Tag Archives: Bratz

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.

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…

welcometomh_desktop-header_tcm1078-272704

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?

 

Bratz Dolls Say Goodbye To the Toy Industry

23 Oct

Bratz 2001

After a year long hiatus, Bratz returned to the doll scene in 2015. However, MGA decided to take the Bratz in a whole new direction. Thus, the doll line suffered. It’s bad enough that children seldom want to play with toys anymore, especially with tablets around.

MGA tried too hard to appeal to the wrong demographic and took away what made the brand special.

To read more about the Bratz story: What Happened to the Bratz?

For the past year and a half, the Bratz dolls have been suffering in sales. As a result, MGA confirmed in an email to a fan that they are planning to discontinue the Bratz this year. 😦

The fashion doll industry is dying out due to low funds to support doll lines, lack of inspiration, soccer moms, and vocal online and offline radical feminists (who have been against Barbie’s and Bratz’s “sexualization” , “attitude”,  and “materialism” for years now and have been influential when it came to stopping girls from buying these dolls). Apparently, having a passion for fashion is considered “anti-empowering” for women. Further, I guess the soccer moms just couldn’t let these dolls thrive, no matter how hard MGA tried to compromise with them.

The following links show just how many website articles (written by feminists) supported “feminist” makeovers and hated the Bratz:

These Bratz dolls got an amazing feminists 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

Among many other articles. Most of the above articles are recent. The Bratz “controversy” has been going on since debut!

As a long-time super crazy Bratz fan, it is the saddest doll news I ever had to tell.

What saddens me most is not the fact that the Bratz will no longer be around, but the fact that they had so much potential. The Bratz dolls had the ability to bring the future of fashion (and a bit of history) to a fashion doll line–In a REALLY fashionable way. When I look back at Bratz Rock Angelz, for example, I remember a time when everyone wanted to be in a rock band. I reminisce on the styles of 2005 through that line. Bratz kept a record of the trends. I loved that about them. No other fashion doll line is doing that right now. None are capturing our generation’s fashions.

MGA mentioned in the email that this won’t be permanent. But I’m done believing they will bring back the awesome Bratz they once had. They got rid of the original designer, the court cases exhausted most of their funds, and social agendas in the world are influencing MGA’s direction. The only way the Bratz could get back on top is if MGA had the money to get them there and a designer who understood the original designer’s vision.

My next best bet is that another company buys out the brand and makes it awesome. The likelihood is slim, considering “rights” issues and all, but it’s a hope of mine.

My other big optional hope is that the original Bratz designer will gain the rights to the dolls once again and take the brand to a company who will really bring the vision to life.

If the Bratz make a return in a couple of years, when people are feeling nostalgic, there are a few things they truly would need to make it successful. Back in 2001, Bratz suffered at debut. A couple of things were needed to help boost the Bratz reputation. Any future designers and producers of the Bratz should take note.

1. Advertisements with Animation, a Tasteful Tune, and with Girls 10 to 14 

The coolest part about the first Bratz commercial was the animation mixing with the real girls. It was very interactive, fun, and funky.

Having older girls in the commercials made it sassier. The Bratz wasn’t written off as something that was just meant for little children when people saw older girls in the commercials. With older girls, it clearly seemed to appeal to the Tween market. If felt like something tweens and teens could relate to.

The Tween market has a lot of power nowadays, especially when dealing with social media and current trends in general. They register the world more than smaller kids do. If you want to bring power to a brand, tweens and teens will more than likely obsess with it before children will. It will help the brand stand out, like it used to.

The new commercial failed to do that, which was why it failed to promote the Bratz very well. The only thing good about it was the song “What’s Up?”

2. Give the Dolls a Glossy Eyed Look with Nice Make-up

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Forget what feminists and soccer moms say. Make-up is and always has been ART, since Ancient Egypt. The Bratz used make-up in a very unique and artistic way in EVERY line. The glossy eyes added attitude and sass. They looked fierce and stylish.

The doe eyes make them look like deer who are lost in a forest. It’s bad enough people come after the Bratz for the head and feet. Now they hate the eyes.

Future designers should not let Tree Change Dolls intimidate them. Those dolls are not examples of art or creativity, just something slapped together to push social agendas and make moms feel comfortable with themselves. There was no inspiration behind those dolls. I’m sorry, not sorry. Bratz need to stay away from lines that mirror Tree Change.

Bratz needs to stick with what they do best and they are best a defying expectations when it comes to style.

3. Cut the Girlishness, Bring the EDGE

I’m sorry, but if Bratz is going to be back on top, it also has to appeal to the boys, like it once did. Bratz was for everyone. You won’t believe the number of MALE fans! Why? Because Bratz was not afraid to step over boundaries.

The one thing that annoys me about many doll lines today is that they only come with SKIRTS or DRESSES. Where are the pants? The jeans? The tomboys?

The cool thing about Bratz was that they always came with one skirt or dress and one pair of pants (unless it was a formal line). The mix and match potential was endless.

