not the blonde that does it. It’s the wardrobe you put with the doll. Mattel doesn’t always see it that way when tackling it’s “human”dolls.

In Mattel’s universe, blonde hair represents leadership, attention-seeking, fashion, fun, and beauty. The blonde characters always get the attractive qualities. These qualities are never awarded to the African American, Hispanic, or Asian characters. Sister was Mattel’s attempt at “segregating” the black dolls from the white dolls so that blonde Barbie won’t outshine “black” Barbie. They have put a stamp on their dolls because of this. We often find Mattel to have a hidden white superiority complex that is so deeply hidden it is difficult to prove.

Many times, Mattel tries to add some diversity, but in the end blondes always rule all. When all fails, we see the truest thoughts behind this company. When Mattel is struggling, you know what they usually pull out of their closet? Not a doll everyone has been asking for. No. They pull out a blonde. Usually, at this pivotal moment, when they pull out the blonde, they already have one successful blonde doll that’s not enough to fill the sale gaps, but is still selling better than the other dolls. So when they add the “new” blonde, they now have an over-abundance of blonde characters and a lack of one or more other ethnic groups/bruns/red heads.

I will share some examples…

American Girl used to be a doll line with many diverse characters. At one time, the historical line’s only blonde character was Kirsten. Then Kit came into the picture. Everything was in balance. But then came that moment where American Girl’s sales fell. Caroline was released.

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Girl of the Year has never had an African American character. Many hoped 2014 would be the year. And what did they give us? A blonde character.

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This is the exact same problem in Diva Starz. When Diva Starz’s sales were struggling, Mattel got rid of it’s sweet red-head, and replaced her with, you guessed it, another BLONDE character. Diva Starz then had TWO blonde characters, and two brunette characters, but no red-heads.

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It was the same with Myscene. When Myscene was on the brink of collapse, who did they release to replace Barbie? Another blonde!

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Ever After High has a really cool brunette character. But NOOO! She couldn’t be Snow White’s daughter (although Snow White has always been depicted as having dark hair). The “blonde” character has to get the shine as a “royal” character, as if all blondes are bubbly, shallow, and “royal”. In fact, why did they have to see Raven as a lead only if she shares the lead WITH the blonde? For once, couldn’t the blonde character have been in a supporting role? Like in Winx?

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One of the ideas that could solve this problem would be to do what they did to Draculaura and Samantha: Put the brunette and red-haired characters in more appealing fashions with more attractive personalities. Is that so difficult?

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3) Our Main Character is a Loser, so They’re FIRED

Mattel usually always tries to create a main character with the most attractive qualities and fashion. Usually, their main characters are blonde and/or wear an awful lot of pink. But this doesn’t necessarily make their main characters safe. If Mattel senses that their main characters are not doing a good job, they always seem to think the best idea is to “replace” them or kick them in a corner with very little attention. This usually works AGAINST them. A main character is usually the character the drives the whole line and/or story. Without those key characters, we are missing something, even if they aren’t popular.

Mattel’s strategy, however, is to often get rid of their “loser” main characters and let the popular character take over. Sometimes, a character never even gets a chance. Marie-Grace and Cecile are an example. They’ve only been out two years, and yet were retired, while many of the American Girl characters have been around for seven years or more! They never even got a chance! They were clumped together with the other “Best Friend” dolls,  when they had their own time, era, and complete line! Now, we no longer have dolls from NOLA that cover the Yellow Fever epidemic.

And Mattel is never fair about screen time or promotion. They jacked Josefina so horribly, I’m starting to think she’s falling into the “loser” category.

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Mattel is a company that seems to expect immediate results. If they don’t get it, it appears they get rid of characters and over-do the characters that have the potential for popularity.

This happened in Monster High. Draculaura has taken over every line, and the lead character and many other ghouls have been cast aside. Many of the other characters get ignored, even the actual MAIN character! Since when has Frankie been the main character in a movie? Lagoona and Spectra haven’t been in a line in a LOOOONG time.

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This really happened with the Barbie doll. Mattel has tried to make other diverse Barbies as main characters (like Sister), but it’s always clear that they want Barbie to lead. She is always the first doll to be introduced. She always has the most attractive outfits on. Come on. The other dolls didn’t stand a chance. Barbie’s popularity continues to grow, while all of the others fall behind.

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Do I have to re-iterate the fact that they replaced their cutting-edge Barbie in Myscene for the pink-princess doll Kennedy? It basically changed everything. Barbie was Madison’s best friend and River’s girlfriend. Did they really think they could just stick in Kennedy and everything would be okay? Fans hit the roof.

The problem with Mattel is they keep regurgitating dolls so often, they forget how many dolls they have. They end up ignoring the dolls they already have.

4) Attack of the Tacky

When Mattel is in “Panic mode”, they are usually at a point where they have run out of fashion ideas. Towards the end of a doll line, or when they are low on sales, Mattel gets really, REALLY tacky. They start just coming up with any random design ideas that can range between original and weird.

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What really makes it bad is that they start tacking on a heavy load of pastels, which often makes the outfits less refined.

I can honestly say that there was a huge difference between Myscene in the beginning and how they started looking when things got rough…

American Girl has also gotten tackier lately. American Girl used to have high-quality and valuable outfits, many that could be found on very few dolls in the world. But ever since their Beforever launch, an attempt to appeal more to this new generation, it seems that they have slapped fabrics together. Kit’s new birthday outfit is shameful enough, but they had to go and throw a girl from 1904 in some go-go boots!

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Even Monster High’s original outfits were much more stylish than many of the outfits now. Freaky Fusion is…a blend of awkward monsters thrown together, and it shows. Flavas was the epitome of tacky, but their last remaining outfits were the tackiest ever. And yes, Flavas was also Mattel’s attempt to make quick money at a time when Bratz was taken over the doll market. See how tacky Mattel gets when they are desperate? They translate all of this into style.

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5) Book Contradictions? Who Cares If the Books Don’t Add Up

American Girl, Monster High, and Generation Girl all had books to accompany their doll lines. I understand that, many times, the books are written by authors that have nothing to do with Mattel. But they are meant to be for Mattel’s products. Often times, I question whether Mattel really reads their own literature.

Often times, Mattel will release books, and then later release merch or promotion that contradicts it. Shouldn’t they at least read it over before releasing it? It might say something foul and they wouldn’t even know it! One thing is for certain, they do not live up to their stories-at all. This is really evident when they are low on money…Let me explain.

For instance, in the Monster High book series, Spectra and Invisi Billy were said to have been dating. But in the webisodes, here they come with Invisi Billy and Scarah! Say what now? After so many fans were drawn to the first couple, they pulled a switcheru on everybody. It’s almost as if Mattel didn’t care, as long as it could be a good selling point for the doll. They are often too focused on their actual products to notice such inconsistencies…But it’s sort of annoying. Don’t make books if you can’t keep up with them, jeez. As Spectra’s doll popularity decreased, and Scarah’s doll popularity increased, Spectra was simply the love interest that was replaced in the webisodes…Without any nod to the books…And thus, causing a fan war.

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Generation Girl dolls had a similar issue. Barbie Roberts was said to have come from Malibu, California in the books, Nichelle was from New York City, New York,  Tori was from Melbourne, Australia, and Ana was supposedly from Spanish Harlem, New York, right? But if you buy the boxes of these dolls, they all say completely different cities! Barbie is said to be from Los Angeles, Nichelle is from Harlem, Tori is from Sydney, and Ana is from Mexico City, Mexico! I know many of these cities are all in the same country, but it takes a bolt load of ignorance to think they are the same cities. It wouldn’t have been a problem had there not been confusion with accessories (especially food items meant to represent a particular city), or if the magazine articles the dolls came with didn’t emphasis a completely different place…Considering the books came out the exact time the dolls came out, that was a little awkward.

Generation Girl wiki <—Click Here

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Finally, I just want to use American Girl’s Kit. The girl is a tomboy and HATES the color pink. She HATES flounces. If you have read Meet Kit. So what does Mattel go and do? Stick her in a pink, flouncy dress for Easter. I understand that a Depression-era girl wouldn’t decide these things. But she has other clothes. Couldn’t they have highlighted the dresses Kit actually liked?  Just as they did with Felicity’s Dancing Lesson gown? Or with the red dress Ruthie got for Kit at Christmas? I think that’s pretty careless to create clothes that will bring discomfort to a character in the canon story…unless of course you’re like Mattel and DON’T CARE. They could’ve highlighted actual practical clothing an actual Depression-era girl would’ve worn?

They honestly release those books for extra revenue…but really, they should skip out on literature…

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You know what made it really obvious they don’t read their own literature? Conan O’Brian, host of the Conan O’Brian Show, visited American Girl Place in Los Angeles. He was talking to one of the employees there about Kit. Conan asked about her story. You know what story the employee told him about? The story from the Kit Kittredge: An American Girl movie. It became evident that he never read the books. He stated, “In Kit’s story, her father goes away to Chicago to find work.” That never happened in the CORE series! FACEPALM TIME! Any fan knows that the Kit movie was NOTHING like the book series. In fact, Kit’s movie deviated the most from the main plot out of ALL of the movies! If fans know this, how much more-so should an employee? It was a shame to watch. I can’t even take that worker seriously as an employee. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. This man has been working for American Girl all this time and doesn’t know the actual story behind Kit?

The plot is deviated the most when Mattel is losing money and fresh out of ideas. They have to swerve around the character traits to pull something new out of their hats.

