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Why I Can’t Seem To Grasp My Favorite Childhood TV Characters Grown Up (Raven’s Home Reboot, Following Fuller House and Girl Meets World)

23 Jul

Hello ya’ll!

So, recently I was one of the nostalgic adults who tuned in July 21st to watch the premiere of That’s So Raven‘s reboot now called Raven’s Home.

That’s So Raven was a comedy sitcom, possibly Disney’s first, made officially by the channel, about a teenage psychic who often sees something happening in the future and tries (mostly unsuccessfully) to stop the vision from coming true or to help a good vision come true. This obviously left room for a lot of humor, gags, and delightful slapstick. The three lead characters, Raven, Chelsea, and Eddie, really brought the show to life. They all had excellent comedic timing, great chemistry, and plenty of great actors to back the characters up, which helped to make this “kid’s show” into something for the whole family.

But there is something extra special about watching the show through the eyes of an on-screen teenager. Teenagers are not too young, but they aren’t too old either. They are usually free agents with their whole life ahead of them. They don’t have kids, so they can be as independent and fun as they like. At the same time, they aren’t so young they lose touch with adult issues. And yet, it’s fun to watch them live for the moment.

Even as adults, we long for the days of our youth, when life was simpler. It has been great to return to old re-runs of That’s So Raven on Disney Rewind just to re-experience that magic. It’s great to go back to a time when there were no smart phones, and fidget spinners, and when we had those flamboyant sparkly clothes and feathery jackets.

And, for me, that really doesn’t seem too long ago. For me, I’m still the teen I was 10 years ago. I can’t imagine even being an adult…And yet, I am. I have adult problems and issues now. I worry about my future. I worry about getting older and sicker. I no longer have that confidence in my youth.

Yet, in some ways I’m more confident and more successful and happier, too. It’s weird.

Sure, I’m still in my late 20s. But I’m not getting any younger. My friends are married with kids. They no longer can enjoy the same fun pastimes we used to enjoy as teens, like Laser Tag, ice skating, and horseback riding (though I still enjoy all immensely). We all have bills to pay and homes to pay for. It’s just not the same.

Of course, there are some perks to being an adult. Sure. But whenever we wanted to return to the past, shows like That’s So Raven was there.

Now, with the reboot Raven’s Home, Raven Baxter, the wacky psychic teen we grew to love, is older and is now a MOM. Wrapping my mind around this has been challenging, I must admit. The teen that used to make fun of her parents for being embarrassing, the teen that used to trick her parents or try to get out of sticky situations regarding her parents, is now that parent.

She now has two twin children, one of which is also psychic. So, she isn’t the focus anymore.

Trust me, I knew what I was getting into when I watched this show. But I didn’t realize how much it would hit me until the episode ended into the credits.

I’m old.

This is probably how many fans felt after watching Girl Meets World. I didn’t truly understand because Boy Meets World was popular even after the teens went off to college and even after Cory proposed to Tapanga back then. I was still pretty young during that episode. Fuller House may have had the same effect on fans. To us, 10 years or 20 years was not that long ago, but with many kids reminding us that they’ve never heard of these shows, we begin to think, “Am I really that old?” And now our favorite characters are parents, too? And trying to appeal to kids that know nothing of their greatness?

Girl Meets World

I think the shock for our generation (or for me rather) is because maybe we feel like we’ve grown up too fast. Our time seems to have sped even faster than our parents’ time. We’re also mostly at a standstill, still struggling to build careers, and not really settled financially, physically, politically, and socially (according to some experts).  We’re just not following the “rites of passage” to the letter like former generations. Even the two lead actresses, Raven and Anneliese van der Pol, don’t really have a family with kids and seem like real-life bachelorettes, even though they are in their 30s.

I think the two are playing really empowering roles as two single moms raising their kids on their own. I admire that aspect. They are bringing new kids along to help them navigate this new generation. We, as adults, are also navigating in this new generation’s world. These kids were born in the 2000s. We were not.

And yet, we just can’t see ourselves as adults because we kind of grew up in the Y2K era too.

I think what makes Raven’s Home particularly hitting is that the original show was even newer than Boy Meets World and Full House. It just ended in 2007, near the end of the last decade. Anything “2000s” doesn’t sound old. Hannah Montana and High School Musical had come out before the end of That’s So Raven (and we know how iconic those still are). The generation that followed That’s So Raven aren’t just in their 20s and early 30s. Some of the demographic is in their TEENS. My younger cousins were 6 and 7 years old watching That’s So Raven. Now, they are 16 and 17 watching Raven’s Home, and they’re just like, “She’s a mom now?”

Even though Raven was always older than my cousins were back then, she was still pretty young and really cool to a kid who admires their teenage older sisters and cousins. She wasn’t a mom. That generation is still looking for that youth in Raven, for someone who is figuring out their life as maybe a young college student or as a free bachelor seeking to live a glamorous life (like what we have seen with Sex and the City or Friends, only in a kid-friendlier version). The glam factor goes out the window when our favorite characters become parents themselves. I don’t know why that’s so. Maybe because we don’t like glamorizing parenthood to young impressionable children, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s less sexy. Maybe because kids don’t want to think about having kids. I can think of hundreds of reasons why people prefer single and childless characters to those bogged down with a family, even if none of the reasons are rational. It’s just not appealing to watch the parent and everyone falls more in love with the kids (if these kids can act and charm a crowd).

Even Spider-Man got more praise when they brought his character back to high school in the newest Homecoming Warrior. And it seems Spider Man has always been more popular as a teen than he was depicted as an adult.

The adult characters that do make it into shows or cinema are usually more popular when they are single without a family. Possibly because this helps to give the effect to the audience that the characters need to grow, learn, and experience throughout this show or movie, which creates all kinds of story-telling and fantasies for fans. But none of it actually is final, and that’s what makes it great.

With Raven’s Home, with her having her family, it almost seems like her life as a teenage psychic, that chapter, is over. And that’s what makes me so sad about it all.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the kids in the show. Chelsea’s “son” Levi (played by Jason Maybaum) is a showstopper. He’s cute and can manage to land excellent comedic timing. But am I alone in wishing there had been no kids? When I thought of a “reboot”, I thought of them being older, but maybe the focus. I also didn’t imagine these children as really theirs. Maybe they were kids who lived in the building and came to cause mischief (like Cory, Stanley, and Devon’s sister have done in the original show). But theirs? I wasn’t ready.

Then there’s the problem with “modern acting”. The era of the child star, where movies used to set a high standard for what a good little actor was, has gotten more lenient. These kids just don’t have the same star factor as kids from the 1980s and 1990s (though it made those kids’ lives miserable).

And so, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really like reboots like this. I do often long for the old days, but the actual “old days”. Not reboots, not remakes, and not spin-offs. I like shows better as re-runs. There are some reboots that have done really well, especially in the cinema area. But on TV, I haven’t seen many great reboots.

Raven’s Home actually was the best I’ve ever seen. It’s actually funny and I want to see how it goes in the future.

I was not as impressed with Girl Meets World. The characters we watched the show for brought little to the show besides some throwbacks here and there. And I was less interested in their daughter and her more cliche teen story. Most of her drama dealt with relationships, which was just corny. I know it was Disney doing it this time, but it shouldn’t have been done.

After seeing these reboots, I think I’ll pass on asking for reboots in the future. Some people are happy to see their favorite characters return, and they don’t care in what fashion.

But here’s some reasons why I can’t grasp this concept, the concept that makes our favorite characters grown up with kids:

It’s Different

It’s not just different in the sense that it’s a different show. When reboots happen, certain characters are replaced by new actors (which I heard is happening to Orlando Brown’s character Eddie), characters are omitted, and new characters are added. The theme song changes (sometimes to a less likable one because the popular styles have changed). The demographic shift changes the tone of the show. And the overall product is usually quite the opposite of what fans really wanted when they asked for a reboot in the first place.

This “difference” can make or break the show. Most times, the show is broken by the shift in focus. When people fall in love with a show, they just don’t fall in love with some characters and the concept of the show. Everyone on that set worked to make that show a success. Everyone from that show brought a different flavor. Without even one of those key characters, a reboot can feel stale or empty. It just doesn’t have the same fire. It’s even worse when the original MAIN character is no longer the main.

Sure, we know some people will make an appearance. But we know that those appearances will be temporary mostly, not key. If the characters were single without a family, we could kind of see them attaching to new people as well as adding older people, which could help the characters grow as if they are still the same people they were 10 years ago, still navigating life and trying to find themseles. We could even see a more adult show, a show that connects to the demographic that will mostly appreciate the reboot. We would actually have gotten a continuation.

But with a reboot comes a new focus, like in Raven’s Home‘s case. They basically have a new lead character (though we know Raven is the real character driving the story home). The child is the focus and is the one supposed to be bringing the humor to the new audience. But the younger child doesn’t have the same star power, and that’s what makes this concept weaker than the original. They’re going to have a lot to live up to. Stories about kids are also not as appealing as stories about teens.

But using having the kids play as a focus kind of works in Raven’s Home‘s favor because then we get to see how the psychic gene works. We get to see how a child could inherit these abilities. Still, it’s just weird to see Raven walking around with babies. Raven and Chelsea in the show haven’t changed personality-wise, and they just seem like they would be better as big sisters than mommies. But maybe that’s a new approach? I don’t know. I’m skeptical.

Nickelodeon is doing right by Hey Arnold! by continuing his story this fall with the long anticipated Jungle Movie. Most of the old cast is back, key characters are back, and the story is borrowing inspiration from the past. It’s the perfect way to go about bringing old characters. The designs have only slightly changed, but not really. I wish Powerpuff Girls had come afterwards so they could learn how a reboot should be done. I hope the Rugrats reboot brings the same old characters back and doesn’t try to grow them up again.

Reboots can completely change everything. And that’s just not what I want or what I’m ready for. I just don’t like when something is fixed without being broken to begin with. I want the original. Bringing in a new focus means bringing in a different story and show, not the show I loved.

The one thing that makes me happy about Raven’s Home is that the lead character is a boy. When was the last time Disney Channel had a male lead character? Even Stevens? Phil of the Future? The Suite Life of Zack and Cody? Disney XD has kind of taken over for the boys, but Disney Channel is the oldest and has the strongest fanbase. It’s about time.

I know a lot of people will say “Well, Disney is trying to bring this to a new audience. That’s why they brought kids along”. Of course, that’s true. But they didn’t have to make Raven and Chelsea moms to do that, and they didn’t have to make them “B-story” characters either.

Look at the success of Jessie starring Debbie Ryan. She was the lead character, not the kids. She played an adult nanny. And it turned out successful. I don’t think shifting the focus on Raven and Chelsea would’ve made this show any less interesting to kids. In fact, I think more people would find it interesting.

There are people who claim Girl Meets World didn’t hit it off with the primary demographic because “kids aren’t familiar with Boy Meets World“. I’d say the real issue is that there wasn’t enough focus on the people we learned to love in Boy Meets World, the people who really brought the comedy, fun, and depth. And when they did show up, they were corny, overly involved in their daughter’s life and didn’t seem to have lives of their own. And their daughter’s life wasn’t as interesting as theirs in their own series. Her trials were, quite frankly, stupid and over dramatic. There were hardly any funny moments either.

Sabrina Carpenter’s character Maya would’ve made a more interesting offspring than Rowan Blanchard’s character Riley (Cory’s daughter). But I guess with a now-preachy father like Corey and a corporate mom like Tapanga, Riley was the best they could come up with out of the union.

Sure, Boy Meets World had teachable moments, but ’90s comedies knew how to balance that with comedy well. Properly, shows back then touched on sex, violence, gangs, drugs, and peer pressure. Girl Meets World mostly touched on shallow cliche tween subjects like boyfriend issues and finding your own individuality. Then it had no “realism” about it. Sure, Boy Meets World had some out-of-the-box parts, but there was a slice of realism and life about it.

Throughout the reboot, classrooms were interrupted with Riley’s personal life. Everything was forced to teach her lessons, she didn’t gather her lessons from “real” classroom lessons or real life, like Cory did in the original. And unlike Mr. Feeney, Cory couldn’t seem to tell the difference between his classroom and his house. He showed so much favoritism to his daughter and her friends in the classroom, I’m surprised none of the other students reported him. Her father would literally change his classroom subjects to surround the topics on her. I understand this is her world, but it made the show really unrealistic, especially in comparison to the original. Scenes changed awkwardly and each story was just over-the-top for little reasons. This show had moral lessons, but for things that weren’t really deep at the core.

Cory and his wife Tapanga were once dorky and likable kids in the original show. Riley and her lover Luke, on the other hand, are perfect and popular. They are one-dimensional in comparison. And this is because they had a good foundation with the already fleshed out characters from Boy Meets World. How complex could their lives be? We didn’t really need Riley’s perspective at all.

Fuller House is better because Full House never gave us the illusion that the show centered on kids and teens. It centered on the family. This show is more like a continuation than a reboot. The show always focused on adults and we’ve watched the Tanner kids grow up into adults throughout the original.

The good part about the show is some of the key characters are still the key characters, if not more important than they were originally. The kids are now the main characters, but their father and uncles are pretty important, too.

Still, all the characters we felt were cool kids back in the day are now lame adults, and there are new less memorable kids to replace them. I feel bad for the new kids.

Different isn’t always bad. But in the case of a reboot, many times it just feels so different, it doesn’t feel as good.

So far, Raven’s Home brings enough comedy to keep my attention for awhile. Hopefully, it maintains the same level of humor as That’s So Raven. Still, it just feels different.

The Actors Have Changed

And I don’t mean changed as in they switched actors for a role. I mean the actors themselves usually have changed by the time of a reboot. Some haven’t been acting in years, which makes things a little hard for them and also makes it noticeable to the audience.

Actors who have had other acting experiences or other life experiences end up changing their character’s aura, which can always bring depth to a character but can also make the character seem like a stranger to the audience. Especially when that character is now nothing like expected or isn’t as likable as they once were.

With re-runs, the fun never dies. With reboots, sometimes we are left saying, “They’ve really let themselves go” or “Were they really this annoying?”. Public opinion of actors can tarnish their reputation and color people’s perceptions of a show, too.

Because of all that, many reboots are destined to fail at some point.

However, I see a lot of promise with Raven’s Home. Both Raven and Anneliese have become seasoned as actors over the years, which actually helps them get back into the swing of things naturally. This is more than I can say about Boy Meets World‘s Ben Savage.

We Feel Old

I believe I mentioned this before, right? Yes, because it keeps circling in my mind over and over again.

When a show makes a reboot years after the original, we are often seeing the adaption of newer technology, newer slang, and older (sometimes older-looking) characters. I mean Raven and Chelsea in Raven’s Home are sporting “old lady” clothes, not the at-the-time fashionable, trendy, and flamboyant styles they once did. That makes us feel old, which makes us feel lame, stiff, and irrelevant. For some reason, we have been taught that being older means we’ve expired, and it’s not a good feeling to find your favorite childhood show suddenly verifying that. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I watch television to get away from the stresses of the world. I think I just realized Disney Channel is just no longer for me. But that’s exactly what makes me worry about Raven’s Home.

Watching re-runs doesn’t give me the same feeling of being “old” for some reason. It just feels like I’m young again.

My favorite book series as a kid, The Babysitters Club, is still really awesome. It’s not just because it’s about a group of kids starting a business. It’s also cool because it came out of the 1980s and 1990s. When I read it, my era comes alive again and my generation is relevant to me again.

Watching the New Edition biopic gave me that feeling. It made me think, “Yea, that was awesome. Our generation was cool. We still got it.”

Reboots with the main characters as parents and their kids set up as the main characters give me the feeling that our time has passed, that a new generation is taking over our lives, and that our chapter is closing before we’ve even established ourselves. It’s a somber thought, but one that I had when watching these reboots.

What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us

At the end of our favorite show, there’s normally a solid wrap up that let’s us know the journey has come to an end. Sure, there may be some unresolved conflicts or hanging relationships, but anything else is left up to the imagination or left hanging in the air.

Fantasies about the future of the characters can be a lot of fun, but fantasies are fantasies. Only we personally can enjoy them fully.

We can imagine that Raven Baxter has a happy marriage with her handsome boyfriend Devon. We can imagine her becoming a fashion icon, famous and fierce. Or we can imagine that fleeting relationship between Raven and Eddie getting off the ground. Whatever we imagine, at the end of That’s So Raven, the sky was the limit. Ironically, in a show about the future, That’s So Raven left the future possibilities endless. There is a certain amount of joy and excitement when there is a little mystery. This mystery might have still been there if her life still hadn’t been quite “there”, even with her being older now.

But with a family, a job, and a new start from her old relationship, Raven Baxter seems to have achieved what most in her generation actually haven’t achieved. And that means she seems to have her life set. This means, as a character, she no longer has anything to aspire to. She doesn’t seem to have any goals or dreams beyond living for her kids and reaching back in the past for things she’s lost. This is where she disconnects from the audience and becomes something we not only can’t relate to anymore, but also something we actually fear. Our generation actually has an issue with following the rites of passage (particularly when it comes to marriage and kids). There are dozens of articles showing that this generation just isn’t living like Raven on television. And of course, it’s TV, it’s not real. But That’s So Raven was just more relatable to us at the time it arrived on the scene. Even Raven Symone herself said she’s “learning to be a mom” with this show because, again, even she doesn’t have kids.

In the show, Raven Baxter might develop some long-forgotten dreams she’s had, but they will have to yield to her new role as a mom. That’s just not the same.

While we’re also peering into Raven’s new life, there are some dreams or fantasies that have already become crushed and will continue to be crushed. Any imagination we may have had about the characters have been written for us. And that’s just not as fun as leaving the end to the imagination.

Anyway, overall, I did enjoy Raven’s Home for what it was, just as I had the other reboots, but I’m just hoping it can continue to capture its audience’s attention, despite the shift in focus from Raven to her kids mostly, and despite the fact that it just isn’t That’s So Raven.

Raven Symone herself is just phenomenal in her role! She just merges so naturally with her character! Nothing feels awkward and forced! Anneliese is the same! On set and off-set during interviews, they’ve continued to entertain me. I do look forward to seeing more of them.

I just know eventually this show has to become an independent property.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Did you enjoy the show? Were there things you didn’t like as much? Did you get the same feelings I got? Let me know!

 

 

Bratz dolls VS. Feminists: “Oversexualized” or “Empowering”?

16 May

Lately, I’ve been going back into the history of Bratz, where Bratz experienced a tremendous rise in the toy industry and where Bratz took a tumble downhill. As a major Bratz fan, I still have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that these dolls are not going to be produced anymore, that they are discontinued, and that they are no longer popular. In 2016, MGA, the owners of the Bratz doll brand, announced that they were discontinuing the Bratz dolls after a less-than-glorious comeback from their hiatus the year before.