The line choices were inspiring, too. Bratz had a rock and roll line, a punk line, a gothic line, a spy line, a Tokyo-inspired line, and many other creative lines. They weren’t girlish or babyish or cheesy, like the new lines have been (Yes, that Selfie line was cheesy). They didn’t just borrow from the runways, but from the underground sub-cultures that made Bratz seem fun and dangerous, yet stylish. I had given suggestions to MGA in 2014, suggestions I knew only the Bratz could pull off. They seemed excited, giving my suggestion a thumbs up on facebook and approving by email. After 2014, MGA seemed to have forgotten my suggestions.

Or perhaps retailers just didn’t approve (I quickly learned how much power retailers have over the doll industry). In this case, Bratz need better marketing strategists.

Finally, Bratz do best in darker shades, not bright colors. It’s fine to add some variety to the color palette, sure, but mostly stay away from bright colors. Color-blocking bright colors with darker colors would be a good idea.

Bratz tokyo

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4. Make an Interactive Website

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When I first got into Bratz, they weren’t even released yet. None of my friends knew about them when I became a fan. So how did I get them into the brand? Through the super awesome website of course!

The website formats were always so interactive, even the first format. It had music, games, interactive bedrooms that introduced the characters, and other things. As Bratz got bigger, the website got better. It didn’t take a whole lot of money to make a decent website.

With this generation’s obsession with apps, companies have put less value on websites, thinking they don’t matter, thinking that all they have to do is post an app and some news on their websites. NO. Kids who can’t afford apps will appreciate an interactive website where they can play some games. In fact, it will encourage kids to enjoy something OTHER than an app. And who doesn’t like games that are free? It makes the brand look better. It adds quality to the brand.

By reaching out to those kids, you are reaching out to ALL of the target audience, not just the ones that have cool android phones and tablets.

The last Bratz website was so sad and lonely. It had a plain white background, news, and boring apps.

5. Bring Back the Boyz Line

The thing that was always best about this doll brand was that they didn’t treat the boys as just accessories to the girls. The boys had their own lines, their OWN clothing, their OWN unique hairstyles, and their OWN accessories. Even the boys looked stylish and cool! No other brand has mastered this yet! Bratz is the only brand that has catered to the males in this way.

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6. Keep the Core FOUR

Bratz started out with four, and were always more successful that way. It’s best to switch out characters for the fifth. Lines do worse when all four girls aren’t in them.

In 2007-2009, MGA made the mistake of focusing on the Closmins (Cloe and Yasmin dolls).

In 2015, MGA made the mistake of adding Raya to the core line, making it difficult to switch dolls out.

7. Maintain Quality

“Quality Over quantity” is a motto that rings true in the doll industry. I would rather high quality dolls than 10 lines a year. If that means coming out with less lines until Bratz is popular again, so be it.

When Bratz first arrived in 2001, they didn’t have a whole lot of lines. But the outfits and hair were amazing to the eye and touch.

In 2012, Bratz lost their quality. The one plus to the 2015 reboot was that most of the lines had decent quality. With enough attention to detail and fine quality materials, the Bratz can be back on the map.

8. Bring Back the Old Bratz Bodies

The original Bratz bodies looked fine. There was never a need to add any extra movement or poses to these dolls. The shorter dolls looked more appealing and the bodies had more of a curve to them. Plus, they would be able to fit all of the old outfits. They should at least bring the old bodies back at debut or for a couple of months, just to test to see whether the fans want the old look back or a newer look. Later, they can decide to try adding more articulation.

In the modern day, some people may like a little more articulation so that the dolls can be posable on social media. However, the classic look gives Bratz their staple appearance, adding value to the brand. It also allows standing to be easier. Bendable arms and legs make standing difficult without a stand.

9. Allow Buying Opportunities On the Company Website or Main Website 

I heard the biggest problem came from retailers. Apparently, they have most of the power over Bratz. They have issues with selling edgy dolls to children. I’ll bet most of these retail chains are full of soccer moms and feminists (which is why I’m against female designers for Bratz. I just don’t trust they will deliver.) I was told it was the reason so many prototypes had to be altered.

If retailers won’t accept the edgier dolls in their stores because of feminists and soccer moms, then MGA should be their own store. They should produce competition for retailers.

Sure, actually building a chain of stores would be difficult. It requires a lot of money. So instead, why not allow Bratz to be sold online, at the main website, right from the company? There should be a “shop” section. With so many people online, why not? It’s easier today with everyone connected to internet.

I suppose they want help with promotion and such from large retail chains. Still, if retailers refuse to sell certain “alternative” dolls, MGA should sell the dolls on their own website, just to give people better options. They have to make retailers want the dolls. They can better do that by taking the doll matters into their own hands.

With Bratz’s popular name, gaining someone to promote Bratz wouldn’t have been too difficult if they had just created a fierce doll line. Someone would’ve wanted to fund these dolls.