6) Retirement and Poor Replacements

This is a little different from #3. #3 wasn’t necessarily about retired dolls, just dolls that have been out-shined by other dolls. This point is literally about retirement. Mattel is ever infamous for it’s MAJOR retirements when things get a little rough. Many times, Mattel is about retiring an “unpopular” or “unsuccessful character” and replacing that character with someone “better”. But many times, Mattel goes through this period where they retire extremely popular characters and no one can usually understand why. Most assume it’s for the sake of making room and replacements.

I don’t honestly believe they are interested in “replacing” dolls. They just keep making what sells.

Sometimes, during those desperate times, Mattel takes the worse actions.

One example would be their retirement of Summer from the Diva Starz. When they got rid of her, most fans expected a pretty reasonable replacement, like maybe a new Asian doll or something. But we got ANOTHER blonde doll IN pink! They replaced their ONLY red-head with another blonde girl.

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Another major retirement fail was of their only Latina character, Ana, in Generation Girl. Why would they do something like that? No idea. And their replacement was a quirky Asian character and ANA’s boyfriend, Blaine…What’s the point of retiring the doll and then releasing her boyfriend?

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And again, in Myscene. They retired the cutting-edge Barbie, for a pink-princess Barbie doll look-alike named “Kennedy”. Wow. So they thought since the name was changed, she would be less Barbie? But then you go and make her just like the iconic Barbie…FAILURE.

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Mattel retired it’s best-selling American Girl doll, Samantha! Why? I don’t know. They said they were making room for new characters. But it wasn’t really business savvy, though most were happy they were making room for new characters…The replacement was not enough to bring the money back…

7) Inaccuracy: Wait, the Story is a little off…

This mostly applies to their doll lines that are based off of something like Ever After High, Monster High, and American Girl. Mattel will squeeze anything to make a buck, and sometimes many things they throw together never add up. They make it really hard to be a detail-oriented person and enjoy all of Mattel’s products. Well, at least they tend to doll details…Well, at least when they first release a doll line.

Inaccuracy is usually a major sign that Mattel is struggling, and this is how they ruin doll lines in the end.

American Girl’s Beforever is steeped with inaccurate products, which is a shame. The line is meant to inspire girls of today to learn history through a collection of dolls. But many times, they squeeze some modern items in there to sell the doll. For instance, Samantha’s sporting purple “go-go” boots lately. Even the fact that she still has those bangs across her forehead proves how inaccurate the line can get…No one in 1904 wore bangs. They even managed to throw in a flower headband…

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Ever After High has been slapped with the inaccurate bill, too. While Apple White is supposed to be Snow White’s daughter, and follow the “Snow White” tradition precisely, that’s not technically possible for her. Therefore, she is a rebel without even trying. 1) Snow White has ALWAYS been described to have hair as “black as ebony” since the original German story was published by the Grimm Brothers. But we talked about how Mattel worships blondes…2) The “evil queen” was born WAY before Snow White, and supposedly MARRIED Snow White’s FATHER. So, is Raven Queen going to be Apple White’s new Step-mother? Not possible, because apparently Apple White’s parents are Snow White and her handsome prince…So, in other words, she’s still NOT a royal. She is actually, in fact, a rebel by default, as there is no possible way she can follow her “destiny”, even if Raven Queen WERE to turn out evil. The inaccuracy of the story makes it all a bit amusing, but since it’s so easy for children (and some adults) to overlook such details, you’d all be happy to know that, at least, the dolls are very detailed and beautiful. After all, the story was squeezed a bit to allow a perky blonde to take the lead, and to play on the “victim” heart strings people are pulling with today’s iconic villains.

In the end, however, I can see Ever After High’s story being a big confusing mess. Just buy the doll.

I have one more question. If Raven Queen is supposed to be the “evil queen”, why didn’t SHE inherit the magic mirror instead of Apple White? Raven Queen acts more like Snow White than Apple White…*gasp* Apple White is vain…easily jealous…controlling…acts like a queen…and owns a magic mirror…Perhaps, SHE’LL be the next evil queen! *gasp* There are still many inconsistencies. Her story seems to even deviate greatly from the original Evil Queen’s story, too.

Raven Queen was supposedly born to the Evil Queen, but didn’t the Evil Queen DIE at the end of Snow White? So, how was Raven Queen born really? And IF Raven Queen was born before the Evil Queen died, wouldn’t that mean she was born around the time Snow White was an infant? I doubt she was born around the time the Evil Queen was tracking Snow White down out of jealousy. And wouldn’t that make Raven Queen Snow White’s sister? Wouldn’t that make Raven Queen…Apple White’s aunt? In this case, Raven Queen should be older than Apple White.

Don’t think too deep. It’ll ruin everything. Just stay in ignorant bliss so you can enjoy life. Just buy the doll…That’s all Mattel cares about anyway. They will squeeze any attractive story just to sell.

The Story of Snow White<—Click

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Why was the My Scene movie called Myscene Goes Hollywood, when the whole movie takes place in New York? Deceptive…

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8) Failing Up-Grades

When Mattel is in a pinch, their first instinct is to “upgrade” their lines. Every company does an up-grade. But it seems like Mattel always comes up with the most slap-dash ideas when they are financially in trouble. Their desperation always shows.

American Girl’s Beforever is a prime example. I don’t even know where to begin. They gave their 9 year-old 1970’s doll some platform shoes, their 1904 doll some go-go boots and a headband, and modernized all of their historical fashion…

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Another example would be when Mattel decided to make the Diva Starz “taller”. I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea. It just made them awkward and hard to carry around. Instead of getting them more money, it became the end of the entire Diva Starz line.

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And remember when they made the My Scene dolls SMILE? Those dolls were the worst ideas ever.

Almost looks like a regular Barbie doesn't it? Why was this a good idea?

Almost looks like a regular Barbie doesn’t it? Why was this a good idea?

For Mattel, desperate times call for desperate up-grades.

9) Flunk the Boys

Boys are a small accessory to girls in the Mattel universe. Of course, the target for most of Mattel’s products are young females. In Mattel’s company mind, this means giving a guy some attention as a love interest until his popularity dwindles. Their next step is to retire him, like all of the other “accessories”. Possibly, they may even try to replace him. Men are thrown around in the Mattel universe and treated poorly.

The Ken doll is a great example of this. He was Barbie’s “boyfriend” since the 1960’s. He has had a fantastic line of clothing and accessories. Then, they suddenly tried to retire him in 2004, stating that he and Barbie needed to “spend some time apart”. That was a very bad idea. You know they had to bring him back. Ken never even had a Doll of the World yet! Throughout the years, he was always placed behind Barbie’s world of plastic. His retirement was an all-time low.

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It has become the same song and dance with Monster High. The boys are given one outfit a piece, with very few details or accessories, and often seem to wear the exact same outfits as one another with very few distinctions. This gives very shallow ideas to girls, and gives their competition, the Bratz, the upper hand.

Just look at Heath. He literally was only an accessory to Abbey. The boys in Mattel’s universe eventually end up in sets with the girls.

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Look at Abbey’s accessories…Wait…where are Heath’s accessories? WOW. He doesn’t really have any but a mitt, does he? -.- They are supposed to “share”.

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Heck, by the end of My Scene, the five boys had been reduced down to one: River, Barbie’s “boyfriend”…er, was it Kennedy by then? Who knows…

It’s really no wonder Mattel has a hard time relating to a male audience with their lines. Being targeted for girls is no excuse. Bratz Boyz can do it better:

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Two outfits, tons of accessories, a comb, a nice braided hairstyle, two pairs of shoes, and their OWN LINES, separate from the girls, like 1st edition Boyz…

10) We Don’t Need Red heads in Our Kingdom

Mattel’s world is blonde. It’s natural opposite is “Red Hair” in Mattel’s Kingdom. I’m not going to go as far as to say they have a personal prejudice against red-heads, as they always make dolls with Red hair. BUT when the going gets tough, it’s always a red-head that is on the chopping block.

American Girl has been around for years. Out of all of American Girl’s dolls, only ONE doll has been retired TWICE: Felicity Merriman, their Revolutionary War doll. She has a spunk personality that girls of today appreciate, but she has the hair color that Mattel deems as “hard to sell” for some reason. Though red hair never stopped the sell of Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls or Bloom from Winx, it seems to be the “sign” of poor sells for Mattel…

felicity

In Diva Starz, Summer was the only doll retired during the line’s run. The sweet red-head was then replaced with a cutting-edge blonde…Which didn’t appease anyone. Shortly after, the line as retired altogether.

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Generation Girl also retired their red-haired doll Chelsie Peterson. They claimed she “moved”. People were so mad. I mean, she was the most interesting doll in the line. Plus, she was the only doll from England. She was also a singer who came with a guitar. There were so many parts of her still left untouched.

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Myscene’s Kenzie was a disappointment. She lasted shorter than any Myscene doll ever sold. They hardly elaborated on her background. And she was a beautiful doll.

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As you can see, Mattel has a record. They have never been very nice to their red-haired girls. Many of their lines, like Flavas, didn’t have red-heads at all! Talk about a lack of diversity…

Monster High and Ever After High hardly process red-head characters…

Mattel acts like having red hair is a curse or something…When is the last time they created a red-head for their main Barbie line? I can’t remember.

11) Everybody Sings and Dances

Yea, just about any company uses the “arts” gimmick to get little girls to buy their dolls. Every doll line needs a “singing” and/or “dancing” line where the doll can get fancied up in glitter and pastels and shimmy on a stage.