As a way to find a sense of closure, I’ve been researching all kinds of news articles on the Bratz, news that have been out since 2001. I’ve been going back into my own “archives” both online and offline.

In a former article, I reviewed what happened to the Bratz in the last couple of years, based on all the information I have: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

While flipping and clicking through everything, I’ve come to realize that feminists, moms, and Bratz dolls were never far a part from each other, but feminists and moms never really met eye to eye with the Bratz. It doesn’t surprise me that “soccer” moms are against the Bratz. Their name is “Bratz” after all. Parents may have heard the name and assumed that the dolls encouraged their girls to rebel against their parents.

However, I’ve found the Bratz to be a very empowering line of dolls in totality. That’s why it shocks me to read about so many feminists who are really against this doll brand. In fact, many feminists have openly been against the Bratz since debut. Therefore, I’ve concluded that the details that go into the Bratz’s  recent decline in popularity have at least a little to do with active feminists. How so?

Before I get into the details, let’s review how the Bratz came to be, how I got interested in the Bratz, and how (and why) they got so popular in the first place.

Bratz: The Urban Fashionistas

Carter Bryant was the original designer of the Bratz dolls who came up with the idea for the dolls after looking at a Steve Madden shoe ad in Seventeen magazine, photographed by Bernard Belair.

Bryant liked the “cartoonish” yet stylish look of the ad and wanted to create dolls with a similar appeal. To put it simply, Bratz were never meant to look realistic, but they were going to be displayed wearing the latest teen fashions.

Carter Bryant has also shared with me that he was inspired from the urban and punk scenes he always loved. He is an edgy man at heart and wanted to bring that to the Bratz doll line. When he brought the dolls to MGA, Issac Larian, the CEO, was skeptical at first, thinking their heads and feet were weird. But when Larian showed the dolls to his daughter, Jasmin Larian, she thought they were cool. The Bratz doll Yasmin was named after her.

At the Turn of the 21st Century, tweens (kids between the ages of 10 and 14) lost interest in dolls. With pop music spreading around the world, many girls were growing too “old” to be interested in toys (though I’d say it’s worse now than it was then, now that there’s this emphasis on smartphones and tablets). The doll market was experiencing a decline back then just as it is now. Many doll companies were interested in turning the new pop culture trend around in their favor. They wanted to make “up-to-date” dolls specifically for tweens so they could bring them back into the market.

Barbie was dominating the toy market, but by the 1990s, she was considered babyish.

Barbie was also criticized by minority ethnic groups for “lacking diversity” and outshining her more “diverse” friends. To many, Barbie was a sign of “White Supremacy”. After all, she was invented at a very tense racial time (1959).

Since the 1970s, feminist writers began examining entertainment designed for girls. Barbie came under fire several times throughout generations of feminists.

Feminists have been wanting to encourage self-love since then. Barbie was criticized for having unrealistic body proportions (like bigger than average boobs, a tiny waist, super thin lips, full hair, tiny feet, etc), body features that didn’t seem realistically attainable for every woman.

Bratz wasn’t the answer to everything missing in the doll industry (according to feminists), but they did solve the “diversity” problem.

The Bratz were released wearing “urban” fashions, a huge trend among youths at the Turn of the 21st Century since the rise in popularity of African American hip-hop and rap artists and labels in the 1990s. White people had also jumped on the urban trends (thanks to groups like New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys). Bratz had bigger lips than the average doll. They wore the “latest trends”, which often included cropped tops, baggy pants, and mini skirts, as well as tons of makeup. The dolls came in a variety of different “colors” and hair textures even if their actual ethnic backgrounds were left ambiguous.

I was a tween at the time of the Bratz debut in 2001, the target demographic. I was one of the children that stopped playing with dolls at 10 years old (thought I still liked to collect them as a hobby). I would say books, video games, anime, and internet consumed my life rather than pop stars and MTV. I still liked certain doll brands, like Magic Attic Club and American Girl, but I never played with the actual dolls. I mostly bought the books, not the dolls. I completely lost interest in the regular Barbie doll (though Generation Girl Dolls peaked my interest for a short time).

To me, as someone who lost interest in playing with Barbies at 10, Bratz were amazing. As an African American, I was happy to see dolls with full lips, full thick hair, and urban fashions commonly worn in my own black community (and not the cookie-cutter suburbanite outfits I often saw on my Barbies as a kid in the 1990s).

That’s why it was perplexing to find that most of the articles kept describing the dolls as “oversexualized” and “materialistic”. I couldn’t understand it at 11 years old. “What’s so sexual about them?” I kept asking myself. Their clothes were cool and urban to me, not sexual. I couldn’t see how baggy pants and beanie caps (included in the 1st edition of Bratz) were even “sexual” in nature. The dolls carried a lot of sass and attitude. They seemed bold and confident to me. The quality was impeccable and very realistic at the time. If anything, these dolls were gender-defying for me! They were not prim, perfect, pink, and prissy. They said “So what!” to fashion norms and boundaries that told girls to be “presentable, lest you tempt the manfolk”.

It truly surprised me to see so many feminists set against the Bratz.

As I got older, I began to understand the feminists’ concerns a little more than I did as a child, but I still don’t agree with many of their assumptions about the Bratz.

Let me give you a little history about myself.

I’m not your typical doll collector. I’m not only an adult, I’m an androgynous tomboy. As a child, I was a complete tomboy. My parents, particularly my mother, would often dress me in dresses, but she was very strict about how I should eat when dressed up, how I had to wear each article of clothing perfectly, and she schooled me on the people I had to please (particularly friends and neighbors). I got verbally (and sometimes physically) assaulted at times for wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong outfit. As I got older, because of these experiences, I began to reject social femininity. When I got more control of my fashion choices, I made sure to avoid dresses and skirts as much as possible.  I became mostly uninterested in clothes and makeup. I prefer to dress comfortably. I became convinced that “femininity” was all about conforming socially, pleasing others, and dressing the part in every situation. Social femininity was translated as “threatening” to me.

So it might make people wonder how I could be interested in such a fashion-conscious doll line like the Bratz.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t see what many of these news journalists and feminists saw in the Bratz. When I first saw the 2001 1st Edition Bratz, I saw their art versions, which displayed four girls in urbanized fashions in the sickest artwork ever. They all wore baggy jeans and sporty crop tops! If anything they looked like tomboys with makeup on!

The clash of femininity and tomboyishness made me feel thrilled and excited. Bratz did renew my interest in fashion, but not as a way to please or impress others. Bratz made me realize that fashion could be used to express oneself, to express ideas, to express art. Bratz inspired me to take my boyish looks to the next level which was why I got interested in different androgynous looks. I became unafraid to look different. I became unafraid of the controversy.

I was an outcast in middle school and high school. I was different. I was not only a tomboy, but a Black girl who enjoyed world music (like Japanese and Turkish music), among many genres including rock and roll, and enjoyed anime and video games. I never dressed up, so everyone thought I was weird. I looked like a 10 year old because I was so petite and never did my hair in the latest styles (which made me look even younger). I wore glasses and didn’t care for contacts. I would wear the same clothes year after year. I didn’t care, as long as they were clean. Many people thought I was a lesbian because I didn’t date in high school. Most of the guys thought I was too skinny to be attractive anyway. I didn’t have curves. When they discovered I wasn’t a lesbian, that confused them even more.

When Bratz were introduced, they were just the kind of thing I was looking for in the world. The Bratz not only renewed my interest in fashion but in the fashion doll industry in general. The dolls also helped me come to terms with my own individuality.

I always loved dolls, even in high school. I didn’t play with them; I just liked collecting them and taking pictures. I collected a lot of 18″ dolls mostly. After the Bratz came out, I was looking for fashion dolls like them. There were few dolls like them though.

I wasn’t ashamed of liking dolls, though I’m certain many teenagers would’ve been. I think after dealing with being forced to fit standards as a child, I had this counter-culturalist in me just waiting to break free. I didn’t think I was feminine at all, and so I rejected it in myself and in others.

Even though they were just dolls, Bratz helped me understand myself. My interest in them revealed something about myself. I realized I hadn’t lost touch with my femininity or my own sense of woman, I just had a different kind and that was okay. I realized that there were many ways to define  “being a woman”.

Bratz helped me at a difficult time, when I felt like I had to fit all of these standards. Unlike me, Bratz could do whatever they wanted to do. They had the courage and bravery, despite the backlash, to just be. It was obvious by their outrageous fashions, their exciting movies, and strong music that they just didn’t care. Much of their music still inspires me, like Bratz Forever Diamondz “Yasmin”‘s “Hang On”.

To me, the Bratz had a very strong empowering message of teaching girls to be confident and comfortable with who they are, no matter what anyone says.

When I saw their outfits, though, they seemed to wear mostly costumes rather than “regular” fashions. They reflected the latest styles with a twist. I was impressed with the detail, the various accessories, and the quality (hair that felt soft and thick, jeans made from actual jean material, etc), as well as the creative and bold themes.

Bratz also set many trends and broke many fashion rules. I liked Bratz because they reflected my own liberation from society’s norms. And at the time, they were the only dolls doing this.

Nowadays, there are many dolls empowering girls in many different ways. Many dolls out today have been inspired from the Bratz. Still, I have a special place in my heart for these dolls because they encouraged me to be bold and different, to be innovative and creative, and to think outside of the box.

My other favorite part about Bratz was that a blonde white girl wasn’t at the center. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Barbies, too, which I’ll go into further later. But Bratz offered me something I never could let go of, something I could relate to more personally.

Bratz had a variety of different characters eventually, of many shades, with most being dolls of color. I was so happy when MGA released Felicia, an actual dark-skinned doll that was designed beautifully and stylish! Many other Black characters have been in the Bratz franchise as well.

Sasha looks gorgeous in her “natural” hair!

Even though the Bratz dolls came in many shades, Black and Latino culture initially influenced much of the doll brand. From the styles, to the music (as you could tell above), to the full lips and thick hair, down to the urban fashion, Bratz were meant to appeal to a wider ethnic demographic.

In the early 2000s, gangster rap was just sizzling down. Many people outside of the black community (and even some of the old-school generation within) looked down on “urban” fashions and felt it represented “deviant” culture. This is partially why Bratz carried even more controversy at debut. Many people compared them to “urban thugs”. But most of the fashion was widely accepted among black and Latino/Hispanic cultures.

The more rebellious Bratz appeared, the more I loved them. Did it mean I was a bad girl and that I didn’t want to follow any rules? Of course not. But I did recognize that I don’t have to let others define me or decide the type of clothing I needed to wear socially. The Bratz showed me that I can represent alternatives in fashion and let that make its own statement.

Of course, we do have to consider some things socially when picking our clothes, but adding a little creativity and imagination to our wardrobe also adds to our individuality (along with our personalities). Bratz taught me that.

Eventually, Bratz brought in wild lines like Tokyo-ago-go, Space Angelz, Rock Angelz, Pretty N Punk, and many others to the mix. That just gave me more courage to speak out and embrace my individuality.

Some Feminists’ Issues with the Bratz

It baffles me how many people don’t realize just how influential feminists and moms were when it came to the Bratz’s 2015 transformation and sudden decline. Yes, other factors contributed to the Bratz dolls’ decline in popularity (such as the ongoing court battles between Mattel, owners of Barbie, and MGA, owners of Bratz). But the recent comeback, as well as the one in 2010, was obviously specifically “watered down” to appeal to moms and feminists, which didn’t go over so well with many of the fans of the brand.

The moment MGA released the first batch of dolls in 2015, MGA shared a facebook post called New Bratz dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to be Yourself”. The article states that the dolls give a message that “won’t make parents cringe”. MGA must have realized that moms and feminists didn’t approve of the original Bratz and they wanted to ease the criticisms. Women have a lot of power and influence in the retail industry, believe it or not. MGA posted that article to show how Bratz have become more “innocent” in the last couple of years. They tried to put less makeup on the dolls, they made the outfits cuter, and made the eyes bigger so they wouldn’t look sassy or like they have “attitude”. It still didn’t work. Feminists still felt they were “underwhelming“. All it did was make the fans less interested in them and made the feminists criticize them even more.

The few feminists that are/were supportive of the Bratz have mostly been supportive of Bratz’s ethnic diversity and “ethnic” features (such as large lips, thick hair, and slanted eyes).

But most of these feminists overlook any of the positive regarding these dolls.

After reviewing many articles from feminists about the Bratz, I’ve learned that they take several issues with them (issues I find confusing):

  1. Their usage of makeup
  2. Their “sexualized” clothes and features
  3. Their unrealistic body proportions
  4. Their name
  5. Their “materialism”
  6. Their slogan

These Bratz dolls got an amazing feminist makeover

Tree Change

This artist is giving Bratz an awesome feminist Makeover

Bratz Is Not Happy That I Said Their Dolls Do Molly 

The Unsluttification Of Bratz?

Over-sexed and over here: The ‘tarty’ Bratz Doll

New Bratz dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to be Yourself”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-411266/Over-sexed-The-tarty-Bratz-Doll.html#ixzz4gPS3FGyI

How to Explain Monster High and Other Hyper-Sexualized Dolls to Young Kids

Now, many of these comparisons are made right alongside the Barbie doll. As mentioned before, feminists’ first gripe with the fashion doll industry came with Barbie. Barbie has been pretty influential in girls’ lives and she has been an icon of fashion and materialism. She has been a staple of femininity for even adult women. Many feminists have examined how Barbie influenced girls and were afraid the Bratz, who seemed to carry some of the same “problems”, would influence girls much the same way.

But here’s where I think some of these feminists miss the mark.

Yes, sometimes girls often imitate their dolls in various ways and grow up to be inspired by these dolls. However, from my experience working with children and being a child during the Barbie and Bratz era, I would definitely say it depends on the context and the way the dolls are presented. It also depends on one’s own life experiences. Barbie and Bratz gave me two different vibes and that influenced my perception of the dolls, myself, and womanhood in general.

I don’t think Barbie and Bratz give a similar message at all. I think the feminists that think they do only know that the Bratz are considered fashion dolls, but know nothing else about them otherwise. These feminists may have seen one or two lines with the Bratz in more “conventional” fashion, but more than likely they didn’t dig deeper than that.

Let me explain why Bratz and Barbie are so very different and how this affects each of their messages to girls.

Bratz Vs. Barbie

I will share the history of both brands a little more because I believe the very inspiration behind the dolls shows how each was meant to affect girls.

As mentioned before, Bratz was designed to represent a “cartoonish” and yet stylish look, while also reflecting underground subcultures in fashion. Their inspiration came from an ad in a teen magazine.

Barbie was thought up by Ruth Handler, a woman who often watched her daughter Barbara pretend her paper dolls were adults. Ruth saw an opening in the market for adult-designed dolls rather than the usual baby dolls and paper dolls available.

When visiting Germany, she saw the Bild Lilli Doll, based off the popular German comic strip character. Bild Lilli was a beautiful bombshell woman who worked but was not above using men to suit her aims. The comic strip and the dolls were designed for adults, but kids would often take the dolls and mix and match her fashion.

Arguably, Barbie is the inspiration for all fashion dolls that came afterwards, so all fashion dolls will be watched by skeptics. But the intention behind the doll is significant when it comes to the art and presentation of the doll.

Barbie was designed to be an adult figure for girls to imagine and aspire to be. Initially, she was presented as an ideal adult female figure (more so from the White upper-class perspective).

I can honestly tell you, as a 6 and 7 year old, that was exactly what I thought of when I played with Barbie. Barbie may not look totally realistic in her proportions, but she looks realistic enough from a child’s perspective, and she looks realistic enough for women to “aspire” to “obtain” her look. Sure, her breasts are bigger than the average woman’s, especially on someone that thin, but breasts like that didn’t seem impossible to me as a child. In fact, Barbie looked like many of the blonde women I saw on Baywatch (which I often caught glimpses of on tv in the 1990s).

Thus, it was obvious in my mind’s eye that Barbie fit a perceived beauty standard.

In my mind, Barbie had several differences from me. She was blonde, tall, white, and wore clothes only the wealthy could wear. I never aspired to be blonde and white like her, however she reminded me of all the adult women around me. I didn’t see too many women who deviated from the “norm” socially as a child. I would always imagine doing what my mother did when playing with my Barbies.

When I played with Barbie, I didn’t see myself, and that influenced how I felt about her as I got older. As I got older, I saw that I was not growing into an adult like Barbie. I began to disconnect with the doll. I saw my mother and everything she was: a glamorous working woman who could do anything she put her mind to.  I didn’t see much substance in Barbie at all, though. And that may imply that I really didn’t see much substance in the women around me. It implies it and it is true.

However, even though I couldn’t relate to her, I admired her pink empire. I longed to live her wealthy, high-class life, a life my broke Black behind would have a difficult time achieving.

In the 1990s, she came with literally everything. But she had no “real” set personality, no real individuality. All of her friends were just ethnic versions of her that you could hardly find in stores. They literally often wore the same outfits as Barbie, though it would sometimes be in a different color.

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

As a kid, I wanted to be more “successful” like her, but I knew that I was too different to want to be like her completely. I wasn’t girly enough to pull of being a Barbie. Many of my other friends wanted to have straight, blonde hair like Barbie. They wanted the perfect body when they grew up, like she had. They wanted to drive pink cars like Barbie. They wanted to live in mansions like she did. They wanted a handsome boyfriend like Ken. Many of them ended up doing those things in the future, perfectly fitting the social package. I can amusingly say that they often look like clones of one another, trying to outdo each other when it comes to the latest trends.

Bratz, in contrast, never had a body to “aspire” to obtain. They literally looked like cartoon characters. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting heads and feet as big as theirs. In fact, big heads and big feet are normally considered ugly in America! The Bratz made it look cool. As someone who had big feet, I appreciated that. But I never heard anyone “aspire” to have a big head or big feet like them. It became clear that their proportions were not designed to fit an “ideal” but rather they literally were made to be disproportionate.

Sure, they were skinny. But their breasts were not large. Even being skinny, no kid would honestly think their bodies are normal enough to pay attention. My friends and I would always make fun of the Bratz heads and feet. We didn’t sigh with envy, that’s for certain. But the outfits were super creative. It was hard not to anticipate what they would think of next.

Each doll was different in some way from the other. Not only were there dolls of various colors, but each doll had their own wicked fashion sense and personality. They were very individual and not outshined by the “white” doll. The four core dolls were treated equally at debut, which I appreciated.

The Bratz were not designed to fit the usual beauty standard. They were meant to reflect the underground cultures, cultures that have developed a sense of community to help them cope with being an outcast. Therefore, in my mind, Bratz produced the opposite response of wanting to “imitate” and rather encouraged individuals like me to be “themselves” and strike out boldly. At 11, I was thinking that if each Bratz girl looks different, and has her own passion for fashion, that means all of us are different. We don’t all have to look and be the same. It encouraged me to find my own unique sense of style, not be the doll I saw in front of me (unlike with Barbie).