10. The Packaging

I don’t know what possessed MGA when they decided to put rainbows, ostriches, and emojis on the packaging. Who thought that would be a good idea? It might be the universal “Digital Age”, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to see emojis everywhere. It seemed like whenever and wherever MGA tried to be up-to-date with the new Bratz, they seemed more out-of-touch.

The packaging used to be unique. Each package fit with the theme of the current doll line. Some almost looked like purses, too. For instance, the Pretty N’ Punk line’s packaging had one chain at the top, to make carrying it easier. That became a trademark for Bratz.

Bratz 2001 website

The Bratz may not have had a good year, but Bratz had one of the longest runs of any fashion doll line next to Barbie! Bratz have been a successful doll line for more than 10 years! That is a victory in itself.

Enjoy a slideshow full of the Bratz’s doll line creations!

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Enjoy all of the commercials that have come out over the years. My, have things changed.

 

Enjoy the Bratz music!

Want to test your Bratz knowledge? Try my Bratz Quiz!

Bratz Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

Well, that about wraps up this discussion. So Bratz fans, what do you think of the news? Are you heartbroken Bratz are leaving? Happy that they won’t look bad anymore? Mixed in your feelings? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. And if you have any more suggestions on what you think would make the brand better, please share!

😦  (2001-2016)

READ NEXT: One brave feminist goes deeper into the “feminist” dislike of Bratz, stating how the Bratz “appearance” relates to black and Latino communities, and how that conflicts with “White feminism”. Check out her article: http://feministing.com/2015/10/15/why-doll-make-unders-make-me-uncomfortable/

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

popbetty

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”.

Chefbetty.png

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!

Bratz Controversy: Fans in Outrage Over “Female Voice” in Bratz Music Festival Vibes Commercial

28 Jan

bratz mfv

Bratz has revealed their all-new Bratz line: Music Festival Vibes. The new commercial brings back some of the edgy “funk” that was present pre-2007. The dolls have been “spiced” up, bringing the Bratz at least one step forward towards their original glory days. The outfits are a little more original and gaudy than outfits that were released last year.

Bratz fans were given a chance to vote on which voice they felt would fit the new and “funky” Bratz Music Festival Vibe commercial best.

Many fans were shocked to find that the “female voice” was chosen over the male voice.

Controversy

According to most fans, the male voice clearly “won”. They felt that MGA took it upon themselves to choose the female, disregarding the voting. Some fans see this as a sign that the company cares nothing about fans’ viewpoints.

MGA claims on Facebook and Twitter that “voting and research” shows them that the female voice was preferred.

Voting Process

Through some Youtube videos, like this one:

fans had to “like” to vote for a male and “comment” to vote for a female in this video. However, many fans who wanted a male also commented…No one is sure whether that affected the voting process or not.

Fans could also vote on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

No one is sure how MGA came to their final decision. Did they just observe how many comments were IN the comments’ section without actually reading the comments? If this is the case, they missed all of the comments that actually said, “Male”. Did they do a vote among the company and included their own votes?Did they read blogs and message boards about it?

The “research” that MGA is talking about remains unknown.

I know I never posted the voting process on this blog, regrettably. After skimming through comments, it seemed like most people chose the male…

Why did fans want a male voice instead of a female voice?

It’s the same reason why people wanted “Nerf” (the company who came up with the Super Soaker) to make “Nerf Rebelle” for girls.

Many people felt that if any doll line could break social-gender boundaries, the Bratz was the group of girls that could. There are many MALE Bratz fans as well. They felt this was the perfect opportunity to show the world that it’s okay for males to like dolls, just as it’s okay for females to like sports. If they had put a male voice in the commercial, it would’ve sounded “edgier”, like the Wild Life Safari commercial. It would’ve been revolutionary because most doll commercials have “female voices” promote the commercials. It would’ve been original.

Now, they are leaving it open for the competition to take the most ingenious idea ever and run with it. This could’ve been an idea that could really promote the Bratz.

But there were some fans that wanted a female voice. After all, females can be “edgy”, too. Many young girls thought it sounded as if the Bratz themselves were singing the song. They also felt it didn’t sound as “creepy” (?). Some fans liked the “sassy” feeling in the girls’ tone of voice.

My thoughts

I’ve given up on the possibility that MGA could make the Bratz the revolutionary line it used to be. I feel that having a male voice, considering how original it is, should’ve been the main choice and shouldn’t even have been up for debate or discussion. If MGA wants to put Bratz on the map, they are going to have to learn to take risks, as they once did. They need to start looking for innovative ways to promote the Bratz and help them stand out.

Nowadays, people are paying attention to things that “break social rules”. People want to see something “new”. Why do they think Frozen is such a big deal? It passes the Bechdel test. This is also why Frozen’s dolls are (arguably) having more success than most of the dolls in toy aisles.