For Mattel, however, this is one of their “Panic Strategies”. Mattel may already have a singer and dancer, but when they are low on funds or ideas, no worries. They will release ANOTHER singer and dancer.

For instance, Monster High already had Operetta as a singer. But that wasn’t enough. They just had to make one of their popular warecats and their new witch doll, Casta Fierce, as singers as well! Why does this line need three singers? I don’t know. Couldn’t they have other more original interests? Oh wait, this is Mattel we are talking about…

Double whamy: Pink and a Singer!

Double whamy: Pink and a Singer!

American Girl’s Girl of the Year already had a very popular modern-day dancer named Marisol. There were so many modern ideas they could cover. But no. In 2014, they released ANOTHER dancer: Isabelle. I’m still shocked they didn’t try the singer thing…I suppose it’s not as good for the movies…It was good enough for the Saige movie…Even though Saige ISN’T a singer…

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Barbie does the singing thing every new decade. She has done every occupation really. But I guarantee you, she’s done teaching much less than singing or dancing.

Polly Pocket, Flavas, I mean really. Singing and Dancing is apart of Mattel’s universe as a doll line. It’s their greatest green ticket. And especially when funds are low. So, don’t expect anything original.

12) We’ll Never Be Rebels

Mattel is capable of coming up with some pretty rebellious ideas, but Mattel likes to play it safe. While parents may approve, this doesn’t make them necessarily popular among the kids. Parents don’t play with these dolls, but the kids do. Many collectors appreciate detailed dolls. Many times, Mattel will give you good, detailed, and quality dolls for dolls that are cheap and wholesome.

Chelsie Peterson, Tori burns, and Barbie Roberts from Generation Girl used to get a lot of bashing from soccer moms. Chelsie had a nose ring and three piercings in her left ear, Tori did too, and Barbie had a tattoo on her ankle (I’m one of the lucky few to get this one). At the time, that was a “big deal”. They were details that made those dolls unique and appealing. Well, Mattel is such a suck-up, they got rid of those unique details. Now, it’s no longer a big deal. But where is Generation Girl? A thing of the past. They didn’t even realize they were creating a doll trend at the time.

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Notice her heart tattoo on her ankle...

Notice her heart tattoo on her ankle…

Monster High got a lot of stigma for releasing a “spider doll”. Instead of ignoring people by trying to make the doll more appealing, she has only appeared in one line. Spiders may look scary, but at least they are a real part of nature. Oh, but vampires and zombies are okay, huh… -.-

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American Girl has gone light on the stories behind their Girl of the Year dolls. The last deep story they ever had for modern girls was Chrissa’s story on bullying. The other stories hardly touch on subjects that affect girls. They gloss over a few issues to help sell pretty merchandise. They have the potential to open the minds of girls. Instead, they would rather play it safe and give girls more materialistic values.

Flavas was also a pretty edgy line, but I think a lot more had to do with their retirement…

13) Cheap Quality

Mattel always releases their dolls with the highest quality-in the beginning, during a launch. But after a while, Mattel gets comfortable. When things get rough, the quality declines. This happens with every company, but a smart company knows how to wheel around this issue. Many times, Mattel cheapens the quality because it’s cheaper to make. This keeps money in their pockets.

American Girl’s quality has decreased tremendously, and yet the prices have risen! They certainly don’t use the same fine materials, like real wood, real clothing fabric, and tin, like they used to. Everything is plastic-and yet, more expensive than when they used real materials!

Barbie used to be a high-quality doll herself in the 1960’s. Then they started creating her with that cheap hair and face paint. When I was little, I could never pretend she was swimming. Her hair and lipstick would fade!

Yea, her hair seems nicer in the picture, but the actual doll is not the same!

Yea, her hair seems nicer in the picture, but the actual doll is not the same!

14) Mattel Doesn’t Listen to YOU

You would think that when Mattel is on it’s butt they would listen to fans more. Nope. In fact, the further Mattel is in a slump, the more they ignore fans. Does this sound familiar?

“We do not accept new product ideas.” That’s one of them. “We apologize for your dissatisfaction with our products. We have ___ for you to enjoy. Stay tuned for more updates”.

Mattel is usually at it’s best when it has competition. When they have competition, they suddenly come up with better quality ideas. Bratz kept Mattel on it’s toes. Myscene, Monster high, and Girls of Many Lands all came out around the time Bratz was at it’s height. Those three lines were of high quality at launch. But now that the competition is low, Mattel is getting a little too comfortable. Competition helps Mattel recognize it’s flaws and weaknesses. Without competition, they don’t see fans going anywhere else, no matter how messed up their tactics are.

No matter how many fans complain about the same things, Mattel continues to send “automated” emails and continues to reject new ideas. Their competitors, MGA, are VERY open to new ideas. This contributed to the success of Bratz and the reason Mattel always struggled all of those years. They still don’t understand what tweens want. They want to be HEARD. Since Mattel usually misses this point miserably, they always lose valuable ideas to their competition.

So, now that you are aware of the Mattel pattern, fans shouldn’t be surprised when they see Mattel leaning on an idea that seems to be choking the life out of a doll line. They have a strange tendency of repeating patterns.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you people think! What Mattel dolls do you collect?

 

Meet American Girl’s Beforever Characters Through Engaging Youtube Videos Inspired From Their Stories! #AGBeforeverVids

16 Sep

*This article is to spread a campaign of sorts. I want more of the videos American Girl has posted on Youtube and better American Girl commercials. The videos they are missing are Rebecca and I also consider Caroline (Because I think her video was lacking). #AGBeforeverVids

Personally, I hated American Girl’s last couple of commercials for their historical line of dolls. However, one of Beforever’s ads was a step up. And yet, this isn’t the ad that’s appearing on t.v…

The commercials always seemed so “modernized”. My last favorite commercials were of the American Girl historical movies.

I know the goal of the commercials are to make the American Girls seem “easy” for modern girls to relate to, but sometimes it’s easier for girls today to relate to engaging and interesting ads, rather than cheesy ads that over-emphasize “girlhood”. Especially the girls of the “target age”. If we look at online ads/trailers/commercials, like the Hunger Games trailer or the Maze Runner, big kids are usually drawn in by the dozens to those dramatic teasers. I understand people want to encourage little kids to stay kids. But the American Girls can provide a realistic view of life, while still appealing to sophisticated girls of today. American Girl admits that girls are more sophisticated today, which is why they consolidated their books to “feel” more like volumes. So why can’t they provide advertisements that appeal to sophisticated children?

Caroline’s commercial was an example of what I mean by just plain yuck. While I thought it was cute to have the girls play with Caroline during the entire ad, and cute when they threw in some rowboat scenes, the music threw off the appeal. They could’ve at least had some adventurous music. They could’ve given some more appealing insight into her story. They could have given it an artistic feeling. The ad felt very “thrown together”. They put some girls in a room with a doll, those girls played a bit with the doll, and then they added some cheesy modern music. I liked the McDonalds commercial from several years ago better than Caroline’s commercial! They could’ve made an interesting background scene. Other doll brands, like Ever After High and Monster High, have very innovative commercials. But no. This commercial didn’t tell me anything about Caroline or her time. It didn’t make Caroline seem like an interesting doll from all of their other dolls. I saw her accessories. I saw her outfits. But I didn’t seen any creativity-I didn’t see any imagination!

Look at THIS McDonalds commercial in comparison:

But American Girl has posted some interesting videos that are far more superior than any trailers above. On Youtube.com, on American Girl’s official channel, they have saved their beautiful historical videos for others to watch. Unlike everything above, these videos are interesting and inspirational. They are like mini-documentaries or audiobooks. They give the gist of the story with engaging historical footage and thrilling background music. They are a bit lengthy. I know a commercial can’t be as long as the videos they posted (you’ll understand when you watch), BUT I think that a commercial can utilize some backgrounds from the stories to create a scene for the dolls.

A good commercial needs a good scene for the dolls. Let’s take the Monster High Freaky Fusion commercial for example (Not to go off-topic, just giving an example of what I mean).

Like the commercial above, the advertisement places the dolls in a fitting scene. The music is also fitting for the dolls. This makes the dolls seem like they live in an interesting world. This sparks interest from it’s viewers.

The videos that were posted on Youtube made me so much more interested in American Girl dolls, I want to share them. I’m so sorry that Rebecca doesn’t have one and that Caroline doesn’t have one in this style. These videos also sort of make up for the lack of historical movies. I love them. But maybe kids don’t like them. All the kids I showed them to loved them! Let me know what you people think. Check them out:

Unfortunately, these videos use a lot of the illustrations that used to be in the book series, and since the Beforever books are picture-less, who knows if there will be any videos in the future. But I will be pushing for it.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the vids!

If you like them, and would like Rebecca and Caroline to have similar vids, #AGBeforeverVids.

 

BoA’s Japanese Comeback 2014: BoA “Double” Challenge

12 Sep

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In case you couldn’t tell, this month is BoA month in honor of BoA’s first Japanese comeback in FOUR years! So, this article is to spread the word!

Her album was released September 3, 2014 titled, Who’s Back?.

Own it, it’s awesome!

For today, I have a challenge for BoA fans and readers.

BoA has debuted in THREE countries: Korea (2000), Japan (2001), and the USA (2008). She has around 94 music videos and still counting!

Between her Korean music videos and her Japanese videos, BoA has brought over some of her Korean stuff into the Japanese nation. Many times, she has done music videos TWICE for both countries. She translated many of her Korean songs in Japanese.