Barbie’s other media entertainment, like her movies, showed her as a gorgeous, glamorous lady who could do anything. Bratz movies showed four individual sassy teens who liked to hang out, dress up at times, dabble in their hobbies, and go on amazing adventures. The Bratz never seemed as shallow as Barbie.

Bratz Boyz were a stark contrast to Ken. Though they are all fashion dolls, the Bratz boyz weren’t just accessories for the girls. They had their own lines, several individual ethnic appearances and personalities, many different hair textures and styles, and just as much detail as the girls. Boys were not ashamed to admire them. Girls saw more than just boyfriends in these dolls. In fact, only one of the main characters “crush” on a Bratz Boy. But that boy has his own interests, his own personality, and his own style.

With the differences settled, let’s address these issues feminists have with the Bratz directly.

“Too Much Makeup”

Feminists across the board have been very critical of the Bratz’s overuse of makeup.

Some feminists believe that the Bratz have perfectly made-up faces, which teaches girls that they have to wear makeup to look perfect.

Among feminists, makeup in general has been controversial. Feminists are determined to break the social expectation that encourages girls to be too interested in their appearance. Unlike men, women are often expected to appear perfect, without flaws. This has been linked to women being treated like objects rather than creatures of “substance”. Many jobs around the world won’t hire women or will fire women if they don’t wear makeup. Feminists have been pushing for women to embrace their natural features and colors without a “mask”. They have been pushing for businesses to remove the makeup standards/policies or equalize them (pushing men to also wear more makeup).

One look at the first Bratz dolls, and a feminist would definitely think the Bratz’s usage of makeup further encourages these harsh makeup standards in young ladies. As someone who doesn’t wear makeup, I completely understand this concern.

On the other hand, feminists also preach against body-policing and believe that women should be free to indulge in whatever they enjoy. If a woman truly enjoys makeup, does that make her a product of the patriarchal system and less feminist?

Some feminists recognize that makeup can be used artistically. Many feminists believe that if women truly enjoy makeup, and don’t look at it as a necessary tool to hide their “flaws”, then it isn’t necessarily anti-feminist.

Some feminists don’t think women should be controlled to either extreme considering some companies also control how much makeup a woman wears, which isn’t fair either.

Still, there are feminists out there who believe a real feminist would not support makeup at all and they often do shame women who wear it.

Admittedly, Bratz are designed with a ton of makeup on. However, I think it would be unfair to compare Bratz’s use of makeup to other fashion dolls’ usage, like Barbie’s, or any other usage of makeup that is deemed designed to make someone look “perfect”.

When looking at Barbie, for example, Barbie’s “makeup” has consistently been painted on her face to give her the ideal packaged look for every generation. She is literally considered “gorgeous” with it on. She has the perfectly colored cheeks, darkened eyelashes, and perfectly lined lipstick. Her face is clear of blemishes, moles, freckles, and any other “imperfections” she could possibly have. Her eyebrows are perfectly arched and tweaked. Even the best makeup artist can’t get a real girl’s face that beat. Barbie is plastic perfection. Any girl who admires her will want to be plastic perfection as well. Her made-up beauty fits a conventional standard, yet no woman can ever really look like her 100%. Real women get older. Real women have wrinkles, freckles, beauty marks, moles, scraggly eyebrows, and all the other distinct features. And yet, real women do make themselves up to look like Barbie all the time.

Bratz’s use of makeup is/was entirely different.

For starters, the makeup wasn’t designed to hide any “imperfections”. The Bratz doll Yasmin had a mole under her left eye. Her makeup didn’t hide that mole. Other Bratz dolls had moles and freckles, too.

Though, admittedly, a lot of the Bratz makeup was polished, there were many times their makeup was experimental and could hardly ever really be called “perfect”.

Take Bratz Space Angelz Cloe for example.

What is perfect about her makeup? Nothing at all! Her lipstick is asymmetrical, hardly what I would call “designed to appeal”. It would be fair to argue that anyone who wears their makeup like this is looking for attention, but it’s hardly the sexual or attractive kind. While Barbie’s makeup was clearly created so she could look pleasing out in public, this makeup is hardly what I would call public-friendly.

Any child who imitated this would end up getting stared down by the public, and maybe even teased and mocked. I’m sure most children were/are aware of that. But it’s clear that the makeup is different and unique. Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to see that the Bratz are giving a different message with their makeup. They are showing just how artistic and creative it can be, even if it isn’t necessarily attractive! They are showing that it’s okay to do something different with makeup! It definitely doesn’t give the message that girls have to wear makeup to appear normal. In fact, the above doll line made makeup seem very unusual, almost abnormal. Even makeup’s rules were bent by the Bratz dolls!

Much of the Bratz’s other makeup was used to match up with the theme or subculture they represented. Pretty N Punk, for example, represented punk culture. Many punk princesses wear dark makeup to show their edge and fierceness. They don’t wear it to appear “attractive” or sexy or perfect. Male rock stars often wear eyeliner and black lipstick, too, and I’m sure it’s not to appear more attractive and perfect.

Most guys might think these styles are cool, but hardly any of them would consider these girls “bombshells”. It’s easy to tell that their makeup was purely designed to better make a statement rather than to appear perfect, without imperfections.

Again, Bratz used makeup in a variety of ways, even in more conventional ways. But because of their constant changes, they never managed to give the impression that they wore makeup to please others. They never gave the message that a girl had to wear makeup to appear attractive. They literally seemed to just be having fun with it. As a tween, I liked that.

Bratz may not have been the fresh-faced, innocent-looking, demure dolls mommies wanted, but they weren’t exactly anti-feminist either.

By feminists criticizing the Bratz usage of makeup, it’s as if they are placing a rule on who gets to be a feminist. So, are they implying women who enjoy trying different makeup tricks aren’t feminists? This leads to greater questions about modern feminism.

Sure, makeup was created by men and is a reminder of the “patriarchy”. But so is everything in our societies. Does that mean makeup is bad and can’t be used for positive and creative purposes? Absolutely not!

Overall, I’m not sure where some of these feminists are going when they attack the usage of makeup on these dolls. I think most of them are purely ignorant about the brand.

Bratz Are “Over-sexualized”

All the articles I’ve read from feminists, especially from Jezebel, have said that the Bratz are “hyper-sexualized” dolls. What exactly makes a doll sexualized? Short skirts? Cropped tops? Makeup? Pouty Lips? Glossy eyes?

And if they do, what exactly makes these things sexualized?

They are only sexualized when people sexualize them. To say that a doll with a short skirt is sexualized is indirectly saying a woman who wears a short skirt is sexualizing herself.

That would go against most feminists’ mantra: “My clothing is not my consent”.

Haven’t we gone beyond policing a woman’s attire and attributing her wardrobe to sexual and physical attention from the opposite sex? So why is it condemned when dolls reflect just that attitude?

Arguing about dolls being over-sexualized may be more appropriate for Barbie to a certain degree because of the “intent” of some of her lines. Most of her early attire is for the physical attention of her boyfriend Ken (though even she has moved beyond that point). Barbie has been a sex icon for most men for centuries. She was inspired by a “Call-Girl” doll, Bild Lilli, a doll meant for adults. Barbie has literally had lingerie lines. She has had “pregnant” dolls.

Barbie, sex icon

Sure, Pregnant Midge isn’t wearing a fitted skirt and a lot of makeup. But she’s pregnant! This opens the doors to other controversial subjects that kids really aren’t mature enough to be exposed to (though children often witness their mothers pregnant all the time).

Barbie is meant to be a blonde, gorgeous adult woman who does “adult” things like have sex and get pregnant. And she allows girls to imagine their lives as “adult” women through playtime with her. Children who play with her are reinventing an adult lifestyle. Sometimes, this produces controversy.

But even with Barbie, should we police all of her fashion styles and attribute it solely to sex and seeking male attention? Not all of it.

If we want to talk about something being sexualized or “hyper-sexualized”, we have to consider the context of the lines the dolls are released in.

The Bratz, on the other hand, have never initiated a sexual response to anyone who played or collected them. The context of their clothing, the intent of their lines, have never been to produce a sexual response. They were intended for a tween and teen audience. They were meant to showcase the latest fashions and the most revolutionary styles out in the cultural world.

In fact, if you look up “Bratz as a sex icon” on Google, hardly anything sexual comes up except these feminists’ articles! While Barbie has many photos of a sexual nature, Bratz don’t!

Most men do not see Bratz as sexually attractive. First off, their bodies are too disproportionate to even be considered “real”.

If you want to argue that Bratz’s skirts are too short, short enough to look like underwear, let’s consider the fact that Bratz hardly wore skirts in the past.

To me, the Bratz have mostly been presented as “fashionable”, not sexy. And if fashionable is considered sexy, women and men have a problem. Clothing itself is a problem. Taste and preference is a problem.

Dolls are designed to mimic the real world around us in some ways. If we don’t want dolls to mimic the styles we find “sexualized”, then we as women need to stop wearing makeup and fashionable clothes that are too sexualized. We need to go back to the point where our skirts were below the ankles and our collars were high. But feminists fought to move away from that point. Why? Because it was uncomfortable to walk in those long, horrible skirts. The collars were itchy and hot in the summer. And it didn’t stop women from being objectified or from being looked at as sex objects.

What is considered sexualized is subjective. In the above Bratz photos, I’m still trying to scan them for any hint of sex and I don’t understand it. Someone else may be able to spot it. If some of us, like myself, can’t spot it as easily, that means it’s not as “overt” as these feminists make it out to be.

Arguably, feminists come from all walks of life, from many different religious and moral backgrounds. Some feminists are Muslim or Hindu and believe in a certain form of modesty. But there are many village women out in the world who often go topless or wear crop tops, and it isn’t considered morally indecent. It’s mostly considered practical in the heat!

If we can honor that women come from all walks of life, we should also be able to understand that the Bratz represent those women that actually enjoy using fashion as a form of self-expression and connecting with group culture, especially sub-cultures. We should understand that the Bratz wear their short skirts and crop tops and think nothing of it.

The short skirts that they wear are simply fashion statements. The Bratz’s legs seem freer, which is why the Bratz give off the image that they are liberated from societal norms. But their lines are hardly ever to cater to male or female sexual fantasies.

The Bratz do often wear cropped tops. But cropped tops aren’t always worn for sexual attention. If we’re going to say that, we might as well condemn every woman who wears one in the summer, on the beach, or at home relaxing. Bikinis should be outlawed then. They’re revealing. If that’s the case, return to the 1800s idea of “fashion” when bathing suits weighed 8 lbs!

But women will not regress. Women have many reasons for wearing the fashions they wear and it is not always to seek male attention. Feminists are the ones who’ve educated the world on that. So why can’t they accept the Bratz dolls for wearing it?

The Bratz’s cropped tops are no different from the ones sported by empowering and feminist female pop stars and figures today.

And yet, most feminists’ honor these women as strong and empowering influences on girls. Are Alessia Cara and Pink seeking male attention with their cropped tops?

It’s true that fashion sends a message to others about us, even if it doesn’t tell others everything. However, if we look at the context of the lines produced, we can clearly see the dolls’ intended nature, even if they’re wearing cropped tops and mini skirts. From the Bratz, we can obviously see they are fierce, independent, and revolutionary dolls that simply want to take fashion to the next outrageous level.

When we look at Bratz fashion lines like Tokyo-ago-go or Pretty N’ punk, what message are the lines sending?

Bratz Tokyo a-go-go tells me that the Bratz are ready for a wild and fun Tokyo adventure, not a date with a hot guy. Their cropped tops don’t hint at any sexual message in this line. Pretty N Punk tells me that the Bratz are ready to listen to some rock music and party at a rock club.

Neither of these lines give the message that they want a male’s attention or that they even want to look sexy at all.

Many of the feminists that complain about the Bratz often complain about anything “too revealing”. If you wear skinny jeans, you’re sexualizing yourself to some of these feminists!

That’s why they were on my list of 7 Feminists That Make Me Cringe.

These feminists also associate makeup with sexualization. I think makeup makes people look older, especially children, but that doesn’t mean it’s specifically for looking older and hotter to the opposite sex. There is kiddie makeup out in the world that’s toned down and it’s a lot of fun to share makeup moments with mom. Spa dates aren’t sexualizing to a child.

Face paint can be a form of makeup as well. Face paint isn’t sexualizing. Bratz have often used makeup that way.

What really kills me about these feminists’ accusations is how they equate “features” to sexualization. I find it interesting how “big lips” and “glossy eyes” are associated with sexualization. Bratz have a vague “ethnic” look about them. They were meant to relate, again, to a wider ethnic demographic.

But some of these feminists have associated the Bratz’s big lips and eyes with sexualization. What?

Black women have bigger lips than other races. Are they sexualizing themselves when they wear lip gloss or lipstick on their lips? I think this goes back to a Eurocentric standard of modesty, where thin lips and big eyes are considered “innocent”, while full lips and almond-shaped eyes (more similar to other ethnic groups) are considered immodest and ugly.

I can understand how the Bratz could encourage thin-lip girls to get surgery just to blow their lips up. However, thin-lip dolls can just as easily encourage big-lip girls to get surgery to reduce their lips. I think the Bratz, who are widely looked at as unrealistic in form and design, make big heads, feet, and lips, once considered undesirable traits, more acceptable.

I grew up having big feet. Big feet run in my family. Many of the women in my family wear size 11. The smallest feet in my family have worn size 9! Most people have called me “long feet”. When the Bratz were released, I didn’t feel so bad about it. Their feet were obviously exaggerated though.

To me, the eyes showed attitude and confidence, not flirtation and sexuality. So if a woman glosses her eyes, she’s trying to flirt with someone? This contradicts everything feminists stand for!

 Unrealistic Bodies

Feminists have attacked dolls with skinny bodies for years. This is because many are afraid girls will strive to have unrealistic body weights, starving themselves or getting surgery just to appear skinny.

Bratz have very skinny arms and legs.

I can understand why feminists fear this. After all, many people desired to have Barbie’s figure after being exposed to her. However, we have to also analyze what the standard of beauty was before Barbie was released. Being slim, blonde, with thin lips, perky breasts, and blue eyes were always standards of beauty since the 1950s and 1960s. The media played it up. Barbie just reflected that standard in a perfect doll form.

http://www.thefrisky.com/photos/human-barbies-slideshow/barbie-valeria/

Bratz’s body design never reflected a particular standard of beauty from the very beginning, skinny or not. No one ever desired to have large feet and huge heads (at least in the west) with a skinny body. It never has been an ideal (at least in the west) and never will be.

If we look at Bratz as a doll brand separately from Barbie, objectively, Bratz don’t look realistic enough to begin with to cause children to want to look like them in real life. That’s like assuming little girls would want to look like a Powerpuff Girl just because they like the cartoon. Children are smarter than that. They know when something looks unrealistic.

Barbie and Jem dolls had more realistic appearances, appearances that seemed to fit media standards, so I can understand how individuals could strive to look like them. Bratz dolls have larger than life heads with huge feet. They look like they walked out of carnival fun house mirrors.

If you’re looking to bring body politics into the Bratz world, you’ve got a few things to consider.

First off,  keeping in mind their cartoonish look, they aren’t supposed to have realistic bodies. They are supposed to look weird and sort of funny.

Second, you have to consider what kids see when they look at dolls that obviously look disproportionate. I think children get the same vibe from these dolls that they do from characters in My Little Pony. Humans don’t have purple and pink skin, so we can’t be like the Equestria Girls. That’s the vibe I got as an 11 year old when it came to Bratz. In fact, I thought it was cool that they looked like funny, but edgy cartoon characters. Being skinny was not even a thought. I’m skinny, but their type of “skinny” was like watching Anamaniacs characters walk around.

Therefore, it’s simple to conclude that their “skinny” bodies do not honestly matter because the bodies aren’t mean to reflect real bodies at all. They could’ve easily had thick bodies with extremely small heads and feet. It would still look like figures in a fun house mirror, not a real body representing real figures.

The only things the Bratz mimic about humans are their fashion, accessories, hobbies, and personalities. Just like cartoon characters.

Please don’t come and tell me that Gumball toys, based off of the cartoon, make kids want to become clouds, cacti, and fish. Please. Those characters obviously look strange. The Bratz are more similar to them. Kids obviously know that the Bratz bodies aren’t normal and they recognize that they would get teased if they looked that way.

It’s not the same with Barbie or other fashion dolls like her, like Jem. If kids looked like them, they would be “praised” by beauty-conscious individuals.

“Bratz” for a name

Moms may have more of a problem with the name than feminists, but a few feminists have expressed their disdain for the name as well.

Sure, a “brat” is someone who is usually depicted as spoiled, misbehaved, and demanding. It doesn’t sound pleasant over all.

But considering Da Brat was one of my favorite female rappers in the 1990s, I didn’t have a problem with it. Like Da Brat, the name seemed designed to represent their urban, tough, and sassy attitude. It reflected their nonconforming nature. To me, Bratz represented individuality and the beauty of diversity (in style, ethnicity, and interests). The name just made their sass pop.

Da Brat took gangsta to a whole new level with her tomboyish looks!

Again, I can see how this makes the former generation uneasy. After all, they’re still getting used to gay marriage. They wouldn’t be used to a name like “Bratz” being used more positively. To the older generation, nonconformity is dangerous.

But as advocates of nonconformity, it shocks me that there are so many feminists who are so against the Bratz, name and all. I get that we want our little girls to be pure, wholesome, and solid citizens in society. But there should also be room for girls to be bold, innovative, expressive, and revolutionary. I think hijacking the name Brats, adding the “z”, and the halo is the definition of revolutionary and innovative.

Their Emphasis on Materialism

Bratz came with hundreds of accessories and clothes throughout their run. In many of their movies and in their TV show, they are often depicted shopping for outfits for each occasion.

This leads many feminists to believe that the Bratz encourage materialism.

I believe that, as humans, things are apart of our life. Sometimes, things have significant meaning in our lives. In many cultures, family heirlooms are passed through the family and they end up having personal meaning.

Of course, the Bratz’s accessories aren’t as meaningful as a family heirloom, but their items do reflect items we use or see in real life. It’s kind of cool to see miniature-sized items.

Material things are especially a part of being in the 1st world west. I do believe that our lives have been changed for the better by modern conveniences such as cell phones and tablets. I believe that makeup and fashion constantly updates, which says a lot about our culture, so people do spend a lot of money to look good. But I don’t think these things make a person bad or materialistic.

A materialistic person is someone who only cares about material things and can’t live without those material things. The Bratz have shown many layers throughout their shows and movies. Though they do love to look good, they also enjoy their hobbies and connections with friends and family.

Sure, the Bratz have shown that they love to shop. However, they often emphasized being resourceful or finding innovative ways to get the items they wanted. Shopping in bargain bins or designing their own styles were just some of the things Bratz have been shown doing to express their resourcefulness.