But MGA seems to think (I should say, based on their choices and actions) that has more to do with the fact that they are two strong “female” characters. It’s not just that. The dolls represent something that is RARE in cinema. The Bechdel test suggests that there be “two females, who talk about something, other than a man.” Frozen passes this test.

Among doll commercials, it’s quite common to hear female voices narrate for dolls. Where is the “revolution” in that?

I think too many people shame males who like dolls. That kind of commercial would send a very positive message about accepting people’s differences and it would make male fans feel “included”.

Still, I think the female voice itself sounds really good. It sounds like a “Bratz-y” song. It’s much better than the other commercials for Bratz. I’m actually really impressed. I’m really impressed with the Bratz Music Festival Vibes line itself.

Now, all they need to do is bring back the “glossy eyes” and the Bratz will be back to normal!

So, readers, what do you think? Do you think MGA made the right choice? Do you think MGA should have chosen the male voice? Leave me a comment and let me know! (And no, this won’t go into the voting process. It’s over. XD)

OR

 

MGA should just release both! How about it? 😉

Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

24 Jul

Bratz_2015_Logo

After a year-long hiatus, the Bratz have finally returned with a quirky new look, a hot new theme song, and a fresh new slogan: “It’s Good To Be Yourself”.

For those of you who have forgotten about the Bratz or have been out of the loop and so haven’t really known what happened to the Bratz, last year MGA Entertainment, the creators of the Bratz, decided they would go on a hiatus. MGA made the following statement:

So, here’s the deal with Bratz. We finally got the go-ahead to give it the time and backing to make it awesome. We want to really dig in to the direction of Bratz, what makes the brand awesome, and bring that back full force! In order to do that, and to have the epic come back that the brand really deserves, we are taking a year off. We are giving ourselves and the buyers a chance to cleanse palates of expectations so we can come back in 2015 and deliver something cutting edge, disruptive and awesome.

Many of you may not know what the statement above truly means. Many of you probably didn’t realize the Bratz had even left the scene. Many of you may have thought the Bratz were long gone BEFORE last year and may not understand why they had to take “a year” off. Some of you “kiddies” may have already consumed yourself with smartphones and I-pads and are like, “People still buy dolls?”

For all of you lost individuals, I will be here to give you a brief spill before getting into the actual comeback. Already know the details? Skip to the bottom…

For those of you who didn’t know Bratz left or for those of you who thought the Bratz left a long time ago, I will bring you up to date.

What Happened to the Bratz?

At the Turn of the 21st Century, many doll companies were trying to win “tweens” back into the doll market because so many were distracted by CDs, TV, video games, and anything else but dolls. By the age of 10, many girls were beginning to feel they were too old for dolls. Many people felt girls were growing up too fast and companies suffered from that loss of tween consumers. So, in an attempt to encourage tweens to play with dolls, many companies tried to make toys that would appeal to an older crowd. The only dolls that were successful at this were the Bratz dolls.

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Bratz has always been a doll line that has fought through major challenges and has overcome much opposition from critics and competition. When Bratz was first released in May 2001, the Bratz were not received well. It wasn’t until December 2001, the Holiday Season, that kids began to recognize the Bratz dolls. Ever since then, the Bratz slowly began climbing their way into the doll market until they were able to take 40% of the fashion doll market from the biggest fashion doll in the world, Mattel’s Barbie (I’ve collected both by the way, since the 1990s).

That really may not seem like much, considering the doll industry is much larger than “fashion dolls”, but considering at the time fashion dolls were really popular prior to 2001, it was a huge accomplishment. Bratz dolls were the first fashion dolls to rival Barbie in popularity. Mattel was the powerhouse toy company of the 1990s, eating up Hot Wheels, Disney toys, and even American Girl. When Bratz arrived on the scene, Mattel had competition from another growing toy company: MGA Entertainment.

MGA was unique. First off, people of various ethnic backgrounds could relate to the CEO who was not Caucasian. This impressed upon those who disliked “white, blonde” Barbie and her influence. Second, he was not afraid to take risks when it came to dolls. Ever since the 1980s, Barbie had already begun to lose her appeal. When Mattel tried to add more diversity to the Barbie line to compete with the popular Jem dolls in the 1980s, Mattel distinguished Barbie from the group by making her signature color pink, which limited color choices in fashion.  In the 1990s, so that she could appeal to “soccer moms”, Mattel tried to scurry away from her “fashion doll” label and began designing her fashions around various careers and ambitions.

Bratz, on the other hand, wore hip-hop fashions and had a modern urban appeal. They related to real teenagers. Many of the doll clothing was of higher quality than Barbie had been at the time. Many of the Bratz fashion was also trendier and not as…well…PINK.