She did the same thing in America (She translated Girls on Top, her Korean hit, in English).

The music videos between Korea and Japan may look like identical twins, but just like identical twins, there are differences.

The inspiration behind the title comes from a BoA song called “Double”. In the video, she has two mirror versions of herself as she dances.

My challenge for you readers: Can you find the differences?

Ready? Begin!

BoA Double

First, we’ll start with the inspiration behind the title: “Double”. Released in 2003.

Korean Mv

AND

Japanese Pv

I notice there are a lot of differences in editing. Can you spot any differences?

The Shadow

Next, we’ll do The Shadow. Shadow always reminds me of “Double”. BoA has three versions of herself that meet each other at one point. There is an emphasis of BoA mirroring herself, much like in “Double”. Released in 2012.

Korean MV

or

Japanese PV

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/BoA—The-Shadow-%2528Japanese-Version%2529/e88dc86aa9b209013b0bf12b81b5bf13 <—-Click

Can you spot the differences? Japan has a dreamier feeling, while I feel Korea’s shows BoA’s tougher and sexier side.

BoA Shine We Are

Released in 2003.

It’s even harder to find the differences in these music videos. But they exist! Can you find them?

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

Rock With You

Released in 2004.

These are VERY identical. Can you spot the differences? I did! There are very few, but they exist.

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

Valenti

Released in 2002.

The differences become very obvious here. Can you spot them?

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

Jewel Song

Released in 2003.

Something this beautiful can hide hidden surprises, including differences. Can you find them?

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

Destiny (Miracle)/Kiseki

Released in 2002.

So many lovely scenes. BoA wears the same outfits, and sings the songs pretty similar, but there are still differences. Can you find them?

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

Meri Churi

Released in 2004.

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Pv

http://serviceapi.nmv.naver.com/flash/convertIframeTag.nhn?vid=347039E7C5A88762B06C6F850D20745D59CD&outKey=V125b85e0bd7ecd99f54e4d2849af75299176e91baa587952a2494d2849af75299176&width=720&height=438

Everlasting

Released in 2006.

You never notice certain things in a music video until you see it’s twin! What differences can you spot?

Korean Mv

or

Japanese Mv

I hope you enjoyed the BoA “Double” challenge! It was a lot of fun for me!

Leave me a comment and let me know one difference you found in at least one music video!

And don’t forget to get BoA’s album on sale now!

http://www.yesasia.com

BoA’s Japanese Comeback: Who’s Back? September!-A Walk With BoA Down Memory Lane

8 Sep

generationnext:

BoA’s walkthrough

Originally posted on Generation Next:

For the month of September, I will be focusing on BoA’s Japanese comeback! She hasn’t had an album in four years! I’m so excited for BoA! She has been in the limelight for 14 years! She is a pop star veteran, at the age of 27! She has more awards and accolades than many TWICE her age, and she has the kind of resume and experience that makes her a superstar! Many K-pop stars can learn from her!

She is more of an international superstar. Her fame in Japan is even greater than her fame in Korea, though she is pretty famous in both nations. She has had plenty of tours in Japan, and just finally had her first Korean tour LAST YEAR. It’s easy to tell that she is well-received in Japan based on the differences of her sales between the two nations since debut…In Korea, she is in…

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American Girl’s Beforever doll, Samantha Parkington, Is NOT an EDWARDIAN doll

7 Sep

I have been a fan of American Girl since 1998. I have been a historian for years. (Wow, time flies).

American Girl, while being a historical line of dolls, haven’t all been historically accurate when it came to their dolls. Samantha and Kirsten with bangs? That was never a trend in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. Beforever really shows a huge leap away from historical accuracy. They have Samantha sporting some go-go boots and a headband…

I’m not the type of fan that glosses over everything American Girl just because it’s American Girl, and if you’ve been following my blog, you know that.

Just check out my Beforever article. Click Me.

But I have to disagree that the stories themselves are inaccurate. I’ve found all of the stories to be as close to historically accurate that it can be for nine year olds. It has only been guilty of glossing over greater issues, but considering most of life in the books is from the mind of a nine year old, it’s pretty accurate. It would be less accurate for nine year olds to go through many of the experiences many adults went through (For instance, it would be unrealistic to put a nine year old like Molly in the middle of a battle in Germany during the actual D-day invasion). Sure, many things happened in the stories that seemed far-fetched. But some of the adventures have been based on real-life events that some young people have experienced. It is fiction, but any other additions that are historical have been pretty accurate.

The biggest controversy that many people throw at me is Samantha’s Era. Many people believe it was inaccurate for American Girl to label her as “Victorian” when Queen Victoria had died in 1901 and King Edward was ruling.

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Many support that argument by claiming that the the social culture, even Samantha’s attitude, is more “Edwardian” than Victorian. While some may recognize that Grandmary’s home was old-fashioned and Victorian, they believe that Samantha herself was more properly Edwardian, as well as her environment.

This would be historically false.

Whoever has been teaching anyone that needs to be fired. Unless you are living in England, the rule of King Edward is not apart of American History, and thus is not an era in the American nation.

Before you strike, please understand that difference between the rule of Victoria (1837-1901), the Victorian Era, and “American Victorianism”.

American Victorianism

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Unlike when King Edward was ruling, when Queen Victoria was ruling, she sparked many social-cultural trends in Europe that eventually began to influence America. It became known as “American Victorianism”, which was an off-shoot of the period and lifestyle that seeped into America from Europe. This cultural influence was not to necessarily define Victoria’s reign itself (because why would Americans care who is ruling another country?). It came simply from fascination with her lifestyle and the lifestyles of MANY other European nations.  This is the difference between the way England experienced the Victorian era and the way Americans experienced it. It was not to honor Queen Victoria as the ruler, but to utilize her lifestyle as a model for social-cultural reasons. During this era, the wealthy wanted to distinguish themselves from the growing middle class. The era emphasized the battle between the two major upper-classes in America, and emphasized the shift from inherited wealth to self-made wealth.

In other words, the American Victorian era did not reflect the true English Victorian era.

To add, the American Victorian era didn’t just reflect ENGLAND’s lifestyle. And that’s what makes American Victorianism so different from Victoria’s actual reign and England’s Victorian era. America’s Victorian era also came from the influence of France as well! Please read the following page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_America

Basically, the Victorian Era for AMERICANS focused on “old money” (people who inherit wealth rather than work for it) individuals who were uncertain with their American identity, as this began shortly after the Second War of Independence and lasted from the 1840’s up until around 1914. That uncertainty showed heavily. “Old Money” Americans began to show interest in “richer” cultures. They borrowed heavily from European culture. The first nation they borrowed from was England, hence why the term was coined. But they “borrowed” more social-cultural trends from FRANCE than they did from England throughout it all! Though Victoria was the inspiration behind the coined era title, she isn’t exactly what the Victorian Era in America is all about. France’s culture was actually more influential in this era. “Old money” people ate French foods, imported goods from France, drank french wines, and even spoke French! Nothing to do with England, but still a part of the Victorian era in AMERICA. For some of you who went around thinking that the rulership of a queen defined this American period, you’d be shocked to find so many other influences marking the Victorian period in America. The one thing they did adopt from England, however, was their “proper” rules of etiquette. This was a very distinct characteristic of this period, and why England is so associated with the period. But again, many other trends came from France.

If you people remember Samantha Learns a Lesson, Samantha and the other girls in her classroom were expected to learn French! This was a part of American Victorianism. To learn French was obviously not a trend in England. It came from France.

Another part of American Victorianism was influenced by Asia as well. Many wealthy elites imported goods from Asia as well! Japan was particularly a fascination. Kimonos and pajamas became a heavy part of the culture. Pajamas originated in Asia from traditional Asian fashion! This is why the doll Nellie is marketed with pajamas. Japanese screens were also popular in this period. I believe Samantha’s doll-sized room scene had a screen designed on the far left. Really, the American Victorian era was not only “English”-inspired.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pajamas

There were many other trends that marked American Victorianism, made it different from Victoria’s literal reign, and different from England’s Victorian era. Unlike in Europe, American Victorianism was about wealthy competition. The upper-class Americans funded the arts through donations to emphasize their status and power. The wealthy were patrons that donated money to found opera houses, symphony orchestras, and art museums. So many of the wealthy competed with one another, trying to make one seem more wealthy than the other. Europe did not have this problem, as all arts were funded by the government, so competition did not mark European wealth or European Victorianism. It only marked “Victorian” wealthy classes in America. One of those Opera Houses might have been the inspiration for the Opera House mentioned in Samantha Learns a Lesson, where she gave her speech on Progress in America.

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The other difference between the era honoring Queen Victoria’s reign in England and American Victorianism is that it first began to influence America in the 1840s, not EXACTLY at the time Victoria took the throne in 1837. That’s not how influence works. It just doesn’t show up the moment someone becomes a ruler. It grows over time until it reaches beyond the borders. It also just doesn’t end abruptly, just because someone suddenly dies. Influence spreads and is hard to clean out when it’s all over. One event really can’t bring in a whole era without a series of events following after it, so equally, one event can’t kill an era. There needs to be a series of new events to kill an old era. That’s how powerful and influential eras are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_America

The American Victorian era began a bit after Victoria was crowned and ALSO ended a bit after her death. American Victorianism officially died in 1914. On the page above, scroll down to Poverty and Immigration. Massive Immigration marked the American Victorian era as well, something that had nothing to do with the reign of Victoria or Victorianism in England. And that wave is said to have ended when? In 1914.