The Bratz have shown interest in other things such as sports, music, science, animals, among other things. I don’t think they’ve emphasized material things all the time. Furthermore, I think their use of material things haven’t necessarily made them seem spoiled or privileged.

However, there is nothing wrong with wanting or owning nice things and trying to enhance the quality of your life by collecting something you love or enjoy.

I personally find the Bratz items to be fascinating and enjoyable for playtime. Who wants a doll that comes with nothing? Kids want to bring the world of their dolls to life with mini models. Mini items add to the overall experience each doll line brings.

If we want to question whether we are instilling materialistic values on our children, we shouldn’t be buying them expensive I-phones and tablets. I’ve seen worse behavior come from children demanding the latest technology than from the influence of a Bratz doll.

“Passion For Fashion”= Obsessed with Appearance

Feminists believe the slogan suggests that the Bratz are completely focused on outfits and nothing else substantial.

But isn’t it possible for an individual to be interested in fashion, as a practice, and still have substance?

And why can’t there be substance in fashion?

I can understand if people mostly focus on fashion just to be pleasing or attractive to others. But the Bratz use fashion for many purposes, mostly to showcase many ideas and subcultures, not just to look “pleasing” or “attractive”. Quite frankly, many of the Bratz’s outfits don’t look pleasing. Midnight Dance, Pretty N Punk, and Space Angelz are not really of the “pleasing” sort, though some of the Bratz’s outfits are.

It’s clear the the doll brand is emphasizing not being concerned with pleasing others. Bratz are encouraging individuals to enjoy fashion without fitting into fashion molds. Fashion doesn’t always equal attraction and attraction doesn’t always equal fashion.

I believe the one thing that is lacking among girls today is passion. Girls are not encouraged to be passionate about the things they like and want. They are encouraged to scatter their interests, which makes it difficult for them to master a practice. The Bratz encourage girls to be all about their passions, despite what others think.

I also find it odd for feminists to be against having a “passion for fashion” when we consider the fact that the majority of fashion designers are male!

Females are still in the minority

I think the Bratz’s kind of passion for fashion encourages girls to be future designers and inventors. They don’t encourage girls just to buy clothes, but to also come up with their own ideas, to think outside of the box, and to express themselves in unique ways.

Using myself as an example, I don’t think I would’ve embraced my own gender expression as well had I not been introduced to the Bratz dolls. I don’t think I would’ve thought it was possible to see the individuality in fashion. I don’t think I would’ve found my own social identity.

When feminists began criticizing the Bratz, it affected the overall design of Bratz. MGA made things worse by dragging the brand into court with Barbie’s company Mattel, but feminists began growing in influence and they are the reason the latest Bratz design changed into something long-time fans could hardly respect or appreciate. MGA expressed that they wanted Bratz to have a “better image” for girls. Who made the Bratz image look bad? Why would they decide that the Bratz image wasn’t good enough? Someone had to be criticizing the brand in order for them to make that statement on Facebook. We have to acknowledge that feminists had some hand in the drastic change.

In my opinion, Bratz moved from a more ethnic look and vibe to a more “Eurocentric”-friendly design.

I know it seems like I learned a little too much from a line of dolls, and it may seem that I invest too much time appreciating these dolls, but that is partially why I have a special connection with this brand. I really feel if feminists’ had really and truly tried to understand the meaning behind the Bratz, if they’d actually given them a chance, they would see that the Bratz are/were not too far off from feminists’ goals.

I just hope that when, or rather IF, the Bratz return, they will return to their original authentic design. I hope they truly produce something earth-shattering, regardless of what anyone says. Even if feminists disagree, for me, that’s truly empowering.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think/thought about the Bratz controversy, feminists’ involvement in it, and the future of Bratz.

American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2017: Gabriela McBride! + ‘Girl of the Year 2017’ Is Set To Last More Than A Year!

31 Dec

In West Philadelphia, born and raised

On the playground is where I spent most of my days…

You readers like that ‘Fresh Prince‘ reference right there?

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard about American Girl’s newest Girl of the Year 2017.

If you don’t know what American Girl is:

American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT, www.mattel.com), a creations company that inspires the wonder of childhood. Headquartered in Middleton, WI, American Girl offers an inspiring world of dolls, content, and experiences that nourish a girl’s spirit and help develop her strength of character. Best-selling lines include Truly Me™, Girl of the Year™, Bitty Baby™, WellieWishers™, and the classic historical character line BeForever™. The company sells products through its award-winning catalogue, on americangirl.com, in its proprietary U.S. experiential retail stores, and at select specialty retailers nationwide. Outside of the U.S, American Girl products are sold in specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ in Canada and El Palacio de Hierro locations in Mexico City. By inspiring girls to be their best, American Girl has earned the loyalty of millions and the praise and trust of parents and educators.

If you’re a fan of the American Girls, but have been out of the American Girl loop for awhile, you probably don’t know why I made that reference in the introduction. Let me introduce to you GABRIELA MCBRIDE.

girl-of-the-year

Gabriela is a true talent who gets creative for a cause. She is considered a quiet, creative girl growing up in a family of artists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (exactly why I made that Fresh Prince reference). Her mother is especially passionate about the performing arts. Her mother is founder and director of the arts center Gabriela loves and her dance instructor.

Gabriela is also interested in the performing arts (particularly tap, hip-hop, and ballet) and poetry. Aside from dancing and poetry, Gabriela also helps run a sandwich shop.

Gabriela has a reason she’s so quiet: She struggles with stuttering.

In the first book, Gabriela is said to be “going into the 6th grade”. Still not sure of her age, but she may be the “oldest” Girl of the Year produced.

Gabriela is a true creative talent who uses the power of poetry to help her break down barriers and overcome a personal challenge with stuttering.

Gabriela inherited a love of the arts from her parents, especially her mother, but spoken word poetry is becoming her own passion. Although Gabriela often finds herself in a battle with her own words because of her stuttering, she discovers that her poetry, filled with wit and honesty, helps her speech flow more easily and gives her the confidence to find her voice to help save her beloved community arts center from being torn down.

American Girl Press Release

Despite Gabriela’s struggles, she’s still witty, honest, and courageous!

Her book cover and synopsis are out. Are you ready? {insert drumroll}

gabriela-book-1

Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Yes, believe it. Finally, finally American Girl has released their first African American Girl of the Year character!

After seeing the name Gabriela trademarked, most assumed the character would be of Latin/Hispanic heritage. It turns out it was set aside for an African American character.

Gabriela is set to have a series of FOUR books (yes, four, 4). The first book will be out in January. The next one comes out in March. The other two will be released throughout the rest of the year.

Book synopsis 1: Gabby loves expressing herself — especially in the dance studio — but lately, poetry is becoming her art form of choice, and for good reason: Gabby struggles with stuttering, and spoken word poetry helps her speech flow more freely. Still, compared to how confident she feels on the dance floor, speaking up can be scary. When the city threatens to close her beloved community arts center, Gabby is determined to find a way to help. Can she harness the power of her words and rally her community to save Liberty Arts?

Teresa E. Harris is the author and it is her first time writing for American Girl.

*This will be updated as more information is released.

And now, what all American Girl fans have been waiting for…

The reveal of the doll!

 

melodys-pjs

More items and one of her books will be available Spring 2016.

Gabriela’s doll is really adorable in these pictures, but…

This is where my excitement diminishes. I came to the realization that she’s not just a doll of color. I came to the realization that if I look beyond her color, I have very mixed feelings…

 

Gabriela McBride is considered by many of the American Girl Fan Community to be the LAST GIRL OF THE YEAR.

For those who don’t know, there have been rumors that American Girl plans on ending the Girl of the Year line after Gabriela (possibly to make room for their rumored Contemporary line). I’m not sure how true the rumors are, but it is a FACT that there will be changes to the Girl of the Year line in 2018.

In American Girl’s press release, they stated:

Additional Gabriela products and books will be available starting in spring 2017, and—for the first time—the new Girl of the Year collection will be available for a full 12 months and beyond.

On facebook, American Girl has confirmed that they have plans to release their next girl of the year in 2018. So does this mean Gabriela will be available along with the new Girl of the Year?

American Girl said they don’t have plans to retire the GOTY line, but they’ve been known to hold back from revealing a retirement or archival before.

american-girls-message

 

One part of me is happy that she will last long enough for me to save for her collection.

Another part of me is sad that I may not have a Girl of the Year to look forward to next year. It was sort of an American Girl tradition.

And another part of me is just a bit frustrated with the design of the doll and her collection…

Here…at this moment…I have to analyze this objectively.

This Girl of the Year is really mediocre as a doll in comparison to dolls prior.

Here I am, being the Negative Nancy. Call me a self-hating black woman, a coon, whatever. I’m know I’m going to hear it all. I don’t care. I can’t fully accept her as a “great” Girl of the Year character, not under the current circumstances (with this possibly being the final GOTY doll).

If you’re an American Girl fan, you can probably better understand where I’m coming from. Newcomers may find her to be a great doll addition. And she isn’t garbage, but she has flaws.

I fell in LOVE with Gabriela’s story. I love the fact that she loves poetry and how she uses poetry to overcome her own disability. I think she’s a good role model for girls. I fell in love with this story so hard, even though I haven’t read it all, I want to buy two copies.

However, I have my hang-ups.

First off, this doll is #46 from the Truly Me line. She doesn’t just look like #46. She IS #46.

46

Truly Me #46

I always thought that doll was beautiful. I was sad when she was retired. And I am personally happy to see her return (especially because I don’t collect the Truly Me dolls). But I know plenty of people who said they already have this doll. This means there will be quite a few people who aren’t interested. It always leaves me uneasy when I hear that people don’t want to buy a doll of color. It’s especially bad because Gabriela is the only African American character (in 15 years) to have been produced (or rather “picked”) for the line AND she is supposed to remain in the line through 2018.

Some fans have expressed that American Girl, LLC has put a lot of effort into making the Caucasian American Girls look different and unique, but clearly didn’t do the same for Gabriela. Some feel they didn’t really plan on making an African American character for the line. Some people feel the company rushed production of her because the demand was so high. Basically, they pulled out a retired doll, put clothes on her, gave her a story, and called her Gabriela. Some people feel Gabriela is recycled and doesn’t reflect the same effort the company has put into former Girl of the Year dolls.

I can see their point. Maybe they have given up caring because they wanted the line to come to an end. Maybe they recognized the popularity of #46 and wanted to make her into a character.

Regardless of the reason, this part has been disappointing for most fans.

I don’t have #46, so I feel compelled to get Gabriela, but I wish she was designed in a way that would compel others to want to buy her.

The second problem I have with Gabriela is the fact that she is a DANCER.

I have to be fair about this. I talked about Isabelle being another dancer, I talked about Lea being another tropical princess, so I can’t let this slide.

This Girl of the Year is supposed to last for more than 12 months, she is the ONLY African American character, and you stick her with one of the most unoriginal themes? It doesn’t hurt the story, which incorporates poetry and overcoming disabilities, but it certainly hurts the collection.

Marisol was a tap dancer, ballet dancer, Mexican folk dancer, and jazz dancer. Isabelle danced ballet and modern dance. And now Gabriela! How many dancers does Girl of the Year need?

Because other “dancing” dolls came out, I’m not really interested in the majority of Gabriela’s playsets or accessories.

american-girl-marisol

isabelle-barre-set-hr

What would I need with two ballet barres?

I just can’t get excited AGAIN about another dancer when American Girl has done the theme TWICE before.

I know there are other people out there feeling the same way. And I just don’t like the idea that the first African American character in this line is not unique enough to be a MAJOR sell-out this year.

The final insult is that American Girl has stated on their facebook page that they don’t have major plans to release a movie for her! It takes at least a year to create a movie, so if they haven’t thought of one now, I don’t know if she’s ever getting one!

Still, she’s going to be around in 2018, so only time will tell. But she clearly seems slapped together.

Despite all of that, there are some American Girl fans who are excited about Gabriela. Some are even willing to buy her even though they already have #46! Some people like her dance collection the best out of the three. And some people are new to American Girl and missed collecting the other dance items.

Since Gabriela will be out more than one year, at least none of us have to worry about her selling out within one year. People will have the opportunity to save up for her and have a chance to get her between this year and next year.

That wraps up my review of the new Girl of the Year.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you all think of the new Girl of the Year and my article!

“An American Girl Story-Melody 1963: Love Has To Win” Disappointed This American Girl Fan

29 Dec

melody-movie

I know. This movie was released two months ago in October 2016, and I am just now giving my review on it. I have my reasons.

For those who don’t know, American Girl is a widely popular doll brand that is known for its historical line of dolls and books, contemporary lines of dolls and books, and baby dolls for toddlers. The historical line is the oldest line in the brand. It has been around since the mid-1980s and it continues to impress upon the minds of little girls even to this day. Parents also love the dolls for their educational value.

Prior to Melody’s movie, four other historical American Girl characters have had movie adaptations produced by WB, HBO Films, and New Line Cinema. The original four movies (made for Samantha, Felicity, Molly, and Kit) were full-length, feature films. Melody’s movie and Maryellen’s movie are short films.

I loved the original four movies a lot. They really brought the characters to life. Of course, American Girl no longer has the budget for those kinds of films anymore, especially since they began focusing more on making new dolls (which is good enough for me).

Now, their movies are made by Amazon and are mostly released through Amazon Prime.

Set in Detroit during the Civil Rights Movement, “An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” examines the joyful life and troubled times of an irrepressible 10-year-old African-American girl whose vivid imagination and creativity reinforce her optimism. When shocking national events threaten her sense of security, Melody must find inner strength to restore her hope for a better world.

Director:

Tina Mabry

Writer:

Alison McDonald

Before I begin, I just want to inform new readers that I’ve always been a HUGE American Girl fan since the 1990s. I love toys and I love history. Combine the two, and you have one of my favorite doll franchises. I also want to remind readers that, as an African American, I am very happy that Melody was released. I loved her book series and the doll with her accessories…Just amazing.

But because I’m an American Girl fan and an African American at the same time, I can honestly say….I couldn’t really LOVE this movie. I don’t hate the movie, I just…don’t love it like I was expecting to.

Go ahead and chew me up. Call me self-hating, coon, liar, whatever. But before you decide to stop reading right here, just read me out.

One of the reasons I took so long to write this review was because I honestly wanted people to decide for themselves what they think of Melody’s movie. It was American Girl’s first movie dedicated to an American Girl doll of ‘color’, and I wanted people to mostly think positively. I didn’t want to shatter any dreams or feelings with my thoughts. I want Melody to be as successful as possible because I hope American Girl will continue to make more dolls of color in the future. I bought the movie on Prime because I wanted to encourage American Girl to make more movies with girls of color in lead roles.

I also waited to write this review because I saw how many people actually liked the movie (mostly people who never read Melody’s book series) and I knew they would just chew me up and spit me out for saying anything negative about this movie.

Last, I just really couldn’t find the right words to express how I was feeling. I tried to love this movie. I tried to force it, just because she was a girl of color and because I related to the message. But the American Girl fan in me just couldn’t attach herself to it.

The only reason I decided to share my opinion was because a fan emailed me and asked me.

*The following article may contain some spoilers.

It’s not that this movie was garbage. Far beyond that. In fact, it had its pros. Let me just run down the list of pros I saw.

PROS

The Message

Out of most of the other American Girl movies, Melody’s movie was one of the few that actually talked about a serious issue. The only other American Girls that presented issues that relate to our modern world were Kit (we were in the midst of the recession at the time) and Chrissa (bullying is still very serious). And Melody’s story was much deeper than all of those stories combined because real events were intertwined in the movie (particularly the Birmingham Church bombing).

Melody’s movie was designed to relate to issues young black children are facing today, and honestly, without the 1960s period outfits and references, I could see her being a girl in 2016/2017.

As an African American, I was happy that African American history was being represented by a movie, an American Girl movie at that. American Girl is a popular brand and it means a lot for such a brand to bring attention to girls of color and their struggle for equality.

The movie downsized the events that happened in the books, making the message clearer.

Marsai Martin

Marsai Martin was the actress that played Melody. She brought a lot of fire to Melody’s character (fire that wasn’t really felt in the books). Marsai is an intelligent and bright child herself, and I think she really shined in the movie. She had all the attitude, strength, and intelligence that I loved and that I feel all girls of color share. She had spunk.

Promotional Value

Melody’s movie has brought a lot of attention to the doll itself. Even though Melody has been out since August, a lot of people didn’t hear about her until after the release of the movie. There were many people on facebook inquiring about Melody after this movie was released. Hopefully, this will help Melody sell better than Black dolls prior. If Melody sells well at the end of this year and in 2017, American Girl may consider making more Black dolls in the future. This will shut the mouths of all the people who claim “black dolls don’t sell”.

Educational Value

The movie was educational for all races. For black children, it helped them connect today’s events to past events. This helps them see history as something that’s interesting and a major part of their modern lives.

Children of other races could learn to understand black people better through this story, through a beloved American Girl character.

CONS

Unfortunately, there were quite a few things that disturbed me about this movie. Please, don’t take offense. It’s just my opinion. I really felt there were things that would’ve made the movie better, but you readers are welcome to disagree.

The Cast

I felt everyone did a pretty good job with their acting. My problem was the lack of key characters from Melody’s stories.

Without Melody’s REAL family (and not that small family in the movie), her life felt empty. In comparison to older American Girl movies, her cast was the most butchered and horribly downsized. This made Melody’s family life seem lonely rather than bustling and close-knit, like in her books.

To add, by getting rid of most of the IMPORTANT characters, they left out potential black actors and actresses. Instead, more than half of the cast was WHITE. Not only was this totally opposite Melody’s story (which could’ve boasted an all-black cast), it was completely disappointing that black people still couldn’t get a chance to shine in this movie. There are few black actors and actresses getting screen time as it is. It’s especially rare in children’s films.

Maybe they added different races because they wanted to relate to more races of people, but I felt that using Melody’s real story would’ve related to more people. Melody’s life was similar to how most people lived in the 1960s and all of those 1960s references would’ve been appealing. Why switch it up so much?

They probably wanted to highlight the racism experienced in the 1960s, which was rightfully highlighted, sure. But I feel that racism was tackled well enough in Melody’s story, from an authentic and realistic perspective, and with mostly black people involved, for them to adapt it.

I’m not saying it’s bad to have white people in the movie, and maybe I should be grateful the lead characters were black. But wouldn’t it have been amazing if most of the cast was black? With Melody’s real family highlighted? Maybe that’s just my opinion.

Lately, it’s all about pushing agendas and less about telling the story.

Yes, I know that in American Girl movies prior, some characters were removed from the story. But the key characters were always present or at least mentioned. The family life could be “felt”. Melody’s family in the movie just didn’t feel like her family.

Characters

This is something that really bothered me. As an American Girl fan, and not just an African American, this bothered me a lot.

NONE, and I mean NONE, of the characters really seemed like they came from Melody’s stories. In fact, they all felt like totally new characters from a completely different story. Even Melody really wasn’t Melody.