As the popularity of Bratz grew, word spread about the rebellious dolls. People began to take them seriously and critics began examining the Bratz, especially “soccer moms”. The Bratz wore a lot of make-up, revealing or suggestive clothing, had big heads, glossy eyes, huge lips, and called themselves “Bratz”. Prior to 2004, there were no movies giving the Bratz much depth as far as personality, so kids could make them any way they wanted. If a kid didn’t have a computer, they wouldn’t know who the “sporty one” or the “glam one” was. There was also no particular “message” that parents deemed “positive”. It wasn’t until the movies and TV show arrived that “morals” like friendship, strength, courage, and creativity were implemented. When Bratz began capitalizing on movies and their music albums, the Bratz popularity skyrocketed. Bratz began moving away from their urban roots and started taking advantage of their “edgy” reputation by trying fashion styles that were completely “out-of-the-box”.

Bratz tokyo

bratz pretty n punk

Mattel, desperate to keep their hold on the fashion doll market, came up with new doll competitors for the Bratz: Myscene dolls. Myscene took advantage of the current emphasis on New York (since many were still recovering from 9/11), and tried to implement more urban fashions into the Barbie line. Myscene was a “hipper” and “more fashionable” version of Barbie. The lead character was still Barbie, but she took on the glossy-eyed look and bigger lips that the Bratz had. Though Myscene looked a lot like Bratz dolls, Myscene were decidedly prettier and more natural than the Bratz. Their feet were not stubby and their bodies were more realistic. Neither of them had the posable bodies we see today (that came with Liv dolls), but they had fashion any tween could want or dream of. Both fashion doll lines were relatively successful.

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However, MGA felt a bit insecure with Myscene looking so much like the Bratz. They were obviously afraid people would confuse the two and give Mattel money for Myscene, not seeing the real difference between the lines (though they were different in many, many ways). MGA filed a lawsuit in April 2005 against Mattel claiming they stole MGA’s doe-eyed look and used it on the Myscene dolls. This was a big mistake. In 2006, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MGA claiming that the main creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant, was working for Mattel while he was designing Bratz, which technically meant Mattel were the true owners of Bratz. Mattel had some good proof. Mattel was awarded money for the Bratz dolls and all dolls were ordered to be removed from store shelves in 2008.

This case was appealed by MGA in 2008 and the recall was halted. During this halted process, Bratz were allowed to return to shelves until it was finalized who truly owned Bratz. In 2009, the companies gained another lawsuit from Bernard “Butch” Belair. He filed a lawsuit against them both because Carter Bryant, the originator of the Bratz, claimed to have been inspired from a Steve Madden shoe ad Belair created for Seventeen magazine. Mattel stepped out of that case. MGA took it on and prevailed, but they still didn’t have complete ownership of Bratz. For the rest of 2008 and 2009, Bratz stepped out of the doll scene. After all of this mess with Bryant, he was let go from MGA, which made them suffer because he was the main creator of the line.

steve madden shoe ad 4 steve madden shoe ads 5steve madden shoe ad 3

Court battles have been going back and forth between the two companies, MGA and Mattel, ever since. These court cases greatly affected the Bratz dolls. With so much attention in court, it was clearly evident that Bratz were secondary. The Bratz dolls were starting to show less individuality, lower quality, and focus on Cloe and Yasmin rather than the four core Bratz girls.

When Bratz were removed from shelves, that gave other doll lines just the space they needed to shine. Monster High was in the works, playing on the “edgy” success of the Bratz. Basically, Monster High was supposed to be edgier than it turned out being. Monster High eventually formed its own identity, though…

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Suddenly, in 2010, MGA announced that Bratz would make their comeback to shelves. Everyone was excited, expecting the edgy Bratz with the amazing quality. Instead, we got dolls that “played it safe”. Most of the dolls wore really “quiet”, normal outfits. Many of their outfits covered them up completely, adding leggings where a skirt was too short and jackets where a top was too cropped. I suppose MGA was trying to appeal to the critics and parents. But it didn’t appeal to tweens or fans any more: the people who matter most. To add, the quality was low. Cheap quality outfits (Painted on leggings), cheap hair, recycled and re-used clothing and shoes, one outfit instead of two (as they once had), and hardly any accessories destroyed the doll line. Later, MGA admitted they rushed the new Bratz because they were eager to bring the dolls back to shelves. Still, they tried to make the dolls work, but the quality was just awful.  Finally, in 2014, MGA announced that Bratz would go on a hiatus.

Bratz 2010

Bratz 2010

They said they wanted to “cleanse palates of expectations” and “deliver something cutting edge, disruptive, and awesome”.

So let’s see how well they did this time.

The NEW Bratz

The Bratz have traded up both their urban and edgy look for one that is absolutely “creative”, eclectic, and quirky. They switched their logo from “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion” to “It’s Good to Be Yourself, It’s Good to Be a Bratz”. MGA is trying to focus all of their attention on promoting the Bratz through technology (Isn’t it obvious with the selfie line?).

The “5th” girl being launched with the all-new core Bratz is Raya. Raya was actually first introduced in 2007 with the Magic Hair line. She came with the Salon. MGA has confirmed that she is the same girl, but they changed her eye color (just like they added freckles to Cloe’s face). Raya isn’t really a new girl.