The influence of Victorian America expanded cities in the nation, especially New York City, the setting for two of Samantha’s stories. The influence of the American Victorian era’s expansion didn’t just end when Queen Victoria died. New York City STILL remained a big city, still continued to grow even after her reign, and it still housed the great number of immigrants, which is considered a part of American Victorianism.

The Industrial Revolution had a lot to do with American Victorianism in the 1800’s, but the body of “new rich” (people who made money from business, hard work, and genius ideas) were threatening the status of the “old rich” (people who were rich simply because they inherited it from a family member), and this influenced the American Victorian era more distinctly. The two rich classes were culturally different and they were in great conflict.

And this is where Samantha’s story comes in. The “old money” developed a “society” made up of “proper families”, as quoted from the above page. But the new rich could not easily join the “society”, which was the point. Most of the “new money” came from poor families, and the “old money” didn’t want to integrate with them. The Industrial Revolution in America helped poor families make more money, moving them up in the social ranks.

Towards the end of the Victorian era, the youngsters of this era were getting tired of old “Victorian values” and it’s restrictions.

The new generation was in fact getting tired of it after the upheaval of the Civil War in the 1860’s. But after Queen Victoria’s death and the onset of World War I, that’s when it really died. The world no longer seemed so glamorous. During World War I, all connection with other nations were closed off, not allowing any immigrants into the nation. This also limited the amount of exports that could come into the nation. Thus, the final end of the Victorian era. Americans finally began to form an identity of their own rather than be led by European cultural values.

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This is what Samantha’s personality represents. She steps in to represent the new generation that questioned American Victorianism, and the generation that brought about sweeping changes in the nation. Uncle Gard is also considered young, and so is Cornelia. They represent the new era that was rising.

That “new” era was not called the “Edwardian Era”. King Edward had just become King, and therefore, could not have made that much of an impact in the beginning of his reign. Even if he eventually flourished in England, England’s values no longer had much of an influence on America. King Edward never flourished any trends in America. Any trends that even hinted to be “English” were the aftermath of the Victorian era. If you do deeper research, there is no such thing as an Edwardian Era in America. You really don’t even have to dig that deep.

The Edwardian Era is a part of WORLD history, but not American history. There is a difference. Just like the American Civil War is a part of American history, but do you really think that’s a part of England’s history? No. They had their own Civil Wars.

The Digital Revolution is a lot like the Victorian Era. The Digital Revolution is influencing the world as we speak, and will be a part of everyone’s history. But how that era is experienced, how long it lasts, and when it even all began varies according to nation. The Victorian era was similar.

What was that era called that the “new wealth” brought in? Progressive America.

Samantha’s stories highlight the conflicting attitudes between the dying Victorian Era and the new Progressive Era. This conflict continued, really, until around WWI. Most historians consider it’s final death to be 1914. These two conflicting cultures greatly influenced Samantha’s life, often causing her confusion as to what is right. Her personality really reflects much of the uncertainty of the nation itself, as it struggled to find it’s own identity in the middle of all of these changes.

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Just as people were slowly losing interest in European culture, what we eventually see is Grandmary slowly moving away from her own Victorian values (the Victorian era being an era that reflected a time when Americans defined themselves by foreign nations) to a more American Progressive society (where Americans were beginning to form their own identity as a nation). The American Progressive way of thinking believed in progress and helping the underprivileged.

Many social changes were a part of American Victorianism. We saw Dorothea Dix trying to help the mentally ill. We saw laws making it mandatory for children to be in school. There were many social changes made during this period. And even though all of these social changes weren’t necessarily created in 1904, all of the efforts of these movements were at their strongest by Samantha’s time, making 1904 the perfect time to express the bridge between Victorian values and Progressive America. The Victorian way of thinking didn’t mind finding work for immigrants, but they kept separate lives from those who were not of their “class”. The Progressive way of thinking sought to encourage self-made wealth, which can put any poor man in a wealthy position if he worked hard enough. This was EXTREMELY different from the era that marked King Edward’s rule in England, and they were not linked.

The conflicts of this era were evident between Grandmary’s way of handling Nellie’s friendship with Samantha, and how Uncle Gard, the more progressive man, handled their relationship. When Samantha asked Grandmary in Samantha Learns a Lesson (a book we could all learn a lesson from), “Why won’t Edith Eddelton’s mother let her play with Nellie?” Grandmary’s response was in simple Victorian fashion: “Why, Edith Eddleton is a young LADY”. Something like that. Samantha then tells Grandmary, “But you let me play with Nellie.” Grandmary then states, in typical Victorian fashion, “You are not playing with Nellie, you are helping Nellie. There’s a difference.” The chapter then ends by saying that Samantha didn’t like that difference. Which seems like something a 9 year old, who usually is more unaware of social classes, would think and feel.

Uncle Gard and Cornelia, however, show more American Progressive attitudes. They adopt Nellie, where Grandmary just simply found work for Nellie and her family. They presented two different solutions to the same problem. Though the fashions, huge Christmases, and glamorous displays of wealth from the Victorian era still traveled into the Turn of the Twentieth Century for many of the wealthy (because you just can’t get rid of clothes and houses, and not just because a Queen has died), IDEAS were starting to change.

9df28a49667fc5ddb4db9dbbcdc625a7

You still don’t get the picture? Still don’t understand why Samantha can be appropriately called “Victorian” as well as “Progressive?” Still don’t understand how she can be Victorian even after the death of a faraway queen? Still don’t understand why the Edwardian Period never existed in America?

Let me share an example how this can occur. Most American Girl fans consider Molly the “WWII era” doll. When most Americans think of WWII, they think of the 1940’s, correct? WELL, WWII had been going on around the world since the 1930s! Did you know that the Italians first invaded Ethiopia in 1935? Though the actual war was declared in 1939, many invasions happened throughout the mid to late 1930’s. For many people around the world, they define the WWII era as the 1930’s! Hitler became the Chancellor in 1933! It was then that political scientists predicted another “Great War” was on it’s way. For many overseas, Kit would be more appropriately called the WWII era girl. So why do Americans only associate the times from 1941-1945 as WWII? Because that is the time when America was most influenced. ALL of the 1940’s can be considered apart of the WWII era, even though the war was over in 1945! This is because there is always an aftermath. The war just doesn’t affect one period of time, end, and then the effects of it disappear. It’s influence is much deeper than that. WWII changed things, during and after the war. Women had to give their jobs back to men, they had to reconstruct their families after years without loved ones, and they had to replace worn things in their homes with all the things they couldn’t get because of the war. Though this is post-WWII, it is still considered a part of the era. Do you understand how eras work now? If you don’t, leave me a comment and we can discuss further.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II#Italian_invasion_of_Ethiopia_.281935.29

The confusion comes when you confuse an era with an event. An event is different from an era, though events often lead to eras. An event would be WWII, the Yellow Fever Epidemic (this is why I never considered MG and C to have their own era), or the crowning of Queen Victoria and her reign. An ERA is a period of time that is usually marked by not only events, but distinctive characteristics, changes on the earth, and so many other things. Events don’t define an era exclusively, and this is why the death of Victoria did not end the era. In fact, it became an event that was a part of that era. Thus, also, the crowning of King Edward did not just cut the Victorian era in America short.

As I also mentioned before, you wouldn’t call a 1860’s historical doll representing England’s history a “Civil War” era doll. There was no Civil War in England at that time and the Civil War in America did not greatly influence England’s history beyond hearing news about it. You equally wouldn’t call Samantha an “Edwardian Era” doll just because Edward is King in England. If it doesn’t affect America, it is not apart of American history.

So, what is my conclusion? It is incorrect to call Samantha the Edwardian period doll. Any real historian will LAUGH at you. You can correctly call her Victorian, that is not inaccurate according to AMERICAN HISTORY. American Victorianism was not directly influenced by Queen Victoria alone, but all European nations, some Asian nations, and a desire for the “old wealth” of America to feel more important than the “new wealth”. That is nothing like the Victorian era in England, which was mostly marked by national self-confidence, peace, and prosperity, not wealthy conflicts…And there was no true peace in America during the American Victorian period. The Civil War erupted during this time, which disrupted the “peace”.

Samantha appropriately represents the shift from the American Victorian period to Progressive America. It would also be appropriate to call her the “Turn of the Twentieth Century” girl as well. Either one is historically correct.

Edwardian is NOT.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, leave me a comment, and I will gladly give more supporting evidence.

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BoA’s Japanese Comeback: Who’s Back? September!-A Walk With BoA Down Memory Lane

1 Sep

For the month of September, I will be focusing on BoA’s Japanese comeback! She hasn’t had an album in four years! I’m so excited for BoA! She has been in the limelight for 14 years! She is a pop star veteran, at the age of 27! She has more awards and accolades than many TWICE her age, and she has the kind of resume and experience that makes her a superstar! Many K-pop stars can learn from her!

She is more of an international superstar. Her fame in Japan is even greater than her fame in Korea, though she is pretty famous in both nations. She has had plenty of tours in Japan, and just finally had her first Korean tour LAST YEAR. It’s easy to tell that she is well-received in Japan based on the differences of her sales between the two nations since debut…In Korea, she is in the thousands with hard copies, but in Japan? That’s the millions, baby! Her debut album sales in Japan were much higher than her debut sales in Korea. This is why I’m glad she’s having a Japanese comeback this time around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BoA_discography

In fact, BoA will be having ANOTHER tour in Japan this September! It’s so exciting! She hasn’t had a tour in a while.