In the older American Girl movies, all of the characters had the same personalities and interests as the characters in the books. It truly seemed like they brought the characters to life. The movies just weren’t teaching history; they were also telling a story.

Melody in the movie was NOTHING like the girl I grew to know and love in the books. Some people may have liked her better in the movie, but I didn’t. It’s not that Marsai didn’t do a good job with what she was handed, the problem was what she was handed.

Melody has been described as a sweet and hopeful girl. In the books, she was sweet, thoughtful, and caring. In this story, she seemed feistier. In the movie, she was a bit of a know-it-all. Melody wasn’t really a know-it-all kind of character in the books. I think they combined Melody with her sister Lila (who was in the STEM program in the book series, loved to read, and was super intelligent).

Melody was interested in singing (which they got right), but she also loved gardening. In fact, she was gifted with planting. In the movie, they made her more interested in sewing and space (giving her Maryellen’s interests). Gardening was a key part of her character, more than singing in the church choir, and they completely removed it. This was the first time I hardly recognized an American Girl in her own movie. The only thing “Melody” about the character was her outfits. I guess that’s all the doll company cared about when they allowed this movie to be produced.

Another thing that bothered me was the omission of Melody’s siblings. Having Melody’s siblings would’ve taught kids more about the 1960s. I understand that this was a short film, but somehow, in Maryellen’s short film (a movie for the strawberry blonde character from the 1950s) they managed to bring most of Maryellen’s siblings into her story. Why not in Melody’s? The Baby Boom was still in full swing in the 1960s. It would’ve made sense for Melody to have more siblings.

Dwayne and Yvonne did much more to add to Melody’s life than did Maryellen’s siblings, and yet Melody’s family was omitted.

music-in-the-movie

I felt cheated because I played this “quiz” on Americangirl.com that told me songs from the book would be in the movie. These songs were “written” and “composed” by Melody’s brother in the book series, so I thought he would be in the movie. I didn’t really hear all the songs in the movie, but even if I had, I would’ve been more upset. Dwayne influenced Melody’s music interests so much, it just didn’t feel right to keep him out. He would’ve showed the new generation how black people influenced modern-day music through his affiliations with Motown. He could have represented that part of history that is unknown to the new generation, but a part of history that influences them even today.

Yvonne was a particularly empowering young woman. Her role in the book series was really interesting. First off, she was the first in her family to wear her hair all-natural (an afro). She was a real civil rights activist (not just a participant). She went to college, she risked her life to educate people in the south, and she marched on Washington with thousands of people just to hear Martin Luther King give his most famous speech. I was torn to bits when there wasn’t anyone in the movie to represent her.

Yes, I know American Girl is on a budget. They can’t make their movies too long, with too many people. But I would’ve rather had Yvonne than any of those brats in Melody’s (fake) classroom. Again, how was Maryellen able to get away with having most of her siblings, but Melody’s movie had to succumb to the budget?

Finally, I want to talk about Melody’s mom. I’m happy that she was a hard-working African American woman and that her role revealed the struggle African Americans experienced in the USA. However, I found Melody’s mother to be more empowering and more authentic in the book series than in the movie. In the book series, Melody’s mother wasn’t a struggling seamstress working for racist white people. She was an educated, black teacher, teaching at an all-black school. Melody’s mother graduated from Tuskegee. The movie sort of combined Addy’s mom with Melody’s (maybe to make up for the fact that American Girl, LLC has overlooked Addy as a potential for a good movie all of these years). I was not pleased with this.

I feel that Melody’s mother was over-dramatized in the movie. The book series was more authentic. Maybe it felt more authentic because the panel that worked on the books lived and understood that time period. Maybe it felt more authentic because my own grandmother and her friends had gone to school and became teachers in the 1960s. When I read it in Melody’s stories, I immediately connected with Melody’s mother. But the movie was dramatically trying to show us a racist society. While they did that, they took away Mrs. Ellison’s strengths. Even though the 1960s was a harsh time for African Americans, many were educated by then, many were successful, and many lived comfortably, especially in the North.

I would’ve liked to see Cousin Tish’s salon brought in the movie and I’m still crossing my fingers for the playset in the future.

I also wanted to see Big Momma, one of the most important figures in Melody’s life. She is the one that taught Melody how to sing!

Melody’s friends barely appeared in the movie, and when they did, they were mean little brats. They weren’t supportive like they were in the books.

So much was missing from the movie because the key characters that shaped Melody’s life in the books were not there.

The Story

In the older American Girl movies, the stories were flipped, butchered, and changed around. Scenes were added and scenes were taken out. However, the heart and inspiration was clearly evident. Key important events were not taken out.

For example, Molly’s struggle with her hair was taken out of Molly: An American Girl on the Homefront. However, Molly getting the role as Miss Victory, the most important part of her Changes for Molly book, was in the movie.

There are more examples I could name, but the point is most of the older movies brought the important events from the book series to life.

The new Melody movie was so focused on pushing agendas and highlighting modern-day issues, it failed to actually tell Melody’s stories. Melody was used as a tool to tell an entirely different story unrelated to the released American Girl. And that’s fine. But I watched the movie looking for one of my favorite characters to come to life on screen. I was disappointed when I found I was being introduced to a completely different story with a completely different character in Melody’s wardrobe.

First issue, none of the events in the movie happened in the book. Melody never went to an all-white school in the book series. She attended an all-black school. Her school provided encouragement and support to the students, especially when it came to combating racism. In the books, when the church bombing happened, her teacher talked to the students to console them. Melody’s friends were there for her when she was frightened by the events.

Melody’s reaction to the bombing was different, too. In the movie, she was angry and bold. She posted clippings about events in her all-white school. In the book series, it hit her much deeper. It struck fear in her. It made her afraid to walk in her own church. That felt more realistic, considering she was 9 years old. These different reactions revealed that the two girls were actually TWO DIFFERENT characters. They didn’t react the same to situations, they didn’t have the same personalities. To me, they are two different “Melodys”.

I know the new story relates better to modern black girls. But I feel that they cheated Melody and spent less money on her movie than movies prior. I feel that her stories were butchered the most out of any of the other American Girl characters. And because of that, I don’t feel Melody’s story was really told.

Authenticity and Realism

While some modern day African Americans may find the movie to be more realistic, especially in relation to today’s events and some major occurrences in the past, I found the book series to tackle the Civil Rights Era in a more authentic and realistic fashion overall.

Considering the book series was meant to be told from the perspective of the average 9 year old, living in Detroit in the NORTH during the 1960s, the book series relates more to the real African American story. In the book series, there were many cases of racism in stores, when trying to buy property, or when trying to fix up black neighborhoods. But most black people lived in all-black neighborhoods in nice brick houses. Most children attended all-black schools. Most black families were close-knit. Families were large because of the Baby Boom. The book series had a naturalness to it that felt more authentic.

The movie was definitely what happens when “Hollywood” gets hold of something. With Hollywood taking hold of Melody’s story, everything became more dramatic. Racism and oppression became key themes, but strength, optimism, community, and hope were not added as themes as they were in the books. Especially not the community involvement.

I wish that theme had been brought out because I don’t feel enough African Americans are encouraged to get involved in their own communities. Some have given up hope that they can do anything to make a difference. I really hoped that there would be emphasis on community involvement and I was let down there.

Maybe these things don’t bother most viewers and American Girl fans, and I wouldn’t say it made me hate the movie. But I definitely felt disappointed and didn’t really have the same overwhelming happy feeling so many other people had after watching it. It was decent for a kids’ movie, but it just didn’t live up to former American Girl movies.

After this, I barely wanted to watch Maryellen’s movie. I was afraid it would also be butchered, and if it wasn’t, I would be mad that Maryellen’s movie was closer to her true series and Melody’s wasn’t. So far, I’m not a fan of the move to Amazon Prime. The movies are short, I don’t like paying for Prime just to watch these movies, and I would rather have a hard copy, like I did with other American Girl movies.

Anyway, sorry to be negative about this. I still love Melody and I still support American Girl bringing attention to dolls of color in the future. I’m just not a huge fan of this movie. I don’t think this movie really catered to the fan base and mostly catered to newcomers to the brand.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the movie. Do you think I’m being too petty about it? I am one of those people that can’t read the book series and fully enjoy loose adaptations. XD Do you agree with me? Are there any points you appreciated about the movie? Anything you disliked? Please share.

If you haven’t read the books and don’t plan on reading them, I think this movie would be good to watch. If you’ve already read Melody’s series, tread with caution and remember that this movie is a pretty loose adaptation.

Monster High dolls’ Reboot: “How Do You Boo?”

21 Nov

‘How Do You Boo?’ This is the new slogan for the new Monster High reboot. It doesn’t make much sense to me now…Let’s see if we can make sense of it later…

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As of summer 2016, following the Welcome To Monster High movie, Mattel (the company that produces Monster High) decided to give the go and have the MH franchise rebranded, rebooted, revamped (however you want to call it).  The new “reboot” also comes with a brand new story retelling the origins of the MH series with a few new characters and some returning ones.  In particular, the main crew, except Ghoulia and Deuce, returned upon launch of the new reboot with new face molds, brand new fashions, and other characterizations.

The biggest question many Monster High fans have is: Why try to reboot an already successful brand after only SIX YEARS? It is the question that plays on my mind as well. It baffles me how Mattel, when the brand is at its height, in such a short time frame, even thought this would be a prosperous business idea. What demographic research have they been studying?

Despite the fact that I couldn’t fathom the idea of a reboot at this point, I still took my time creating this review of the product, thinking maybe I should give this a chance. I gave it a chance, and so far, this reboot fails to impress me.

So, right now, I’m going to let Mattel have a voice. Apparently, Mattel had these things to say:

“A bona fide pop culture phenomenon and a massive global franchise in over 60 countries Monster High is ranked as the third biggest fashion doll brand a $1 billion franchise annually and a top 5 global property for girls! Monster High empowers girls to express their individuality and form friendships that last beyond a lifetime.”

Great, we know this, and this is why we’re confused about the necessity for a reboot…

Now entering its 6th year in the market, in 2016 the brand will embark on an exciting new chapter to maintain its relevance to the ever changing consumer. As an exciting disruptive everygreen brand Monster High will continue to represent via the monster metaphor what it means to be different, unique and empowering girls to be themselves as Mattel leads the way in creating, maintaining and driving strong girl empowerment brands.

“exciting disruptive”…Hey, that sounds just like the Bratz’s producers (MGA) at relaunch….right before they failed to be disruptive…

Apparently, Mattel’s reason for changing the new Monster High dolls was so the brand can be “relevant to the ever-changing consumer”. This could mean two things.

First, it could mean they want to appeal to a new generation. In my opinion, it wouldn’t make much sense to reboot the brand just to appeal to the next generation as the old Monster High is still pretty relevant to kids today…After all, this brand is just six years old…But maybe they see the brand as having a different meaning than it did in 2010 at launch…

Second, it could mean that much of the Monster High fan base have been expressing their boredom with the line and Mattel wants to make it “relevant” to these “ever-changing” consumers.

I’m likened to believe that the real story is that they started Monster High to be a competitor to the Bratz dolls and capture the tween audience when Bratz were removed from shelves. Now that the edgy trend is dying, and Bratz became a thing of the past, Monster High’s old image and story is no longer “relevant”. But that is just my theory…

The key elements that make the brand disruptive will remain but now infused with more play in the product whilst adding renewed focus on the core characters and stories as well as marketing what the brand stands for. The brand will have a fresh new look with new contemporary colours and graphics whilst still incorporating the iconic signatures that make the brand unique and relatable to the core audience of 6-10 year olds.

Supposedly, they said they wanted to keep “key elements that make the brand disruptive”. So far, I don’t understand what they are talking about. Are they talking about the fact that at least they will keep them monsters?…That’s the only thing that makes this brand disruptive anymore.

Monster High was originally designed to capture the tween audience. After all, Garrett Sanders made the doll franchise after observing tweens and teens shopping at Hot Topic. And it has been popular among girls 10 to 14. It’s pretty obvious that Mattel has shifted their demographic focus from the tween audience to the kids with this reboot (the same mistake their competitors at MGA made). This is probably why so many people are complaining. There are many Monster High fans that are over the age of 10! It’s almost as if Mattel forgot who they directed this brand to in the first place. The new reboot looks like it’s made for kids.

They also claimed to focus on the core characters, but they didn’t relaunch Ghoulia as one of the main core characters…In the original, she was one of the core characters. Her name is even in the original theme song.

If they mostly focus on the core characters, it also means they don’t really plan to bring any extra character stories to the table. It’s probably because fans have been complaining about Mattel regurgitating new monsters all the time without focusing on the dolls they already have within unique doll lines…

The brand will also launch an exciting new multiyear brand campaign and new consumer rallying cry “How Do You Boo” encouraging consumers to embrace what makes them unique and share how they Boo. Working with celebrities and brands spokespeople the campaign will communicate what it means to boo, to be yourself and start a movement encourage girls to do the same.

So, Mattel explains that the new slogan “How Do You Boo?” is supposed to encourage us to embrace what makes us all unique and to share that. But Monster High always encouraged people to embrace what made them unique before they changed to this cheesy slogan. So why this slogan? Still no answers. I don’t get what this slogan is supposed to mean..How is “Boo” relevant to embracing what makes us unique? Are they asking how we scare people? Are they asking about our own special “scare”?

Maybe it’s supposed to go over well on Twitter…

So far, you can already tell where this reboot is headed and you probably can guess I’m not a fan of it.

Upon rebooting, the MH look very different from their original counterparts.  The Monster High dolls are no longer the glossy eyed freaks of nature that haunted the shelves of every store…No…They are now doe-eyed little monsters that hardly seem as if they could haunt anything.  In fact, to refer to them as haunting is laughable…

Let me compare the old dolls to the new to show you all the unique differences between them. Let me know if what I’m seeing is just my imagination. In my opinion, the Monster High dolls look more like Elementary School kids now instead of saucy teenagers…

monster-high-new-face

Some people like the cute look better, just like they liked that “anime” that came out.

Let me just be honest: this reboot smells like a failure to me.  I’m pretty sure it’s a failed attempt at competing with the Disney Princess line. With their old Bratz competitors out of the way, I’m sure Mattel is less interested in keeping up with the outdated edgy trend and more interested in keeping up with the Disney Princess/Frozen/Descendants franchise that is getting the attention of consumers these days.  Keeping that in mind, while I find the reboot to be laughable…I’m not at all surprised that the reboot happened this way and so soon.  In fact, I predicted that Mattel would eventually run out of a way to keep MH interesting and would maybe have to reboot the whole thing eventually.

Monster High: The Halloween Trend

And considering how Mattel is not the kind of company that cares about originality, diversity, or anything else unless it is a selling trend (which is also something I had mentioned at this article 14 Ways Mattel Can Screw Up A Doll Line), it also does not surprise me that the Monster High dolls look more like little monster Barbies. After all, the same producers of Barbie created the Monster High. I’m surprised anyone is surprised about the outcome of this reboot, considering this fact.

I want to talk about which parts of the reboot I liked and which part I didn’t…

But I’m going to be honest with you…I haven’t quite found a whole lot of things to like about this reboot.

Monster High’s Doll Features

Monster High’s newest dolls, as I’ve explained before have changed…Honestly to the point that it seems like a totally different line from Monster High.  It is hard to believe they are called Monster High. When I look at these dolls, none of them actually look like Monsters. Seriously, they look like…well…normal little girls.  Seriously, Mattel? The one thing that made MH unique, you take it away? What business sense does that make, exactly?

monster-high-new-dolls

I guess freaky is no longer fabulous…but at least they’re cute right?…(*puke*)

One of the features that are distinctively different (and disgusting) is their eyes. Their new eyes give no sense of personality or attitude. They just look like a bunch of goo-goo-eyed girly girls made only to stand there and look cute. There is no message behind them; no depth or mystery.  Just enlarged eye pupils that scream “we’re kid friendly”.

Other parts of the new features of MH that seem to be lacking are the details and quality.  Let me use Frankie as an example. Frankie had one of the most detailed bodies, with the various stitches made to seem patched to her skin and the bolts aligned with the detailed patch work right on her neck…But now the patchwork that was so nicely constructed on Frankie’s neck looks like someone put a bunch of stickers together. It hardly looks like patch work. And poor Lagoona Blue.  Her old doll had webbed hands to represent her water monster greatness, but now her fingers are just your average fingers with no distinction from any of the other dolls.   Skelita Calaveras’s new look is what troubles me the most. For a skeleton…she seems to have a very fleshly face in comparison to her old look which maintained a bony structure. Observe.

skelita-1

Old Skelita: Absolutely flawless design capturing a skeleton with such style and grace. Too bad, this version no longer exists.

New Skelita: Someone on the design team apparently failed anatomy because last time I checked skeletons do not have noses as noses do not have bones. SMH Be honest, does she seriously look like a skeleton?

New Skelita: Someone on the design team apparently failed anatomy because last time I checked skeletons do not have noses as noses do not have bones. SMH Be honest, does she seriously look like a skeleton?

What really takes away from MH’s monstrous look is the articulation of the dolls; they hardly have the monstrous body articulation the originals had, neither are the articulations distinct from one another.

Maybe this all has to do with budget cuts? Quality sometimes decreases when a company is struggling with a line. But seriously…The big doe-eyes were quite unnecessary.

Can I also mention how all the dolls upon reboot have pink lips now? Thank goodness Deuce is supposed to be a guy who is uninterested in make-up, otherwise he also would have pink lips like all the rest of them.

What message is Monster High trying to send by making the monsters look “normal”? Well considering the slogan is no longer “Be yourself, be unique, be a Monster” or “Freaky Just Got Fabulous”, I guess Mattel no longer cares to promote such values any longer. They care more about how someone “boos”…whatever that means.

I got the hint from reader discontinuedtoylines regarding why they made such drastic changes to these features. And it was just as I feared: the soccer moms have struck again.

Apparently, monster high was too “scary” for children (though the original target demographic should’ve been old enough to understand how harmless these dolls are). Some parents really thought this doll was designed for their 8 year old child, when the original target age was 10 to 14. That being said, Mattel couldn’t risk getting on parents’ bad side, not in this declining market. I guess they had to sacrifice a quality doll line just to stay in parents’ good graces.

Monster High’s Doll Clothing And Accessories

The main appeal of Monster High was their freaky fabulous fashions that were made to accentuate the monsters in various unique ways.  The outfits usually had just as much details as the body, and the accessories are always to die for.  With the reboot, while the outfits are not typically hideous, they are simply uninspired and ordinary compared to the original outfits for most of the lines. There’s no pizzazz and the detail has been downgraded, especially when it comes to the accessories.