With every new launch (with the exception of 2010), it has always been tradition for Bratz to add a 5th girl to the core Bratz pack. Meygen was the first to be added as a “core” member, which was initially met with some controversy. I believe that was why she didn’t sell as well as the others in 2002. She was then retired, and Dana replaced her. However, they brought Meygen back later. As Bratz fans began to realize that MGA was just trying to develop the growing Bratz line, they became more accepting of Meygen. Eventually, so many new Bratz were being created to the point that MGA decided to just keep the main core four girls and add “5th characters” according to the makeup of each line. We ended up getting new dolls such as Nevra, Fianna, Felicia, Roxxie, Phoebe, Vanessa, and many others.

Now, as they re-launch a new generation of Bratz, they decided to add Raya as the “5th” girl to the core line, just as they did with Meygen in 2002.

Bratz artwork

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Hello, My Name Is

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The Bratz have announced several lines including the “Hello My Name Is”, “Selfie”, and “Study Abroad” lines. Of the three, my favorite is “Study Abroad”.

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Selfie Snaps

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Study Abroad

So, what do you think of the new Bratz?

Here’s my review, and you are all welcome to agree or disagree.

There are some things that I am very happy with, but the overall presentation of the Bratz is a bit boring for me this time around. There are some major improvements to the line, but the actual content is not as bold as what once impressed upon me when I first fell in love with the Bratz. I think the Study Abroad line is the best line offered because there is so much quality and detail in the line. It brings out the boldness of Bratz more than all the other lines. I feel that with time, the Bratz may get a little more bold, just from judging the Study Abroad line. But the first two lines seem to lack the boldness that I’m craving.

Still, after getting my eyes on Study Abroad, I feel that little glimmer of hope. I believe that this is just the beginning for Bratz. If we get more dolls like Study Abroad, with just a little more edge, I believe I will begin to enjoy this line of dolls.

Though the Bratz’s outfits are of the highest quality right now, and though the Bratz have the Study Abroad line, there’s something about the Bratz that seems a bit off.

I feel that, for a line that has the slogan, “It’s Good to Be Yourself”, they don’t really feel like they are being “themselves”. In fact, it feels like the Bratz are trying to conform to what everyone else wants of them and to the trends around them rather than breaking fashion rules. The new Bratz are just too girly. If they have a female lead designer, Bratz are doomed. Why? Because females tend to want to make dolls that are “safe”, “sweet”, and something they feel girls should play with (even if it’s not truly what girls actually want). I hardly see any female designers who make doll lines disruptive (Tree Change is a good example of that) and hardly any doll lines designed by females appeal to boys like the Bratz once did.

I don’t know whether it’s the eyes, the clothes, or the overall presentation. Something just seems to lack “Bratitude”.

MGA said they were trying to bring something “cutting-edge, disruptive, and awesome”. Study Abroad carries most of those descriptions. The other lines are just way too colorful and sweet. Instead of being bold and edgy, the Selfie Snaps and Hello My Name is dolls look cute and innocent. They almost feel like the second Moxie Girlz, Bratz’s sister line from MGA. These dolls literally look like they are wearing leftover fashions from Moxie Girl design ideas. And all of the dolls’ eyes (even in Study Abroad) are almost exactly like Moxie Girlz’s eyes. For people who like the cute and innocent thing, you may like the cuter Bratz lines. I just can’t really merge myself with the cute and innocent appearance of the newer Bratz dolls. I want the make-up, the dramatic fashions, and the bold line choices. I want to see dolls who break rules.

moxie girlz

I really hope that Tree Change dolls haven’t influenced the Bratz dolls in any way, not now or ever.

The “Tree Change” dolls, designed by Sonia Singh, were Bratz dolls that were reconstructed to look more like real girls. I’m here to tell you, the dolls are not interesting. It’s an example of why trying to make dolls into “normal” girls is a bad idea. The more you try to make a doll as boringly realistic as possible, so that they can reflect real girls, the more the girls just want to just well…live life without a doll. Dolls spark the imagination and make girls dream of the impossible. They help girls escape their world and be what they can’t be everyday. If girls are given dolls that reflect their everyday circumstances, they might as well not even imagine it. They won’t have to. They live their everyday circumstances every day.

Tree change dolls

This is exactly why I disagree with the goal of Tree Change dolls. Not only does it stifle imagination, art, and creativity, it is a poor business tactic, and can never be implemented in the real doll industry. I know I wouldn’t buy a Tree Change doll. I can’t imagine any kid that would even show interest. The reason is because there are more “average” dolls on toy shelves than there are “unique and bold” dolls. The news press pays attention to dolls that do something unique. Business runs on the element of originality. Bank (when the money rolls in) happens when someone sparks an idea that hasn’t been done before and when they find an idea that will be unique to the company. People will give money to the company because this “original product” can only come from that one company. Though nothing in the doll industry is extremely unique, the more unique a product is, with the right timing and promotion, the higher the chances for the doll line to become a hit.