I don’t want to get TOO excited, though. I’ve had so many disappointments this year. I want to be careful putting too much enthusiasm into things.

How did I become a BoA fan?

I know. Judging by all of the recent articles on f(x), it may appear to you that f(x) were my first favorite international artists. But no, they weren’t. I just like them A LOT. But BoA was the second foreign artist that I got into (My first was Utada Hikaru). BoA was the artist that introduced me to other J-pop artists. I first heard of her on Bratz “Show Me What You Got” music video. I was a big Bratz fan at the time. She broadened my music world. At the age of 13, I really didn’t know that there were other pop artists around the world besides the ones in my own backyard. And sure, you modern kids may think that’s pretty ignorant of me, but internet wasn’t quite as advanced as it is now, and people didn’t have I-pads and I-phones yet. I just simply didn’t have exposure to world music yet. However, I did learn about BoA on the internet on a Bratz Yahoo Group (a major fan message board at the time). Once I visited BoA’s website for the first time, I kept following her music closely. I started researching other J-pop artists, and found out about Namie Amuro, Crystal Kay, Ayumi Hamasaki, Firstklas, M-flo, Soul’d Out, Koda Kumi, Hitomi, and many others. Even though I knew about Utada first, I knew about her from the English Kingdom Hearts. I thought she was an American artist because she spoke English so well…so I usually consider BoA my first favorite foreign artist. It wasn’t until later that I learned she was actually Korean. Later, when I started getting into her K-pop work, I was introduced to DBSK (or TVXQ, as you all may know them). However, I was still into J-pop more than K-pop until f(x) stepped into my life…But I was, in fact, introduced to f(x) through boajjang.com…a BoA fan website…

So, now that you know my BoA story, you understand why I have to make this month special for BoA’s comeback album and tour.

And in honor of that tour, I am taking you on a walk down memory lane with BoA. I will be posting all of BoA’s music videos from her debut up until now from both Korea and Japan! I am proud of BoA’s success, and I want to share it with fellow BoA fans and new people who are reading (or watching)!

Let’s begin with BoA’s first MV ever, ID:Peace B! Such a long time ago! It’s hard to believe! We were all so young…*Tear* :'(

Korean

Other

Japanese 

*Most of the videos may seem the same, but if you look closely, you will notice the difference in editing in some of the videos that are for the same song.

**Listen to My Heart was posted again because of it’s higher quality.

(My FIRST OFFICIAL BOA SONG EVER is NEXT! So Nostalgic… :’3 )

http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=375680

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/BoA—The-Shadow-%2528Japanese-Version%2529/e88dc86aa9b209013b0bf12b81b5bf13

Other

http://www.screencast.com/users/lulu_iboa/folders/Default/media/1071aa2e-5842-4ca2-91dc-f8bf6ca1bd46

English

Other

(The VIDEO THAT INTRODUCED ME TO BOA is NEXT! OH MY GOD! :'( Nostalgia for real! )

BoA’s resume is GREAT and this is just the beginning! Enjoy BoA’s years of success as we await BoA’s Japanese comeback entitled, Who’s Back?

So leave me a comment! If you were already a fan of BoA, let me know what your first BoA moments were. If you are a new fan after watching these videos, let me know your favorite song and/or video!

Keep on the watch for more BoA articles!

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to Robin Williams

11 Aug

I’m sorry, I am in complete sadness right now. It may take me awhile to recover the lost of one of the greatest comedians, actors, LEGENDS in history: Robin Williams.  I was just watching one of his movies, when I heard the sad news of his passing. :'( I really feel like I’m mourning the lose of a family member. He was someone that brought my whole family together when we couldn’t get along. If we couldn’t agree on anything, we all agreed that he was a talented man. He made me laugh as a child on Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji. Later, I also enjoyed movies like Patch, Night at the Museum, and even Insomnia. And who can forget Good Will Hunting…I feel so hurt to have lost this beautiful legend, but I know his family is in even deeper sorrow. This man was born in my favorite city of Chicago, and it’s sad for me to see his talent go. I am so happy he left behind his talent in timeless classics that I can watch again and again.

He brought so much happiness to others through his movies, if only the viewers could’ve brightened his day up for a change.

I just want to take this time and share a quiet tribute to him. I want him to be remembered. He left an amazing and inspirational resume behind. They could say anything about him, but no one could deny that he was a good actor. Why must we continue to lose our legends? :(

President Obama put it nicely:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

Here is a list of movies I enjoyed watching:

Good Morning Vietnam

Dead Poets Society

Awakenings

The Fisher King

Good Will Hunting

Popeye

Hook

Aladdin

Mrs. Doubtfire

Jumanji

The Birdcage

Night at the Museum

Happy Feet

 

 

SMTOWN LIVE WORLD TOUR IV: Starting August 15, 2014! Performances include…

6 Aug

SM Town Live World Tour IV will begin AUGUST 15, 2014, and will begin at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul, Korea! But they will also be touring other cities around the world. The other cities listed are Tokyo and Shanghai.

1) Tokyo, Japan’s performances will be held at the Ajinomoto Stadium. Tour dates:

*October 4, 2014

*October 5, 2014

2) Shanghai, China’s performances will be held at the Shanghai stadium. Tour dates:

*October 18, 2014

The Tour will include performances from the following artists:

Kangta

From being a part of SM’s first biggest boy-band success, H.O.T. (debut in 1996 WOW), to charting his own solo career, Kangta is a determined force to be reckoned with! This group thrust SM Entertainment into being one of the biggest labels in Korea, and are one of the groups to spark the “idol group” trend! They were the first SM group to hold a concert performance outside of Korea. Move aside noobs, Kangta’s taking the stage this time! He is also scheduled to have a comeback THIS YEAR! His last comeback was in 2010, and that was in Chinese. So his presence will definitely be a treat, both for old-time fans and for newcomers. I just can’t wait to see him grace the stage once again! Check out his last Korean release along with his debut!

BoA

Hailed as Korea’s Princess of Pop (and in many people’s eyes, the Queen), BoA Kwon (debut in 2000 WOW) will also take the stage once again! She is acknowledged for being one of the first Korean artists to achieve international success! She’s not only a household name in Korea, but in Japan as well! She has also stepped into the Chinese market as well as the American market! She has had the privilege of performing alongside the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears! She has also performed with Backstreet Boy’s Howie D. and with “Bratz” (MGA Entertainment’s line of fashion dolls). BoA is well-known to most westerners for singing the ending theme for the anime Inuyasha. BoA was SM’s first artist to chart American music industry territory with her self-titled all-English album, BoA. She also recently starred in her first U.S. movie, Make Your Move with Derek Hough! This humble diva has a huge resume following her, and she’s only 27! Currently, she has been working on her Japanese comeback, scheduled September 3. BoA is also well-known for her extremely immaculate dancing talent, which has gotten the attention of western audiences in Make Your Move and during her U.S. debut. Guys, ya’ll know BoA is my FAVORITE K-pop idol (a tad bit more than f(x)) :P I’ve been a fan of this chick since 2003 when she featured in the Bratz song and single Show Me What You Got! Check out her latest Korean activities as well as her debut!  The Queen shall take the stage! Bow down!

TVXQ

Originally five members, TVXQ (Though I know them as DBSK) are often referred to as the “Kings of K-pop” by many. TVXQ (debut 2003) have now been stripped down to two members. This group has had the privilege of performing among one of America’s most notorious stars, Britney Spears! These men have since risen as international superstars! They have made their names well-known in Japan. They are noted as being the first K-pop act to have 13 number one singles in Japan! They were the first non-Japanese Asian artists to headline a Japanese nationwide dome tour. Billboard has even described them as “K-pop Royalty”. They have recently been focusing on their activities in Japan, and have had success with their last four singles released there. This group is known for their eloquent, efficient, and polished dancing. They have a distinct style that is hard to miss, and their experience shows. Member Yunho was also featured in the American movie Make Your Move. He showed off his sexy moves! I certainly can’t wait to see these men steam up the stage this August! Check out their latest Korean activities and their debut!

Super Junior

Super Junior (debut in 2005) began with TWELVE full members. They got a lot of attention by having all of those men singing in harmony, almost like a choir! At it’s peak, it has had THIRTEEN members. That’s a lot of men in one group! Currently, Suju has TEN active members. This was also the first group to add two sub-group members to help cater to the Chinese-Mandarin language. Super Junior was the first SM group to have major success in China. Super Junior has had success in other industries besides music. Along with singing and dancing, they have a lot of entertainment experience from acting and hosting. Because of their success in entertaining, other management companies have been training their idols in other areas of entertainment as well. They were K-pop’s best-selling artists three years in a row! This group is one of SM’s international superstars, and is one of the most notorious groups in the modern K-pop world. Super Junior will bring all that makes them awesome to us this August! Check out this group’s latest Korean activities and their debut!

Girls’ Generation (SNSD)

The 9-member Goddesses, Girls’ Generation (SNSD) (debut in 2007) made their stamp on the K-pop industry with the ever-catchy, “Gee”, gaining them success in Asia and beyond!  They certainly represent the beauty of Korea! They are SM’s latest divas, often called the “K-pop Queens of this Decade”. This group has also gained a lot of attention for their number of members! Their voices, in harmony, can take up a whole dome!  They still carry the largest number of members of any successful female group! Their foray into the Japanese market has also been highly successful. Their album, Girls’ Generation, is still the highest selling K-pop album in Japan to date! They are considered one of Korea’s top tier female groups in the modern decade. They have managed to experiment with different languages with their songs, most notably “The Boys”, releasing the song in Japanese, Korean, and for the first time, in English. To date, they ARE SM’s biggest and most successful girl group! And their success doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. They will bless us with their lovely presence this August! Enjoy their most recent Korean activities and their debut!