Let’s compare the relaunch with the original launch, shall we?

launch

Original Launch

In the original launch, each of the girls have their own style and flair. They have accessories that simply bring out the best in each outfit. Not one part of their outfit resembles the other, which shows that the monsters are very different from one another both by personality and monster hybrid.  The patterns do a good job in captivating each monster, letting us know which monster they are while still making them look fabulous. Now let’s look at the new monster high reboot.

relaunch

Relaunch

The new monster high dolls for the 1st wave of the reboot have a lack of interesting and diverse clothing accessories in comparison to their original dolls. To add, look at the patterns. They do not give me any indication as to which monster any of them are. For example, Cleo looks like a tree monster to be sure.  Clawdeen looks like a leopard or a cheetah. Seriously, look at her pants. Leopard/Cheetah print? I thought she was a werewolf…or is she now a werecat?  Of all the outfits presented, Draculaura (who usually had one of the most adorable pieces in the line) has the ugliest outfits in this reboot. Compared to her original look which was just spooktacularly vampirous and cute at the same time, the way her outfits are put together now are simply just tacky.  I should also mention that Draculaura and Frankie have basically the same shoes on in different colors with the first wave of the reboot.

Most of the other lines (besides Shriek Wreck) resemble this 1st wave reboot.  Most of them are boring enough to literally make me yawn. I think the most disappointing of all of the MH reboot doll lines was Monster High’s Electrified line. You would think that more would be electrifying about these dolls besides their hair…

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Of course, there was one line that stood out from the rest. Of all the lines set to be released for the MH reboot, Shriek Wrecked has given some good fashion details…

shriek-wrecked

In comparison to MH’s past lines, however, it lacks a lot of sass. The fashions are really girly, lacking the edge that MH’s past lines had.

Compare Skull Shores, a past line, to Shriek Wreck: skull-shores

As you can see in the above Skull Shores line, the original MH looked sassier and more grown up in the past. While in the Shriek Wreck line, they look much younger. And don’t get me started on the quality; painted on gloves for Lagoona is not a good sign.

And for crying out loud, will Mattel just cool it with the pink?! JEEZ! Monster High has gotten so pink, it’s sickening!

Still, Shriek Wreck is the best to date. It’s just not interesting enough to turn my head. I’m just not interested in buying any of the dolls (I would’ve gotten Rochelle had they not given her painted on gloves).

The lack of sassiness and diversity in the new dolls’ appearances could have something to do with the “feminist” movement. On Bit**Media, a feminist website, an article was written by feminist Deb Jannerson about how much she disliked the Monster High’s makeup and clothing, claiming they were “hypersexualized, heavily made-up dolls with über-Barbie proportions”. I’m sure there are more feminists out there who think the same way.

Feminists tend to hate anything that appears to them to be overly “sexualized”.  They don’t often see how an empowering female can appear in diverse ways. It’s gotten to the point they seem to lack an imagination entirely and can’t see how the dolls resemble “cartoons” rather than real humans. And they aren’t even MEANT to be human!

Seriously, hasn’t anyone else noticed how long the skirts are in comparison to the originals? That smells like the feminist agenda written all over it. It’s that “agenda” that encourages doll companies to make their dolls look more like “normal” girls. But for fans, who fell in love with monster high because they were NOT normal, because of their short skirts, the make-up, the glossy eyes, the things these feminists call “hypersexualized” and “heavily made-up”, the details are what made Monster High an edgy and scary cool work of art. With this reboot, all of that has been taken from Monster High, making them look more like scared little girls. I’m not going to say all feminists feel this way. But even a small group of feminists who feel this way have a way of forcing their beliefs on various doll companies, television or movie industries, and book publishers.  Do not underestimate the damage the feminist movement can do.

Now, I know what you guys are thinking. ‘Well, they might give more detailed fashion lines in the future like Shriek Wreck, so let’s not jump to conclusions’, right? You’re probably right. There are other lines that have to be seen. But so far, even some of the other future releases that I have seen after Shriek Wreck left me unimpressed. Nothing has motivated me to want to buy any of the new MH releases this year or next year. Absolutely nothing.

Monster High Story: New Story And Characters

So aside from the doll relaunch, a brand new Monster High story was born.  Meaning the story that was once Monster High is no longer its story.  Remember when Frankie was the new girl at Monster High after being born just a few days before attending the school? Well, yeah, that story no longer exists in this new reboot.  All the movies and TV specials that came out, fleshing out the monster high characters, you might as well toss them because none of the relationships and situations that were in the original stories are relevant now.

In the old story, Monster High was an already established school. Mistress Headmistress was the strong empowering female leader of the school in the original story.  In the original story, it was a normal school like ours, except everyone who attended were monsters. But now that story has been changed. In the new story, it is Draculaura and her father who turn their home into what we know as Monster High. Mistress Headmistress has been replaced with Draculaura’s father, a male figure (How peculiar for Mattel to do this during a modern era for women. And what this also means is that Mistress Headmistress may no longer be a character or doll in the future MH series). Anyway, the school is now a boarding school and all the ghouls live with each other in this school. Yep, no one has unique houses that they go home to. They just all come to this one school and live(I wonder how the playsets will look…).

Also, in this new reboot, Mistress Headmistress is not the only character that has failed to be apart of the new series reboot. In the original series, Clawdeen had two sisters and an older brother (along with a few other siblings). In this reboot, however, she only has little brothers. What does this mean for the future of Clawd, Howleen, and Clawdia (Clawdeen’s siblings in the original story)? It may mean that we may never see these characters or dolls in the future.

And with this reboot, Ghoulia is replaced by a new zombie character known as Moanica D’Kay. Unlike Ghoulia (who speaks zombie language), apparently Moanica speaks like a “normal” person (I guess Mattel really wants to put more emphasis on being “normal” and how great it is).  And with an added touch,  this new character’s signature color is none other than the color PINK…

Also new to the stage of new characters, Spectra is replaced with the character Ari Hauntington (which I’m pretty sure is Ariana Grande in monster form). It’s quite interesting because Spectra’s name was going to be Von Hauntington originally.

Check it out: Spectra-Von Hauntington

Ari is a typical Mattel character. She’s girly, shy, and she sings.  Typical recipe for selling points, right? Not to mention she can also solidify herself into a popstar named Tash. And let me say that her other form looks just like Barbie.  (I predict that Ari Hauntington’s human form may also have a doll…she looks like a “seller”).  There are also some new characters that were introduced in the Welcome To Monster High movie such as Raythe and the Skeleton Boys, Skelly and Bonesy.

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“She’s a Barbie girl, in a Barbie wooorrrlldd”…That should definitely be her theme song.

So, what do I think of the story change? I personally don’t see why it was necessary.  Sure the movie animation was nice, but the new story feels less relatable compared to the original story.  To add, I hate how the story butchered Clawdeen’s family…

Did anyone else notice that the males in this series seem even less relevant than they did before?

And it isn’t just the story, but the look of the webisodes that have had a change.  Normally, I typically like stop motion and Monster High’s stop motion would actually be pretty good. However, only the characters had their original face molds.  To add, when I compare stop motion webisodes with MH’s cartoon web series, I honestly like the cartoon web series better.

One reason I prefer the animated web series is because the stop motions only make use of the characters that have dolls.  Therefore, there is limited characterization within the web series. That also means most of the characters will be females (because naturally most of MH dolls are female), most of them will consist of the main characters without showing their interactions with other characters, and there may not be much story in each episode in comparison to the former webisodes.

So, the new webisodes will not do much as far as fleshing out the characters’ personalities and relationships.  This bothers me a bit because the webisodes were originally really good at showcasing Monster High’s diversity. Even though not all of the characters had dolls from the web series, they were still very entertaining to watch.  After the first few watches of the stop motion series, I honestly lost interest in watching anymore. Its only entertainment value lies in the fact that it is stop-motion, a cool way to bring animation to inanimate objects. But it is not something I would enjoy following for the next few years to come.

What bugs me even more is the change they made to the webisode animation style caused Mattel to cancel “The Lost Movie”, the movie that was supposed to be an animated crossover between the Monster High Characters and the Ever After High characters.

To see what “The Lost Movie” looked like in its early stages:

It’s ironic that they used the same marketing tools that competitors MGA used for the relaunched Bratz. The Bratz flopped after such awful marketing strategies. Mattel is following them right into the fire.

Overall, the new Monster High reboot may be perfect for children 8 years and younger. After all, the girls look like cute little 7 year olds, the clothing is age-appropriate, and the web series totally relates to little kids (including a webisode in which the girls in stop motion learn how to ride a bike for the first time. EVERY kid can relate to that)! Best of all, none of the girls have icky boyfriends (little kids hate that stuff, right?). And at last, parents may be pleased to see that Monster High looks “normal” and feminists will be pleased to see that MH dolls no longer objectify them by wearing too much make-up and almost all the skirts go to the knees…There is absolutely nothing daring about what they wear, which is a win for both parents and feminists alike, right?

But for some people who are tweens, teenagers, and adult collectors(the actual consumers), this reboot may be seen as a serious joke. I’m one of those collectors who find this reboot to be one of the most laughable doll reboots in history.

Leave a comment in the comments’ section below and let me know what YOU think about the new Monster High reboot. Do you love it or is it going in your failed reboot archives, like it is going in mine?

 

‘Fantastic Beasts (And Where To Find Them)’ Is Fantastically Magical (Movie Review)

21 Nov

I haven’t been this satisfied coming out of a movie theater since I went to go see the first Hunger Games movie.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

At a time when immigrants still had to travel through Ellis Island to land in the USA, a time when bell caps and bobs were a fashion trend, a time when mothers would make their children take off their own belts just to spank them with it (and there were hardly any abuse laws), the movie invites us back in time to the 1920s.

Mix magic and mystery with a little history, and you’ve got the gist of this movie.

The movie is inspired by a published book of the same name, and is meant to be both a prequel to and spin-off of the Harry Potter series, taking place 70 years before the start of the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling, of course, is the author of both. She also took the role of screenwriter for this film. It’s no wonder the movie was so interesting and engaging.

Five films have been planned for the series already. Warner Bros. is in charge of it again, which I’m thankful. (Sidenote: I wish they would also go back to producing American Girl’s films as well). They love to take on projects dealing with New York (remember the Dark Knight?)

Harry Potter put magic in the hands of youth. This movie is putting magic in the hands of experienced adults. Yet, though most of the characters in the movie most were adults, the child in all of us was released. I felt that I could see myself in the only main character without magic. I was spellbound.

We are introduced to an interesting protagonist, who distinctly but humbly leaves his head lowered in most cases, named Newt Scamander. He is a “beast rights activist” of sorts. He travels from England to the USA to collect rare creatures and release rare creatures back into their natural habitats. He captures these beasts within his briefcase. Walking the streets of New York City, Newt stops at a meeting that seeks to hunt down “witches”, sparked by disastrous events that have been happening in the city. While among this crowd, one of the creatures escapes Newt’s briefcase, causing mayhem at a New York City bank. This is the beginning of a fascinating and complex story.

The pacing of the movie was not bad. There are many scenes dedicated to showing off the visuals, especially when focusing on the beasts themselves. There were a lot of action scenes, magical scenes, mysterious scenes. There were few plot holes, aside from things deliberately left out. It was well-told.

Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, anyone could appreciate and understand this story. It was written in a way that can introduce newcomers to the franchise. The story only makes slight connections to the Harry Potter series.

For Harry Potter fans, there are quite a few “easter eggs” throughout. Mentions of Hogwarts, the spell “Alohomora”, and Dumbledore are just some of the familiar things mentioned in Fantastic Beasts. Mostly, though, Fantastic Beasts may feel like an entirely different series. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US), Fantastic Beasts is a textbook that Harry and his friends had on their reading lists. It’s a book describing the magical beasts in their universe. But the stories seem unique from one another, though the heart is still there. Everyone can go into this series with a fresh outlook with few expectations as a result.

David Yates returns as director and David Heyman returns as producer along with Lionel Wigram. With this team, this movie turned out to be a success.

I recommend people see this movie. It can be good for the whole family, but it may go over the heads of very small children.

10/10

Betty Spaghetty Makes A Return in 2016

18 Jul
Artwork by Jordanswintart @ deviantart

Artwork by Jordanswintart @ deviantart

Betty Spaghetty is due to return this August, just in time for the fall quarter. The newer, re-vamped version has appeared at the Toy Fair and it seems a few people were able to share their findings on Youtube.

For those of you who don’t know who (or rather what) Betty Spaghetty is (probably those of you who were not ’90s kids), Betty Spaghetty was a line of bendable, stretchy dolls meant to look spaghetti-like, only with funky, colorful clothes and various facial expressions. It was a way to play on the fact that kids often ‘play with their food’. You know how kids add “faces” with different food items onto their sandwiches? Or maybe play “Godzilla” with their dinosaur crackers? Yeah, same concept, only this time manufactured into a toy line.

Elonne Dantzer was the genius who brought these dolls to life. Her real inspiration behind Betty Spaghetty was Lego toys. She wanted to create a “girls’ Lego” (before Lego Friends came to stores), playing on the fact that you can put Legos together and take them apart to create things. The character was meant to be “cartoonish” in style, with a very expressive face and bendable body, something little kids could really enjoy. She was originally supposed to be “Bendy Boop”, but after a test session with a little girl, she became who we know today.

Ms. Dantzer explains more about it at The Blade.

The Ohio Art Company, the company who took on the idea, first brought these dolls to stores in 1998. The main ‘Betty Spaghetty’ character was a blonde, perky teenager who loved fashion (Hey, this was the 1990’s, okay? You can only expect the stereotype), but she came with friends and a little sister. The dolls were rubbery, including the hair, which was fun for kids who loved to style hair. The hands and feet were removable. They had various accessories as well. In each box, Betty had a new facial expression, which was always my favorite part of the doll line.

Betty Spaghetty was discontinued in 2004. Back then, there was strong competition in the doll market (With a strong push by most toy manufacturers to appeal to the tween market at this time, Betty, targeted to kids as young as four, didn’t stand a chance).

Betty tried to make a comeback in 2007, but she had no luck with sales. I guess the world wasn’t ready for her return just yet. And of course, the internet didn’t create much of the sensations it does today.

Now, the dolls are slated to make another return. Let’s see what’s happening now.

My first thought was…Lalaloopsy Girls anyone?

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I watched the Toy Fair video, saw pictures of the dolls, watched the commercial, and visited the official website. I’m still certain that this revamp is a new product with the Betty Spaghetty brand stamped on it for press coverage.

First off, the new dolls are no longer created by Ohio Art. Moose Toys is now in charge. They created the Shopkins and there is a striking resemblance between the Shopkins and the new Betty dolls. I guess that’s why they took over the Spaghetty dolls. They’re a company known for putting “faces” on normal grocery items…

Now that there’s a new company involved, there are several differences between the original Betty Spaghetty and the newer dolls. The differences I see really take away the charm the brand once had. I have a problem with companies that try to revive something without really understanding the essence of what they are bringing back into the world.

There is only one pro that I see: Betty is more diverse in her presentation. And it’s not like the original Betty Spaghetty didn’t have many friends with different ethnic backgrounds and shades. But they were clearly sidekicks. Originally, blonde “Betty” got all the attention. Now, Betty is mostly customizable and she often has different hair colors, like blue hair. This relates to a wider audience.

Of course, I’m only looking from an early perspective. When they arrive on shelves, I may have better opinions about them.

The real problem is that not only am I unimpressed, I’m simply not feeling nostalgic with this release, either. So, who are they literally trying to appeal to here? I don’t understand who would want these dolls with so many other more interesting ones floating around and with the original Betty Spaghetty floating around on the second market.

These dolls just don’t feel “Betty” enough. They literally seem to be reaching with this comeback. Let me just run down the significant differences for you.

1) She’s Not Truly Bendable Anymore

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Yes, these dolls are not truly bendable. Even in the video above, the commercial, and several pictures, it seems like the presenters struggle to bend their arms and legs for an easy bendable pose. Betty Spaghetty is supposed to be tall and lanky and spaghetti-like. She’s supposed to be noodle-skinny. She was so thin, you could add beads to her arms and legs. These girls are short, with big heads and a body proportion that rivals Monster High, Ever After High, or the re-vamped Bratz dolls.

Really, the presenter showed no effort in demonstrating Betty’s bendable poses. It’s probably because that was the last thing considered when making this doll. They clearly wanted to emphasize the fact that these dolls have a ‘mix-and-match’ function. The only thing noodly about these girls is their rubber hair. Whoopie.

The arms and legs on these dolls only manage simple poses. The only thing familiar about the body is the rubbery feeling.

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 2) The Doll Clothing Lacks Funk

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Update: Originally, I wasn’t fond of the clothes because I thought they were boring. I mean, can you blame me? That Toy Fair did nothing to boost Betty’s reputation.

However, I’m not excited about the new dolls either. They aren’t as boring as they once looked, but they are still more boring than Betty originally was. They just lack funk.

The 1990s is over, I know. But I think the funky style suited Betty well. Betty Spaghetty dolls are supposed to be teenagers. These new dolls’ outfits look made for little girls. They’re colorful, but not cool. I absolutely dislike blonde Betty in a “princess” costume. Ugh.

These outfits are just too typical.

On the main website, it looks like they have 12 dolls released so far: Chef Betty, Cupcake Betty, Princess Betty, Fairy Betty, Popstar Betty, Cafe Lucy, Skate Lucy, Beach Zoey, Hula Zoey, Ballet Betty, Pink Ski Betty, and Blue Ski Betty.

A sister brand to the Shopkins for sure…

Though they revamped some of Betty’s older lines, like the ski line, it lacks all the flavor of the original. Blonde Betty herself is super “feminine” and is not the fashionista she once was.

They still don’t have tons of jewelry or the make-up that Betty had, which made all of her clothes pop, made her colorful, and even more FUNKY.

Betty always reminded me of Claudia from the Babysitters Club, if any of you all remember the series…Her style was just so original and cool.

The new Betty Spaghetty dolls aren’t ugly, just too sweet and childish for my tastes.

 

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Even the first revamp had a better selection. I’m sick that it didn’t take off the ground like it should’ve…Especially after seeing these new dolls.

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3) Their Faces Lack Expression

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Betty Spaghetty had many different facial expressions in every release. Sometimes she would look surprised or excited or happy, and other times she would look solemn or even scared. She seemed to have a little personality all her own. Her lips weren’t the only things that GAVE her personality. Her EYES even gave her personality.

The new dolls? Not so much. First off, they have noses. The original Betty was cartoonish, as intended, and didn’t have a nose on her roundish, shiny face. The new “Betty” seems like an attempt at a CGI cartoon.

The new dolls’ expressions are all pretty much the SAME. There seem to mostly be three types of faces: solemn smile, regular smile or chipper wide grin. The eyes are all the SAME. They lack color as well. Betty and her friends used to have individual expressions and often those expressions were related to the line they were released in. The new Betty dolls all look…the same.