If MGA breaks under the criticism, they may end up sacrificing all of their dolls’ unique qualities. I don’t want that to happen, but I’m a bit worried that MGA might try to conform.

It’s clearly evident that MGA is trying to appeal to parents and critics this time just as they tried last time in 2010 (though at least this time they were more creative). I could tell when they posted this article onto their facebook page that they wanted to appeal to parents, and somehow this article made them “feel good” about their release—–>New Bratz Dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good To Be Yourself”

The article author basically says “they’ve got a look and message that won’t make parents cringe”. That is truly the exact opposite of what made the Bratz so popular. Therefore, if this is the response MGA is getting from parents, they are not disruptive or “earth-shattering”. They are just…any other doll that a child can play with for a day and dump in the closet.

The article is a complete contradiction. While the author claims to enjoy the new message of “being yourself”, they obviously encourage the line to be something that “pleases parents”, the opposite of Bratz being “themselves”. For some reason, make-up is not a part of that self-expression. Dolls have to look “innocent to be “themselves” as well. To me, that doesn’t sound like “being yourself”. That sounds more like “Let People Mold You and Tell You What You Should Be”.

Parents can love and hate what they want, but at the end of the day it really matters what the kids and fans think. Parents aren’t the ones who will play with the dolls and most are not collectors. A parent can choose to buy any toy they want their child to play with, true enough, but if the child doesn’t like it, the child won’t play with it. The child won’t even ask their parent to buy a toy that they don’t want. If a parent buys a child a toy they think the child should have, it could be a waste of money. Therefore, the success of the Bratz is dependent on the new generation and the older fans of the Bratz. Furthermore, Bratz was meant to bring TWEENS back into the doll market, not little children. That goal is clearly being lost with the new Bratz.

MGA said they were trying to give Bratz the epic comeback the line deserved, but this is not exactly what I would call epic. However, it’s good enough, considering it’s just the beginning. It’s better than 2010, but not quite epic. If this is their idea of epic, they are definitely dealing with the wrong dolls here.

Still, there are some promising points I’d like to discuss. Though I don’t feel this comeback was amazing, this comeback wasn’t a total bust. There are some things that tell me that the Bratz have enough juice to fight the declining doll market.

Pros

1) I really like the new theme song the Bratz are promoted with. It’s called “Bratz What’s Up” by Skylar Stecker. It’s way better than the song they had in 2010 (“I Like”). This song carries more sass than the doll line itself. If Bratz come out with more movies and music, I’m certain it will sound good like it once did. I’m a bit relieved about that.

Skylar Stecker Bratz what's up

2) As mentioned before, I also like the Study Abroad line. I feel that it could’ve been edgier, like Pretty n Punk and Tokyo A-Go-Go, but I think it suffices. I really miss the Bratz when they weren’t so “girlish” (what’s with all the pinks and pastels, the skirts and floral patterns? Too much like Barbie), but I love the different details in this line. I love how each girl represents a different country. Maybe feminine and girly is in, but I don’t like what’s “in”. Still, Study Abroad has a lot of dramatic flair and the line is promising. Every doll will be coming home with me. The detail is amazing. The quality is impeccable. It really is the best line that has come out with this relaunch.

Berry Bread, a fellow blogger and Bratz collector, has an amazing review on the dolls:

3) I also like Hello My Name is Sasha doll. She seems to carry on the urban roots of the Bratz. Maybe it’s because she’s “Bunny Boo” and loves the “hip-hop thing”. In any case, her doll actually seems to look like a teenager. If any doll from that line comes home with me, it will be Sasha.

4) I also am happy the original “Bratz” logo has returned. The little cute “lips” next to the logo is great.

5) I like the new artwork. It feels more like the original. And the dolls actually look like the artwork! That is one major improvement.

Bratz 2001

6) They also returned Jade back to who she was in 2001. They made her the girl who likes extreme sports, like surfing and skateboarding. For those of you who don’t remember Bratz in 2001, you probably didn’t know that Jade used to have a skateboard in her room on the original website (the Bratz showed their rooms back then). In fact, she was more of the sporty one. Cloe used to play an acoustic guitar. Yasmin and Sasha were always generally what they are now.

7) I also heard that the quality is good. The hair is silky (saran, the most expensive). And guess what? No painted on leggings! Yay! (If you remember the horror of Style Starz Cloe, then you know what I’m talking about). It seems that the new dolls have more detail in their clothes, particularly in comparison to 2010. From reader Tom, I learned that the Bratz now come with two outfits in each package, tons of accessories, and now fashion/shoe packs are also available. This is excellent news. This shows that the Bratz have at least improved since 2010. They are not on the level they were in 2004/2005, but they are showing potential.

style starz cloe

8) And yes, the Bratz individuality is back. We saw a decline in individuality around 2007 and 2008 when the court battles between MGA and Mattel began to affect the Bratz dolls. Thankfully, fans can finally have a desire to collect them ALL because no two girls look the SAME. Fans know what I’m talking about when I mention the lack of individuality. Lines like Fashion Pixiez and Bratz the Movie put the Bratz dolls in the same outfits as one another. Designers thought that giving them a slightly different color would make them pass as “individual”. Sad to say, many fans, such as myself, were satisfied with just ONE Fashion Pixiez doll (though I really was never interested in pixies to begin with) and definitely none of the Bratz the movie dolls (which also lacked details as well). But now, Bratz have shown individuality within each line shown so far.