Shinee

Shinee (debut in 2008), the five-member male fashion and style icons of the modern decade, are well-known for their creative, synchronized, and complex dancing. And yes, they are fashion pioneers, starting the “Shinee Trend”. To date, they are the only male group that remained close since their debut, and have never split. They have great success in the Japanese market, being labeled as the group that “managed to get in top 3 for 3 continuous releases since debut”. Shinee is known for their striking, dramatic, individual personalities, which lands them acting roles. Shinee is also known for their boyish youth and energy. When Shinee performs, they perform with their “whole soul” as if they really love music even more than success. Unlike most male groups, Shinee doesn’t mind singing romantic love songs more often than once! They are definitely one of the most unique boy bands of the modern decade. They have had major K-pop success with three full-length albums, five EPs, three concert tours, and many awards. Shinee will “shine” for us this August! I can’t wait to see what these men will cook up for this tour…This is my favorite male group, so I’m anticipating it very much! Check out their most recent Korean activities as well as their debut!

f(x)

f(x) (2009) is SM’s first major multi-national group where over half the members were NOT born in Korea! f(x) entered the Korean market during a time when most girls were doing the “cute” thing. f(x) decided to “do something different”, and voila! You get the sense of this group. f(x) boasts as being Asia’s Best Female Dance Group, and so far, they are! f(x) is known for their “legendary and epic” dance moves, as well as their multitude of talents: acting, piano, song-writing, guitar, ice skating, drums, acrobatics, and so much more! Because of their individual talents, the members have developed their own independent careers outside of this group! f(x) is known as SM’s “experimental” group because of f(x)’s unconventional sounds and quirky lyrics. Their fashion styles are bold and individualistic. In fact, Olleh finds f(x) to be Korea’s most individualistic girl group. With f(x), you never know how they will comeback! Their “art of surprise” keeps their fans on their toes. f(x) draws curious attention from their unusual approach, but they also gain the respect of many foreign music critics for their original and artistic style. In fact, f(x) is considered SM’s most critically-acclaimed group by many! This group, of all of SM’s groups, seems to have the most artistic freedom, and is the most musically and fashionably expressive.  They have had major success in Korea, and have gained Chinese and American attention as well, mostly due to the multi-cultural girls within the group that speak languages those nations can understand. I personally love this group! They recently had their comeback in July, though they went on a hiatus shortly after. It is good to know they will be back to performing in August. I can’t wait to see f(x) make an impact on the stage! Check out their recent Korean activities as well as their debut.

EXO

EXO (debut in 2011, basically 2012) are SM Town’s most recent, fresh boy-band act. They debuted with TWELVE members, just like Super Junior, but unlike Suju, they debuted as two sub-unit groups: EXO-K (Korean) and EXO-M (Chinese-Mandarin). They have had HUGE success, both in Korea and in China. Their fresh, rugged vibe attracts the hearts of many young fan girls, and their “one-shot” camera shooting, a hallmark of their music videos, draws attention from video experts. They are SM’s modern-day boy band, keeping up with the “Social Media Age” and the “Digital Revolution” to properly promote, spread, and highlight this group. EXO, in just two short years, has gained the success that most of their seniors have had to slowly acquire over the years! In less than two years, they have had their first LIVE TOUR! They have only had TWO albums: full-length and repackage (2013), and their repackage was the best selling album of that year! Thanks so SNS, international fans have more access to K-pop, which contributes to their success. But their on-camera confidence, their ability to use two languages at the same time, and their modern, trendy music help to put the cherry on top! They radiate all that an idol boy-band needs to be a huge success. Shoot, their seniors might want to learn FROM THEM. They will be “bursting at the scenes” when they hit the stage this August. It’s hard to deny the affect they’ve had on the K-pop world. They are considered K-pop’s top tier male group in this decade.

Newcomers: Red Velvet

Newcomers, Red Velvet (debut in 2014), just debuted about a week ago, and they have already captured the attention of fellow SM label fans! SM describes them as a mix between Girls’ Generation and f(x). We can see that it’s very true. Like Girls’ Generation, they are four lovely girls, with amazing vocal abilities, and with charming, girlish, and sweet personas. They also look a lot alike! But like f(x), their style is bold, quirky, and colorful. They are SM’s fourth girl group (The Grace, SNSD, f(x), and now them). It has been a while since SM debuted a girl group, so this is quite a refreshing change for SM fans. As they just debuted, there’s a lot more for us to discover about this new group. This Tour in August is the perfect time for them to show the world what they are made of! Check out their debut!

J-Min

J-Min’s inspirations can tell you a lot about her. The person that struck me was Michelle Branch. I honestly didn’t know any K-pop idols knew of Michelle Branch, but here comes J-Min! “K-pop Queen of Acoustic”, J-Min can be likened to the “Jewel of K-pop”. Her music is very different from the other SM Entertainment artists. In fact, if you ever heard her music, you wouldn’t even know she was an SM artist! Her distinct style and expressive music prove that true art can still shine in a modern-music world. Most of her success is in Japan, as that is where she first debuted. It is not surprising, as many artistic artists make their mark there (Utada Hikaru, Gackt, School Food Punishment). It’s no wonder she stands out so much: her music is more Japanese than Korean! She is a huge soundtrack maven! Try your favorite K-drama, and listen to the opening or the ending. You might just see her name pop up in the credits! Her music is very suited to K-dramas because her music is very “real”. Even though she debuted into the music industry in 2007, her first Korean EP and full-album were just released in 2014! I can’t wait to see this performance! It will definitely blow me away! Check out her Korean debut!

Zhang Li Yin

Zhang Li Yin (debut in 2006) is a Chinese solo artist who gained China’s attention AND Korea’s attention. That is quite an accomplishment for a foreign solo artist. She speaks fluent Mandarin and Korean. SM nicknamed her the “Chinese BoA”. She was one of the lead players of the “Korean Wave”. Though she only had one studio album, many of her singles were #1 hits. She was the first foreign artist to win Best Newcomer Award at the Mnet Music Awards. Zhang Li Yin has charted her own destiny, stepping out of BoA’s shadow, and into her own skin. She is now a “Ballad Goddess”. Her music videos are always touching, and she always has a meaningful story behind them. Most definitely NOT generic, and a must-watch! All of her ballads are amazing! Zhang Li Yin is hitting the stage once again! We get to hear her lovely melodious voice soar on stage! I’m so excited! Check out her recent Korean activities as well as her debut!

So now that I have introduced you to the SM artists that will be attending the Live World Tour, are you people excited? I look forward to August 15!

Leave me a comment and let me know which artist you look forward to the most! Which artist did you just learn about?

You can order tickets online at GMarket: http://ticket.gmarket.co.kr

Ticket info: 1566-5702

Five Songs, Female Empowerment, Three Messages: Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Little Mix, and Fifth Harmony: Which do you think carries the STRONGEST MESSAGE?

29 Jul

Originally posted on Generation Next:

download2

Here comes “Ms. Controversial” here, with another controversial topic…

Wow. Just came across five songs that seem to all represent the same theme: female empowerment. They didn’t all debut at the same time, yet the message they send is equally strong and relevant for today.

From first glance, you might think these songs are “feminist songs”. But that’s not entirely true of all of them.

Lesson #1: There are two ways women represent female empowerment : 1) Through Feminism 2) Through Chauvinism

What’s the difference?

Definition of Feminism: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men

With Feminism, it brings out the idea that women are EQUAL to men, are capable of the same opportunities, whether they try and succeed, or try and fail. It is the idea that women have the same feelings, wants, desires, and need for freedom that…

View original 1,550 more words

Women Don’t Respect Men in Music; EXO Dating Scandal Affects Musical Ticket Sales

28 Jul

My inspiration for this post comes from another article I was reading about EXO. I’m not a huge fan of EXO, and I don’t talk much about EXO on my blog, but this article rubbed me the wrong way.

Allkpop Discusses Baekhyun Dating scandal

Apparently, when EXO’s Baekhyun and Girl’s Generation’s Taeyeon began dating, it affected ticket sales for a musical he and Baekhyun were starring in, Singing in the Rain.

My response to this is to target EXO’s fan base.

A bunch of teenage-to-early-twenty somethings all decided not to watch a play and hear music of ONE member, because ANOTHER member is dating someone? Something is seriously wrong here!

1) Kyuhyun is NOT Baekhyun. What does another member’s dating scandal have to do with THIS member? That’s petty. This member has his own career, and should be able to develop himself as an independent artist. I understand Baekhyun is in the musical too, but there’s another EXO member who has been looking forward to this. Shouldn’t you continue to support ALL of EXO? I really dislike that “bias” thing people do in K-pop. It divides the group, and shows favoritism. You’re not just letting Baekhyun down, but Kyuhyun! It’s bogus how Baekhyun life had to affect Kyuhyun’s life.

2) What does someone’s personal life or who they’re dating have to do with someone’s MUSIC? Why is that enough to take back a ticket when you are SUPPOSED to be there to see and hear the MUSICAL? Maybe because they didn’t buy the ticket to see the musical…

This is not only a poor reflection on EXO’s fan base, but this is disrespectful to EXO as artists. You know what this says? “EXO are only popular because they are a bunch of cute boys, but no one cares about their talents.” When this group gets old, no one will respect them, even if they are still talented. That’s sad.