They’re not wearing make-up, so they don’t have any extra art or color to their faces, aside from some blush to make their cheeks rosy. And it’s not bad to be fresh-faced, but the new dolls don’t look as funky, colorful, or creative as the original Betty.

Panda17188 @deviantart.com

Panda17188 @deviantart.com

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4) They Don’t Look Like Teenagers

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Betty Spaghetty was tall, wore makeup, and shopped. She looked like a teenager. Her clothing lines reflected a teenager. The new Betty Spaghetty dolls look like kids. I’m not going to say all teenagers should be tall and lanky, but the clothing and lines for the new Betty dolls (like the hula outfit, the inline skating one, etc) look like something a child would wear. At least bring back Betty’s essence. Being a teenager is far more glamorous for kids. Why? Because it’s something they can…IMAGINE. They can’t imagine being who they already are. That’s the problem with toys like this. They lack imagination. They lack vision. They lack creativity.

Do you really expect me to believe that “ballet-princess-fairy” Betty is a teenager? XD I don’t think so.

I know Betty Spaghetty was always directed to children 4 years old and older, but these dolls don’t seem ready for playtime no matter the age. The only things kids can do with these dolls are braid the hair and change the clothes. The accessories are not ugly, but most of them are common in any toy line. The bodies aren’t even bendable. It’s not like you can put beads on the arms. They are too thick and don’t bend. Boring. I can’t see any kids wanting to play with these toys for long.

5) Betty is not Really Blonde Anymore

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It looks like one blonde doll is still in the line as Betty, but according to the main website, there are TWO types of “Bettys”. One has blonde hair, the other has blue hair.

This is kind of confusing and I think this is bad. People will be looking for blonde Betty which will take away sales from the blue-haired doll. Why didn’t they give her a new name instead of making two Betty dolls? They have Lucy and Zoey. I just don’t understand why there needs to be two dolls named Betty.

The sad part is blue-haired Betty has better clothes than “princess-ballet-cupcake-chef” Betty. The new blonde Betty is girlish and childish, while blue-haired Betty is a “popstar” (though gag me with the fairy one) and takes on Betty’s “ski line”.

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I understand the diversity thing, but Betty was known as blonde. Even in the commercial, I saw blonde Betty getting the shine among the other dolls, but then at the end, I see the blue-haired doll…

Maybe they want Betty to have diverse hair colors? Which is cool and all, but the problem is the dolls’ facial expressions and skin are not that diverse. Most people will decifer the differences by hair color, and most people assume blonde Betty is Betty…

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It seems like companies are out to revive the 1990’s. Companies are out to revive old products in general because lately only popular brands sell well in the toy market (and just about every market today). But I feel if these companies lose the heart of the brand, there’s no way they can truly revive a product the way they wish.

Perhaps Moose recognized that Ohio Art had been unsuccessful with the original re-vamp and felt that they should try to design and market Betty dolls differently. But I doubt these will do any better.

I’m also considering the fact that Moose couldn’t make their new dolls like the original Betty. If Ohio Art still kept the copyrights to the original design or the original creator pulled the original designs, that would mean Moose had to start their designs from scratch and would have to make their Betty dolls look different. I feel that if they couldn’t get hold of the original designs, why make these dolls?

I think it’s just time to hang up on Betty Spaghetty. The new generation hardly plays with dolls, but the dolls they do enjoy have an even bigger brand name in the toy market with the proper marketing tools. If Moose Toys make Youtube videos for Betty like they do for Shopkins, maybe they will reap some success. It already seems set up for a CGI release or something like that. But I doubt it will stay popular for long.

Visit their website www.bettyspaghetty.com

As more information is revealed, I will be updating this article.

What are your thoughts readers? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

What Do Your Zodiac Signs’ Colors Say About YOU?

22 Jun

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Many of you have probably heard of your “astrological” or “zodiac” sign before. You probably know whether you’re an Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, or Pisces, right?

But many of you may not know that the signs we’re most familiar with are our “star” signs or Sun signs and that we have 9 other important “planetary” signs in our astrological natal charts.

For those who don’t know this, this article may be too confusing for you.

To Learn more about this, move on over to this article first: Introduction to the Planets, Signs, and Aspects

For those who are aware, this will be a good, simple read.

We’ve all heard that certain colors are associated with certain Sun signs. Well, those colors are not just for the Sun. We could exude other planetary energies if we wear the colors associated with our other signs. This could bring balance to our wardrobes and allow us to have some variety.

I created this color guide so that everyone can bring out the best of their natal charts and so people won’t feel so consumed by the colors of their Sun signs.

First, let’s start off with the colors associated with the 12 signs:

Aries, vibrant and bold 
Main-Red
Other: violet, blue, black, and white, gold

Taurus, calm and sensual 
Main-pale Pink, Green
Other: pale Yellow, pale blue, pale purple, white, brown, black

Gemini, bright and social
Main-Yellow
Other: bright green, burnt orange, blue, pink

Cancer, caring and dreamy 
Main-Silver, Grey, white
Other: purple, green, blue

Leo, dramatic and dignified
Main-gold, orange
Other: purple, red, copper, baige, rose pink, yellow

Virgo, intelligent and down-to-earth 
Main-brown, green
Other: dark blue, grey, white, rust purple

Libra, classy and easy-going 
Main-Blue
Other: pale green, purple, white, pink, white, pastels

Scorpio, magnetic and powerful
Main-shades of red, black
Other: dark Purple, dark gray, seaweed green, dark blue

Sagittarius, adventurous and wise
Main-Purple,light and dark shades, dark blue
Other: blue, green, dark brown, black, red, yellow

Capricorn, cool and goal-oriented
Main-Black, dark brown, dark gray
Other: indigo, dark purple, navy, dark red, brown, white, dark green

Aquarius, spontaneous and altruistic
Main-Electric blue, turquoise,aquamarine
Other: blue, green, purple, neon pink, red, electric colors, strange colors

Pisces, imaginative and perceptive
Main-Sea green, shades of purple
Other: mauve, silver, white, blue, violet, all decided by their moods

If we combine the colors of the signs with the planetary meanings, we will begin to understand how we can bring out the best in our outfits and ourselves.

Next is how planetary meanings can resonate with the colors in your clothes:

The Sun-Rules the ego and the basic self, the inner identity. Wearing the colors of our Sun sign will feel the most natural. To the world, it will seem to fit with your general identity. Reflecting who you “are”, you are likely to attract the right opportunities to yourself that will make you content, happy, and confident in your skin. People have developed their identities since they were children, so wearing the colors will seem to bring you back to your youth. At the same time, because you are one with yourself, you will have more confidence, which will make you seem like an authority figure to others. These colors would be perfect to wear for any occasion, especially when you need a confidence boost.

Example: When Sun is in its rulership sign of Leo, wearing bright and bold colors like orange or gold will fit well with their natural dramatic identity. They will definitely be able to attract attention and adoration, which makes them happy and confident!

J-Lo looks naturally aglow in orange! It suits her regal personality!

J-Lo looks naturally aglow in orange! It suits her regal personality! It won’t be hard for this Leo to get attention!

The Moon-Rules the home, moods, feelings. When we wear the colors of our Moon sign, we may be conveying several energies depending on our feelings and mood. The moon is the innermost part of us. It’s very personal. If we wear the colors of our moon, it’s almost like a mood ring reflecting our general moods and feelings. At the same time, these colors could attract circumstances that could improve our overall mood and feelings. We may also feel more connected with our family, culture, and home environment when we wear these colors. The colors could go well with our home décor to improve the overall mood of our homes. These colors would be perfect to wear when feeling down or feeling inspired.

Example: When the Moon is in Scorpio, its falling sign, the people influenced tend to have brooding or deep feelings all the time. Their feelings are extreme and overwhelming at times. Dark colors reflect this brooding mood and depth of mind. But it can also be healing and powerful for them to wear such dark colors. These colors may remind them of darker memories, but these private individuals may still find comfort in black or dark red for home décor and fashion styles. It keeps the busy-bodies away.

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Beyonce expresses her inner fierceness in this dark red leather coat! Moon in Scorpio at its finest!

Mercury-Rules communication and the conscious mind (thoughts). When we wear the colors of Mercury, we’re revealing the natures of our thoughts and helping ourselves communicate better. Any creative ideas will be expressed easier through the colors that resonate well with our thinking patterns. We would also attract the right circumstances and people for easier communication and mental stimulation. These colors would be perfect to wear when giving a speech, going to work or school, going to a party, or roaming about the neighborhood.

Example:  When Mercury is in Libra, light pastel colors reflect their cool and diplomatic thoughts on matters. They can better present diplomatic ideas when wearing colors that are soft on the eyes. Most people will be able to listen to them when they aren’t loud or flamboyant in their color choices. They will also attract diplomatic and easy-going people, the perfect types for socializing and helping to create a scene of harmony.

Leonardo is showing off his cool Mercury in Libra side. Doesn't this outfit scream "laid-back"?

Leonardo is showing off his cool Mercury in Libra side. Doesn’t this outfit scream “laid-back”?

Venus-Rules Beauty, love, art, affection, aesthetic sense, values, harmony. Venus rules over the color scheme, taste, and style. When we wear the colors of our Venus sign, we are introducing to the world our own individual style and taste!  As a result, we are also sharing our own unique charms and physical beauty. Venus refines us all. When wearing these colors, we tend to look more refined and elegant to the outside world. Venus softens any rough edges and adds an appealing glow to us. These colors would be best to wear on a first date or a night out with friends. If you want to look fabulous all the time, wear a hint of it every day! With Venus colors, we can look quite sexy in a subtle way.

Example: When Venus is in Aries, her detrimental sign, bold red could bring out this individual’s beauty, charms, and graces. They just really look good in red! These people usually like the color red, along with blue, purple, black, and white.

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Lily James looks both natural and lovely in red! (Sun and Venus in Aries)

Mars-Rules energy, ambition, drive, aggression, and sex. As a malefic planet, Mars can be tricky. It can be intense or cruel and yet powerful. When we wear the colors of Mars, we are bringing out our own fierce energy and ambition. We will be attracting the right situations to us to help us reach our goals! Unfortunately, we’ll attract competition and enemies, too. Yet, this intensity can make us appear strong and sexy, and not the subtle kind of sexy. Steamy hot! Our greatest passions come out in the colors represented by our Mars signs.

Example: When Mars is in Gemini, these individuals will show their fun but scattered energy and drive when they sport bright and vibrant colors like yellow. They will certainly attract plenty of people who are interesting, and it will be because they look bold and interesting! They will be able to ease any sort of boredom when they wear vibrant colors. Situations will come towards them that promise a good time. Who wouldn’t want to hang with someone in bright yellow? Seems like a fun person! Of course, these people are taking a chance when they sport such a bold color. There will be people who think this color is too loud. But they still manage to blow off some steamy sex appeal in bright colors.

US actress Uma Thurman poses as she arrives for the screening of the film "Sils Maria" at the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Uma Thurman definitely looks interesting and bold in yellow! She really brings out her Mars in Gemini energy. Doesn’t she seem more approachable?

Jupiter-Rules luck, expansion, beliefs. This is the greatest benefic. When we wear the colors of our Jupiter signs, we attract all sorts of fortune! We attract the right opportunities to expand our horizons when we step into these colors. Anything that does some good in our lives could ultimately make us happy. Therefore, wearing these colors will bring smiles to our faces and give us a boost of energy. These colors may also put us in touch with our beliefs. Our beliefs will be taken seriously if we reflect what we believe.

Example: When Jupiter is in Scorpio, these people attract the opportunity to get involved in some deep and intense experiences that will change their world forever when they sport dark colors like black, dark red, and purple. They also reflect their deep beliefs when they wear these colors. I mean, anyone looking as intense as a Scorpio must have some deep thoughts, right? These people enjoy shaking things up and living life on the edge. A dark color like black and dark red is enough to make them smile!

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Britney shows us sexy and edgy in this hot dark red sequined stage ensemble! It’s no surprise she’s Jupiter in Scorpio

Saturn-Rules structure, form, limitation, and responsibility. When we wear the colors of our Saturn, it may take a while for us to warm up to it. But we won’t regret it! We will bring out our professional talents when we wear these colors and will attract success. These colors will thus make us look more mature. If you want to look wiser, wear the colors of your Saturn.

Example: When Saturn is in Sagittarius, wearing the color purple would put them in touch with their more mature and wise side. These people want to learn from the world and teach others or inspire others. In purple, the combination of passionate red and subtle blue will help them find experiences and students to teach.

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Madonna gives us the adventure but still carries her “diva” wisdom in purple. Saturn in Sagittarius can make even the most outrageous outfit seem sophisticated.

Uranus-Generational Planet. Rules change, spontaneity, and innovation. When we wear the colors of our Uranus signs, we reflect the changing attitudes of our generation and our sense of rebellion against the norm. These colors could bring us closer to inspired thought. Free your inner rebel in these colors! There’s probably more that we can do with this color than ever before. Now is your time to get innovative and start integrating these colors in spontaneous ways!

Example: When Uranus is in Aquarius, its rulership, these individuals are growing up at a time when anything is possible! They want to be seen as unique and original, so bold electric colors best help them get in touch with their generation’s message. These are the times to dip into some new unusual colors that have probably never been heard before and start trying new things with them!

Definitely representing the Uranus in Aquarius generation!

Definitely representing the Uranus in Aquarius generation! Kylie Jenner made a bold fashion statement with turquoise blue hair!

Neptune-Generational Planet. Rules imagination, artistry, illusion, fantasy. Most of these things are found in books, movies, magazines, tv shows, the internet, and in stores. We are all influenced by entertainment and other art forms, even if we don’t realize it. That’s how subtle influence can be. Neptune could rule over the fashion worn by our favorite celebrities in our favorite movies or music videos. It also inspires fashion designers and what they put out in stores. When we wear the colors of our Neptune, we may very well be wearing the colors most popular among the celebrities! We are recreating our generation by wearing these colors and inspiring others in later generations.

Example: When Neptune is in Leo, bright and bold colors like orange, gold, and yellow reflect the glamor of the time period.

Marilyn Monroe perfectly captured the glam of Neptune in Leo! She was everyone's "dream" girl!

Marilyn Monroe perfectly captured the glam of Neptune in Leo! She was everyone’s “dream” girl!

Pluto-Generational Planet. Rules power, obsession, transformation. When we wear the colors of Pluto, we are revealing the deepest part of our generation. We will be able to attract powerful positions and transformative situations when we embrace the colors of our Pluto. Pluto can make us all intensely sexy in a mysterious and magnetic way. We may reflect our deepest secrets and obsessions. Not too many people may feel comfortable when wearing colors that reflect their “dark side”, but it may lead to healing if we come to terms with our deepest fears and bring it to light. Then we show we don’t fear it anymore.

Example:  When Pluto is in Sagittarius, the color purple shows the generation’s obsession with travel , foreign cultures, and wisdom. They show that they want to combine passionate adventure and cool intelligence together in their lives when they wear purple.

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Zendaya manages to look cool and empowering in purple!

So try and combine your planetary energy with your sign energy and see what magic you can create!

Leave me a comment and let me know what combinations have brought out the best in you!

Ever After High: Is Darling Charming Apple White’s “True Love”? I Don’t Think So!

16 May

darling and apple

In this “progressive” age, there is recently a push for films, tv shows, and even webisodes to be more “inclusive” and universal. This means not only are people focused on race, culture, religion, and gender, but also sexual orientation.

Ever After High webisodes, inspired from the dolls, can’t even escape from the pressure to conform to the latest trend.

Iphone 5 Ever After High wallpaper

A little summary on the EAH series: The series follows the descendants of popular fairytale characters who attend the high school to follow in their “parents'” footsteps. Throughout the series, however, they learn that they can be in charge of their own destinies. Apple White is one of the main characters and she is adamant about following the “Royal” destiny, the destiny written for her in the Storybook of Legends (basically a contract in the fairytale world), which encourages her to live out her life like her mother (Snow White) did. Raven Queen is her polar opposite in every way. She is represented as the “Rebel” deuteragonist. She was supposed to become the Evil Queen and villain in Apple White’s shining tale, but has decided that role doesn’t “fit” her. She is actually a “good girl”. She has “rebelled” against the Storybook of Legends and decided to re-write her own destiny.  In the movie Way to Wonderland, Raven Queen ripped out the pages of the Storybook so that she and other characters could write their own stories. Though the series was originally advertised as showing two different points of view, the actual series has mostly leaned toward the “rebel” side of things.

The Ever After High characters are all teenagers. Their high school was created by the “Grimm Brothers”, based off of two real-life German storytellers who were among the first to actually collect and publish the fairytales we know today. Of course, their versions were always more gruesome.

dragon games

In the recent Ever After High movie Dragon Games, Apple White had been choking on a piece of poison apple (given by Raven Queen’s evil mother). She ended up passing out (like Snow White did in the story). Daring Charming, her supposed “true love”, tried to kiss her, but his kiss didn’t work. So over struts Darling Charming, his heroic sister determined to be a knight. She gives Apple White “CPR” (which many think was a kiss). There is a magic light and then Apple awakens. This seemed to many to indicate that Darling Charming was actually Apple White’s “true love”.

This may seem like a proud day for the LGBT community. In so many respects, it is. It really is one of the few moments where two females in an animated show actually touched lips. It’s a step forward in showing children that the act is very normal.

But as progressive as it seems, I highly doubt that the creators really intended to turn Darling Charming’s “CPR” into Apple White’s “true love’s kiss”. There are several indications in the webisodes and throughout the movie that reveal the REAL intentions of the scene.

As told in recent fairy tales, “true love’s kiss” can only work when the person kissing the princess has prior romantic feelings for her. In Apple and Darling’s case, neither one of them have ever shown signs that they were romantically “in love” with each other prior to the CPR.  Therefore, how can it be that Darling is Apple’s “true love’s kiss” in this case? The only “loving” feeling Darling Charming has had is the love of friends…and it was that love for one of her friends that led her to try and save Apple’s life.

Friendship is a recurring theme throughout the Dragon Games movie, as with all of these movies and shows nowadays. With Frozen proving that the love of a sister is more powerful than romantic love and with My Little Pony‘s “Friendship is Magic” motto, Ever After High wants to use the same effective message to increase the bond of their female characters. They seemed determined to prove that the love between friends was just as powerful, if not more powerful, than “romantic” love.

Second, as the series seems to lean toward the “rebel” side of things, it’s also likely that the movie seemed to be showing that “true love’s kiss” isn’t necessary and is basically non-existent. Though it’s still considered pretty “magical” in the fairytale world, it is really looked at as an outdated joke, especially among those characters that want to re-write their own destinies.