Any record company or music critic overseas would SLAM them, calling them “pop boy-band wannabes”, because the fans have made it so obvious that the contributing factor to EXO’s success was because the females who supported them hoped to have the PROSPECTS of dating them. Not one of those “fans” respected EXO’s ART. That’s…embarrassing. That makes other people lose respect for this group. That puts this group below the more respected artists. This is why beauty is a curse.

Once upon a time, back when record companies first started producing music albums, music used to be about the MUSIC. Now, it’s just about the face behind the music, and very seldom about the music. This is especially evident in Korea.

EXO’s FAN BASE and Women with Music

Sure, fans can spend money on anything that they want. It’s your money, I can’t control that. But you deserve every little shame you get coming your way.

I’m sure there a few fans who appreciate EXO’s music and dancing skills, but there’s always that little dark side to a fandom.

These fans who did this were man-hunting, gold digging, “dirty dianas”, only interested in getting special attention from their idols. These women are desperate. Yes, this is common with any boy band. But that’s why it’s so disrespectful to music, to them as artists, and to a person’s personal life.

I’m sorry ladies, but he didn’t start a MUSIC career just to get girls’ numbers. He started a music career to showcase his TALENTS.

The problem with these young girls is that they live in a bubble. The reputation of women starts with the teenage mind. Women have a reputation of being “unrealistic”, “emotional”, “irrationally” or “too subjective”. Girls fantasize about idols ten times more than boys do. Girls carry unrealistic expectations in the real world, hardly seeing reality. This is why women don’t get respect in the business world. This is why men want to keep women far away from business. I was watching a reaction video the other day, which was geared toward f(x)’s Electric Shock (I know, it was an old video), and all the girl could comment on was on the clothes, the hair, and who was pretty. Nothing about the song, the arrangement, the message, nothing INTELLIGENT. It was the most shallow reaction I’ve ever heard. But sadly, she was not the only female to make reaction videos like that. Don’t get me wrong, looks can be interesting. But they are not the fundamental parts of a music artist. Women, especially teenagers, often seem to miss the fundamental parts. They are so naive when it comes to things, it’s no wonder boys seem to easily ‘take advantage of them’. These young girls put their ultimate trust in these idols, trusting their idols to love them obsessively. These are men they BARELY know.

The whole definition of idol shows the sheer ignorance of fans: any person regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.

Dictionary.com

“Blind” is correct.  Biases stem from this blind admiration. Bias isn’t a flattering term, either. It’s a form of prejudice that results from lack of reasoning or experience.

So, most of these fans, who mostly consist of teens and young adults, have painted an illusion, and have decided to live in it. They are almost “chasing rainbows”. This illusion aspect causes them to cross into the mental realm of insanity, to the point many of the things they react to seem to make hardly any sense at all. This obsessive and passionate behavior leaves one to imagine they are already in a “relationship” with these people, therefore jealousy and possessiveness sets in, almost as if they are already “married” to the individual.

Most teens have yet to develop their careers as well, so most don’t have the clearest understanding of business or a working person. They don’t often realize how damaging their obsessions are to a music career and to another working person’s personal life. They often make demands that aren’t realistic, not considering the cost of things.

There is nothing wrong with being a little passionate sometimes or being caught in an illusion. It’s a healthy part of human expression. But it all depends on whether you are passionate over the right things and in the right way. It’s also helpful to return to the “real world” after the illusion is over.

The fans consume their lives around music and artists. They have begun to “worship” these people. For them, it has become more than music, but now a desire to be included in the artist’s life. This is where the heavy obsessive research comes from. Fans desire to know personal information: his favorite sock, his favorite food, his family, etc. And what is the need to know all of this? None of these tidbits have to do with MUSIC. So why? Is it so these young girls can get special attention and feel worshiped themselves? Is this some sort of social-status behavior? Do they hope an idol will focus on their knowledge of him, like God calling you of all people to do his will? Only, it’s in pop star form? That’s a little ridiculous.

They see perfection in an imperfect being. Young women who form these obsessive fantasies more than likely don’t value themselves. When people are looking to someone as an idol, it’s because they feel that their own lives are mediocre (whether they feel let down by the men in their community, let down by family or school, etc). They hate themselves, and so they reach out for something other than who they are. They end up living their own lives through the life of another. When someone values themselves, they love their life too much to be concerned about someone else’s, and tend to let people live their own lives. If half of these girls had their own great boyfriends, they wouldn’t be expecting this man to be theirs.

When someone becomes this obsessive, they become a little possessive, and therefore aggressive. The fans end up forming abusive relationships with their favorite “idols”.

This was exactly the abusive fan-idol relationship I talked about on my last post. Click me to Read About That. There needs to be some reform in this industry. The idols become dependent on these fans for income so they take anything off of their “customers”. It’s like working as a waitress for a major restaurant. They often take crap from customers and are still expected to smile and be polite, no matter what. They are almost like puppets of female fans. And fans threaten them like this: “If you date so-and-so, I won’t buy any of your music, and you’ll be broke and hungry. No one will ever like you again…unless you do what I say and break up with HER!” That sounds like some crazy horror movie. It almost sounds like a “stick-up” from an old western film. If people are this crazy, there’s a whole lot of people we need to send to mental wards.

I hope those fans never return to EXO. This weeded out the REAL fans, the fans who loved them for their music and not their bodies. I’m glad the fans who treated EXO like objects are gone. And they say SM treats it’s idols like robots. Just as I said on my last article, SM drives wherever the fans (money) goes. If anything, SM is only reflecting the fans’ demands.

And it’s not that women only focus on looks, they focus on the members’ “television” personalities. Sometimes, through these variety shows and interviews, fans form bonds with these idols. Sometimes, they get TOO close with them, to the point they’ve attached themselves to a fantasy perception of this idol. Sometimes what we see on these interviews are PROFESSIONAL FACES. Many idols put on a pleasant face, their nicest, most charming qualities, and give it to the public. But that person isn’t showing their complete personality.

Women always want to be respected in everything, and are always the first to complain about being objectified. Perhaps it’s because women have so much experience objectifying themselves and others. A rat can smell a rat. This is some serious objectifying.

Men usually don’t respect women in sports, true enough, but how many women respect men in music? Women make up the largest consumers of music, especially in K-pop. These women don’t respect what men DO, they only respect how they LOOK doing it. It’s the less evolved form of woman.

The Jungian principle highlights this well. –> Click Me

To prove that women make up the largest consumer crowd in K-pop, I’m going to create a poll.

I’ll bet the majority of you who read this will be females.

Even though women objectify the other female idols in K-pop, too (only liking an artist because they are pretty), they don’t care to get angry if one of them is dating…unless they are dating a boy-band favorite.

More on Teen girls and Boy bands

I sadly read the comments from these fans of Baekhyun.

*”It’s not that I hate EXO and Baekhyun, I just don’t approve of his relationship with HER. And fans accept his relationship, they just don’t approve of it.”

Not approving of a relationship means you haven’t truly accepted it. And when you ask what their reasons for not approving of this relationship are, they have some of the dumbest reasons. It’s not like Taeyeon has shown herself to be a BAD person. What’s there not to approve of? Oh, I get it. You don’t approve of it because you’re jealous. But what does that have to do with the EXO member’s MUSICAL? What does that have to do with you being entertained by MUSIC? It doesn’t.

*”It was too soon for EXO to be dating. They just became idols, and they got so big halfway because of their female fans”.

Why is it too soon for EXO to be dating? Karmin debuted married! So? If it were about the music, who cares who they are dating? If they truly impressed you with their talents and skills, wouldn’t you be paying money to see that? If you’re paying money just to see them and not their music, that’s not only deceptive, but that sounds like you’ll have even less of a chance of gaining the love of your idol. Why would EXO want to be around someone who is pretending to like their music only to get closer to them? That’s no different from men who deceptively act sweet and charming just to get a girl, and yet girls always want to preach against that.

Sure, this isn’t only a K-pop thing. Even in the country I live in, the USA, girls treat their favorite celebrities like objects. Look at how girls treat One Direction. Look at how badly people slam them when they even think about dating someone. However, the very difference between K-pop artists and American artists are what they expect from musical artists. In K-pop, the biggest artists are the ones that have an obsessive following. Most of the biggest artists are objectified. The Korean artists that aren’t so good-looking struggle to dominate the charts…Ironically…

In America, the first K-pop artist to break in was Psy. Not because he was attractive, not because he had a sweet personality, but Americans respected his wacky, satirical art. Though many of our youth enjoy hot celebrities as much as the next person, many average people are famous. Look at Adele, Susan Boyle, even Miley Cyrus! These artists are big for their art. This is probably why so many people want to make it big in the American industry. Artists have more creative freedom. Artists are less defined by their looks and more defined by their product. Sure, we get all up in people’s business. But there are so many artists with problems, dating scandals are minor. And even if someone acts like a retard, it’s not enough to stop people from buying their music if it’s good. Miley Cyrus isn’t the most morally conservative, but people still buy her hits if the music is good! Michael Jackson’s name was smeared, but his albums still make billions, even after his death.

This is not to say the USA was always like this. The 1990’s “bubblegum pop” era posed the same issues. Hot, young pop idols dominated the music industry. Boy bands marked the mid to late ’90s. But we left that scene behind, and for good reason: we were losing touch with what real art is even about.

I hope that K-pop eventually comes to a point where it’s idols are respected more for their talents and skills, and less for their charms and beauty.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you people think about this issue.

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