Third, let’s look at the scene in totality. Yeah, sure, when the “kiss” (or CPR) happened, there was a magical “light” and she ended up coughing a “heart” out. But if Darling really was her true love’s kiss, wouldn’t the surrounding characters have reacted in a stronger way? “True Love’s Kiss” is a big deal in the fairytale universe (even if it is seen as mostly a myth). Darling Charming, as well as all the other characters in the movie, treated the whole scene as if it wasn’t a big deal, not as if the characters assumed Darling was destined to be Apple’s “true love”. Everyone was happy that Apple White was “saved”, but they didn’t acknowledge or question why Darling was the one to awaken Apple. Darling didn’t even think anything of it. Usually, when something is emphasized, like “true love’s kiss”, the narrator usually highlights it so that all surrounding viewers can fully understand what is being implied. But in this scene, the other characters (Even Darling!) just laugh it off nervously and make Apple believe it was Daring. As the series is continuing to encourage that all characters can write their own destinies, this scene seems to be another nod to that revolutionary idea rather than the idea that Darling is her “true love”.

The magical light and the coughed-out heart could’ve been the aftereffects of a broken spell. I believe the irony was the fact that true love’s kiss wasn’t needed and that a simple, unmagical solution, such as CPR, was enough.

On Darling Charming’s profile, she states she likes “guys”. How could Mattel “intend” to make her Apple White’s “true love’s kiss” if they already set up her profile that way? Even if she was into girls that are pure of heart, Apple White has shown herself not to be “pure of heart” in any way (And I theorize that she’s REALLY the evil Queen). I mean the girl is vain, looks in the same magic mirror that the evil queen once used, manipulates people and situations to achieve her own selfish desires, and does not have Snow White’s features (“hair black as ebony wood” is missing).

Finally, the scene in Dragon Games scene seems to be a play on the Grimm Brother’s story of Snow White. After all, they are the ones who “created” Ever After High.

The reason why most people have associated Snow White‘s story with “true love’s kiss” is because of Disney. What is irritating is that most people are only familiar with Disney’s version of these tales. It was my main gripe with Alice in Wonderland. Trying to explain to others how the 1985 Alice in Wonderland version was the most accurate adaptation is still a challenge…

The original story of Snow White mirrors Apple White’s situation in the movie. In the original Snow White tale, Snow White also choked on a poison apple. No one could revive her, NOT EVEN THE PRINCE. Snow White was actually awakened by the Prince’s SERVANTS! While carrying Snow White’s coffin, they stumbled on some roots and the poison chunk was lodged out of her throat

Read about the original story here: Grimm Brother’s Snow White

Considering Ever After High puts a lot of emphasis on “changing” destinies, the confusion surrounding the tales fit with the EAH series in a strange way. Because there are so many versions of these fairytales, it further shows that the characters have many destinies they can follow and can even write their own futures. If we were to assume that the “kiss” (CPR) makes Darling her “destined” true love, it would contradict with the message behind the Dragon Games movie and the message of the whole Ever After High series. That message encourages the characters to decide their own futures. Therefore, Darling is only Apple’s “true love” if Apple feels she should be. At this moment in time, Apple has not shown any romantic interest in Darling before or after the scene.

An EAH fan brought something to my attention as well: What may have lead Apple White to believe that a “kiss” was in her destiny may have been due to the fact that her mother told her a distorted view of her own tale. Snow White was asleep when the poisoned apple was lodged out of her throat. She really didn’t know WHO saved her! In the story, all she saw was a handsome prince standing before her. He did explain what had happened but from his perspective. She may not have known that a bump in the road is what saved her life. If Apple White were to truly follow in her mother’s footsteps, the reality is that Apple White is NEVER GOING TO GET “TRUE LOVE’S KISS”. But seeing as the story focuses on choosing our own destinies, hopefully she discovers that she can create her own “happy-ever-after”.

One fan of EAH, Sorafanchick,  made an interesting comment on Youtube about the controversy:

My theory is that in the EAH universe their  “destinies” are actually moreso “written destinies” rather than literal fate. These were “written destinies” in the Storybook Of Legends that characters were at one point forced to fulfill. These written “destinies” were formed into a contract and placed in the Storybook of Legends.  By signing The Storybook of Legends, each character was supposed to seal their “written” destinies, vowing to live just as their parents did and vowing to follow the laws of the Fairytale world. Remember Legacy Day? But when Raven tore the pages out of the Storybook of Legends and gave it to everyone in the Way to Wonderland movie, this allowed everyone to write their own destinies and make their own choices as to how their destinies should be fulfilled. This also gave Apple the freedom to choose how her destiny will be fulfilled.  Of course, Apple has always been more conservative than the others.

In the movie Dragon Games, which of course, comes to us a few years after the original “Legacy Day” webisode, the Dragon Games movie teaches Apple White that even if she does follow in her mother’s footsteps…how she chooses to go about doing that is her choice.  This means that she doesn’t have to do exactly as her mother did to gain the same results of “happily ever after”.  She learns that she can still fulfill the destiny “written” for her, and yet still she can also choose how and when that “written” destiny will be fulfilled.

I will also talk about Apple’s excitement with “true love’s kiss” and what may have happened as to why she believed this would happen in her future if she chooses to live like Snow White.
In the original Snow White story, I don’t believe Snow White actually KNEW how she awakened that day. (It is only the readers that are made aware that a piece of apple was lodged in her throat). The only thing Snow White saw when she awakened was a handsome prince standing over her. So I believe in the EAH series that Snow White believed her prince awakened her, thus she may have told Apple that a Prince will awaken her with “True Love’s Kiss” as well (with Snow White still actually being unaware of how she herself was awakened).
I believe that Mattel played on this trope, too. When Apple White awakens she is a little bewildered and then she also wakes up to see Daring standing over her (just like her mother Snow White did). Apple then asks “did my prince wake me up?” lol Only her friends know that she was not awakened by the prince, but Apple is left not knowing how she awakened.

Raven’s mother wanted to force the “written destiny” to be fulfilled, hence why she sent a poison apple and hence why the things transpired the way they did in Dragon’s Games.  This caused Apple to temporarily fall into the same situation her mother once was in.  Just as Raven’s evil mother wanted. But the difference is that the people around Apple make their own dreams and destinies come true, and instead of waiting for destiny they took matters into their own hands. Rather than wait for destiny to be fulfilled (with [the prince’s servants] carrying Apple or a Prince’s kiss), Apple’s friend Darling, who is the most heroic and clever of the team, realizes that there may be another way to awaken Apple White.  She decides to use CPR so that Apple White can cough up the poison. In turn, this saves the day.

I do believe that sometimes Mattel does play around with the literal fates of the characters. lol The reason for this has a lot to do with Mattel wanting to highlight the character’s fairytale stories while still giving each character their own free will to choose how the story will end or begin.  After all, mostly the characters are identified more so by their respective fairytales rather than anything else in the EAH franchise, right?  So some things will seem a part of their “destinies”, simply because the characters are meant to represent certain fairytales…which means there will be bits and pieces from their original fairytales inculcated within the webisodes and movies. Their original fairytales were how they were born and how they became to be who they are as of right now. This is why Apple White pretty much ended up in the same situation as her mother at that one time.  But how she was awakened and how her story at that time ended was totally different from the original Snow White story.  This shows us that how the characters’ own personal story is told in their FUTURES, regardless of their pasts or regardless of their origins, is still entirely up to the students of EAH no matter how many times their parents try to force their “written” destinies upon their children. We are ALL influenced by our own past and origins…therefore it will always be apart of our world…but what we do with our past and origins is actually entirely up to US.  We can’t control our past and origins, but we can control our futures.  I think this is the lesson The Dragon Games was teaching and really what the entire EAH series is teaching us.

I don’t believe Darling Charming was set up by Mattel to necessarily be Apple White’s destined true love.  If this is what Mattel wanted, they would’ve given more hints and there would have been some sort of astonishment from Apple White’s friends about it.  But nothing was said.  In fact, Darling herself was not astonished that she was the one to awaken Apple. Even if actions do awaken true love instead of the being itself…, still I would think that the characters and especially Darling would have given a bigger reaction than they did. After all, being someone’s true love’s kiss is usually a BIG DEAL in the fairytale universe, right?  But because there was hardly any reaction to this scenario that took place, to me this means that Darling’s CPR was not meant to be something important to the destiny of both characters.  To me, this means Mattel didn’t intend for this situation to mean anything life changing…hence why they never made the characters react to the situation.

No one was astonished that it was Darling that awakened her.  Darling herself was not astonished or amazed or questioning why it was her instead of Daring, either.  Instead, everyone carried on as if it was no big deal.  And usually in movies and stories when a person awakens their “true love”, doesn’t this cause the characters to feel some sort of connection?  Darling just moved on and didn’t really care. She performed CPR and that was it. Her mission was completed.  That is how it felt to me.  And then no one else really cared to say anything and everyone just kind of chuckled as if they realized “True Love’s Kiss” was not needed after all.  This also led me to believe that the characters did not see this as “True Love’s Kiss”; that Mattel was not technically trying to imply Darling is Apple’s true love. The casual reaction from everyone led me to believe that Mattel wanted to play on storybook tropes, using empowering feminist messages that men are not the only ones who save the day; that other women can too in their own special way. Mattel has always encouraged that women can also save the day, and in this case they wanted to show that Darling Charming has her own way of saving Damsels in distress.  Instead of a kiss, she used something as simple as CPR to do the trick, which actually turned out to be what helped.  She defied storybook stereotypes; that only true love’s kiss can awaken the princess….I think this is what Mattel was intending to show in this regard.

For both lesbians and non lesbian women, the situation still redefines the idea that a princess must always be kissed by a prince. 🙂    I just do not think it was Mattel’s original intention to make Darling Charming Apple’s true love in the future, and my reasons why are as I stated above.  If anything, I believe Apple and Raven have a stronger future together than Darling and Apple. Even one of the producers have acknowledged this pairing on tumblr.

And I agree, regardless of the intentions of the creators, it still really is a step forward. However, I believe that companies are still trying to “play it safe” and stick to friendship stories. Now, if this was Raven kissing Apple…then I believe it would mean something.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

For all the most up-to-date information on Ever After High: Royal & Rebel Pedia is the best wiki for it!

Frozen 2’s Elsa: Gay, Traditional, or Remaining Single? I’m For Single!

13 May

ElsaFrozen

Fans of Disney’s Frozen have been petitioning online for Elsa, the deuteragonist of the film, to finally find love in the sequel-only not with a man. Those among the LGBT community and beyond have been pushing for films to be more “inclusive” and have been pushing for homosexual romances to be seen as “equal” to heterosexual ones. They especially feel children’s shows should embrace the message. By allowing children’s programs and movies to openly represent homosexual relationships, the target generation may start to see it as beautiful and pure rather than taboo.

Many have zeroed in on Elsa. Elsa has come to represent alternative lifestyles. She seems to be a role model for those who don’t fit the “norm”. She steps out of society’s rules in several ways. For one, she’s one of the few Disney heroines without a love interest. Elsa also represents ‘freedom and tolerance’. When Elsa “let it go” in the film, it seemed to send the message that told kids, “It’s okay to be yourself. Don’t conceal what’s inside”. This especially relates to the LGBT because most of them often feel they have to “conceal” or hide who they are to feel more “normal”. So for them, if anyone is to represent LGBT, it should be her. There is plenty of art online that expresses this. 

There are many who are for the push and many who are against it. The conservative, religious folk just feel it isn’t right for their kids. There are also those fans that already shipped her with Jack Frost.

Where do I stand?

I’ll be clear. I’m against it.

I’m not against it because I hate homosexuality. I’m not a homophobe. In fact, a homosexual character in a Disney movie in the near future would be fantastically progressive and is sure to send a statement worldwide.

However, I don’t think Elsa should be that character.

First, I’m sick of Frozen. Disney milks that movie a little too much. It was a “plot-hole” of a story and never really deserved the praise it received. I have more to say on this at the Frozen Review and Frozen-A Feminist movie or a Sexist One? And if I’m sick of the movie, I’m sure others are. It wouldn’t do a homosexual relationship justice. It would be stuck to a sequel, second base to most heterosexual relationships.

Second, Disney’s sequels aren’t usually too good. Do I have to remind you of Tarzan 2? Have you seen the Little Mermaid 2? Nah, Disney should stick to originals. Why place a homosexual relationship in a movie that may not even have a well-developed story? It’s cheap to stick it in a sequel. It makes it feel insignificant and takes away the message that homosexual relationships should be treated equally to heterosexual ones. And if the movie flops, that will kill the cause.

Third, what’s wrong with a character being single? It’s bad enough for women to be damsels in distress, but let’s not forget that women are also often stereotypically clumped with the romance genre. It was refreshing to see a female character that showed no interest in romance and had no issues with betrothal or anything marriage-related (like Merida). Just a refreshing story about a woman who wanted to break free and show her strengths. Anna’s relationship was so distracting and pointless, I almost wish SHE had also been single!

I side with those who want Elsa to remain single.

Some excellent arguments were best summed up by commenter Raygirl from the comments section of the article ‘Why it Doesn’t Matter if Elsa or Any Movie Character is Gay’:

If she becomes gay, the movie will only sell in America…but the movie will be banned in other religious countries. So how is this going to be another billion dollar movie? If we’re thinking from a business perspective making Elsa gay can break the movie’s reputation and interfere with revenue. And its not because of what I believe [is] right and wrong. But rather most of the world is not as progressive or tolerant of gay people like Americans. Elsa would do better being single, for the sake of making worldwide success. If they make her gay, this movie will be a financial flop worldwide and will be filled with criticism.

Why must Elsa find love? Part of her appeal was being a single independent woman. She had different interests other than romance and proves that love does not always have to be romantic. The first movie proved that. By giving her a romantic love interest it will deviate from that message: that love does not always have to be romantic to save the day. The bond between sisters saved the day. I think they should focus on that.

…Why must we change [her from being single and independent to suddenly being a romantic] to fit an agenda? Why don’t they ask for a brand new character that is gay? Elsa was inspirational because she was single… By saying she should be gay or straight, people are insinuating that a person should never be without a romantic partner and that being single is somehow “sad”. Why is her being alone such a bad thing? Why is being single not good enough for people? It’s like the world suspects if you’re not straight, you’re gay and there is no room to be single or even in-between! I’m tired of people assuming a single woman or a man who refuses to marry or date is classified as “gay”. This just reinforces such stereotypes and doesn’t leave room for the imagination nor does it leave room for people to be okay living a single life regardless of their sexual orientation.
She was a loner and wanted to do her own thing. If this were to change, people like me would no longer relate to what made her character so great in the first place. She wasn’t focused on love, she focused on the powers inside of her.

In response to those who feel Merida, Disney’s and Pixar’s Brave heroine, already represents the single ladies and gents:

Why should I have to choose between Merida and Elsa? I like that both of them are single independent women with different personalities. It gives us single people variety to have two different types of women portrayed as single in Disney movies. We’re not all tomboys like Merida, y’know. Some women like wearing sparkly dresses and love our sisters. Are more feminine women like Elsa destined to just be in a relationship? Or can’t any of these women choose to be single? My question for you is why don’t you and many others ask Disney to make a brand NEW Disney princess who is lesbian? Does it have to be one that was already established as a single independent woman in their original form?

Now that she has come to terms with her powers I don’t feel it is necessary to make her a romantic necessarily. In fact, there is so much we have not learned about her powers! I want to see that part of her evolve rather than some offsetting romance. It was bad enough with Anna’s romance. Anna’s romance, in my opinion, interfered with the developing sister relationship in the first Frozen. I don’t want the same thing to happen to my favorite character Elsa.

…I have never had a romantic relationship. And I’m in my 20s. And I plan to keep it that way. My best friend is Asexual and my other best friend is handicapped. They also have never had relationships. My handicapped friend used to cry because she knew she could never date and get married. When she saw Frozen‘s Elsa she was so happy to see a story like Elsa’s and was relieved that Elsa was single. If Elsa had a romantic partner, this would make people like my friend feel bad. So you see, there are people that relate to Elsa in more ways than you realize, that are hoping romance won’t be shoved in their faces. To me relationships don’t mean “Happily Ever After”. My “Happily Ever After” and many others come from being with my friends and family more than some romantic partner. Friends and family will be in your corner no matter how you look or no matter your “sex appeal”. This is why I have chosen to be single. And many others feel the way I do.

In response to someone who related “sexuality” to skin color and gender:

…In Disney movies, the romances technically do advance or interfere with story plots. In fact, most times in Disney’s case the romance tends to be one of the focuses of the story. In the original Frozen, I would have never thought it was a sister story because they focused more on Kristoff and Anna’s growing love life.

A black person is only black by skin. But being black does not reflect a way of life nor a person’s behavior. A woman is only a woman by body, but this also does not reflect her behavior or way of life.
When it comes to homosexuality, it is very different. This reflects not only a feeling and a behavior, but it also reflects a way of life. Therefore, it will alter the story in more ways than being a woman or being black. Including a subtle sexual/romantic theme is the same as including a religion. If people asked for more Jews in Disney movies, this would change the behavior and feeling of the character.

Ari Moore from that same website’s comments section made this interesting note as to why she thinks Elsa should be single:

Loving [oneself] is different from loving someone else for me because my love for myself is unconditional. The love for people however is very conditional.

…The princesses don’t find love, they kind of just meet some random person and do a lot to have that man. Recently it has not been that way but it was like that for a time. To be honest, I do not believe in love and I think stories where there is a love interest is silly and [it is] why women are so ridiculous when it comes to love. To be even more honest, women don’t love, they love the idea of love and men just lust. You can really like someone but I do not think it is love. I think stories about love are setting people up for failure in that aspect because no one really knows what love is. Yes, love stories sell but they should not. It is like false advertisement for the real world because the world is much colder than these fairy tales that disney recreates.

I really just had to put some shine on these words. They really put something on my mind and shaped my view of the whole situation.

While many people may argue that romance and romantic relationships are universal and relate easily to others, nothing is more universal than being single. We are ALL born single; we have all been single at one time. Everyone will not experience relationships or romance. We are only in control of ourselves and the love we have for ourselves. It is the most powerful message for both heterosexuals, homosexuals, bi-sexuals, and asexuals. Heterosexual people don’t often relate to homosexual people and homosexuals don’t often relate to heterosexual lifestyles. But they BOTH can relate to being single. Single people come from all backgrounds.

I think an even better idea would be to give Elsa another female friend in the film but leave their relationship ambiguous. This will allow viewers to see what they want to see and it will satisfy everybody.

So readers, what do you think? Do you think Elsa should remain single or get a female love interest? Or perhaps you’re more conservative and would like Elsa to suddenly follow a traditional route?

It all depends on how you feel the character should evolve. At the end of the day, Disney is going to go with what sales anyhow.

It’s interesting how a children’s film can spark so much debate… Why not let the kids decide? Throughout all of this, no one asked what the kids wanted. These movies are for children who haven’t yet developed an interest in romance.

If you believe that Elsa should stay single, too, sign this petition: #SingleForElsa

Another great article on this topic: Why I’m All for Disney Keeping Elsa Single in Frozen 2 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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