Bratz Fashion pixiez

9) I also like what I see of #SnowKissed which strongly reminds me of Winter Wonderland back in the 2000s. But in Winter Wonderland, the girls came with one skirt and one pair of jeans. Cloe’s doll comes with two skirts. Jade is the only one who comes with one pair of leggings and a skirt. The new winter dolls just seem too girly, like everything else in this comeback. :/ That’s not my thing. To add, the Bratz girls are wearing cropped tops when it’s supposed to be wintry and cold.  The original Winter Wonderland dolls wore sweaters and tights, like it was actually cold outside…

Their hats don’t seem as individual, but they are noticeably different from one another.

At least #Snowkissed shows some sass and flair very similar to the original winter collection. They are too girlish for my tastes, but they are still really nice.

bratz snowkissed

Bratz Winter Wonderland

Bratz Winter Wonderland

10) Bratz #Fierce Fitness isn’t bad either. It’s just something about their eyes…They don’t sit well with me.

Bratz fierce fitness

Cons

1) The Bratz are way too cute and innocent for my tastes. “Bratz” hardly seems fitting anymore. That may be fine and dandy for some, but I’ve collected enough cute dolls (Mystikats, Liv, American Girl, Lisa Frank, Ever Girl, etc). I don’t want any more. I know a unique doll when I see one and Bratz will literally just fade for me. Is Bratz awfully bland? No. They have more detail and accessories than in 2010. But their wardrobes are just so colorful and they just look too innocent.

They lack a whole lot of sass. Just look at their eyes. The glossy look is completely gone. Really, that’s what is taking away their edgy look. Their eyes are too big. That could be another reason why they look so “sweet and innocent”. It’s funny how a painted face can give so much meaning and personality to a doll. Without the glossy eyes, it just doesn’t feel like they have much “Bratitude”. In 2010, they managed to make the eyes look a bit sassy, even if it wasn’t as glossy as the original. I don’t know why they deviated from the glossy look even further.

Perhaps MGA had to deviate away from the original designs due to the court cases. MGA had to remove all 1st Wave Bratz from shelves and they are no longer allowed to utilize the original look for the Bratz. This could be why there is a change in the eyes (clearly going from being glossy-eyed to being doe-eyed). That loss in the court case really changed the Bratz. MGA may be trying their hardest to make Bratz as similar to how they used to be as possible without stirring another court case battle. From my understanding, they have to be careful using the format given to them by Carter Bryant. It really is a shame because those details make a world of a difference. Still, the only thing they may not be allowed to use are the eyes and original facial structures. This shouldn’t affect their fashion sense. Perhaps we will see more fashion lines like the Study Abroad line in the future.

Even though I know MGA may not be allowed to use the glossy-eyed look they once used in 2001-2002, during the midst of their court battle for the Bratz in 2010 they managed to make the eyes a bit sassy. Now, their faces look like cute little girls rather than sassy, bold teenagers.

Bratz were never the kind of edgy that was just bag-lady tacky. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear chains and leather. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear things most people said were worn by “bad girls”. Their expressions expressed sass and attitude. They dressed in darker colors and wore as many jeans as they did skirts. In fact, when the Bratz debuted, they all debuted in jeans. They were not just appealing to girls, but some boys liked them and collected them, too. I’ve run into so many male fans of Bratz, I began to see Bratz’s wide-ranged appeal.  These new dolls don’t feel any different from Barbie, Moxie Girlz, Monster High, or Ever After High. I might as well buy those dolls instead.

At this point, Bratz seem to be going in the same direction as Moxie Girlz dolls.

moxie girlz 4

Again, too girlish and too feminine for my tastes. They started getting this way in 2007. Again some fans may like it, and maybe that’s what’s in, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or buy into it. When Bratz first debuted, they were different from the other prissy dolls. They debuted with skirts, sure, but pants dominated much of their lines. They, at least, had one skirt and one pair of pants each line. Now, some dolls will have two skirts and no pants. Hardly any of the dolls wear pants. They are just too feminine for my tastes. I liked the dolls that broke all the rules of femininity. I liked the dolls who weren’t so “soft”. I liked the tough look of the Bratz. No other doll line, not even Monster High, could capture that tough look, considering most doll lines are meant to be appealing to little girls.

2) Bratz’s goal was to focus on the interests of teens and tweens, not little girls. The new Bratz seem to be trying to gather in the interests of little girls. Issac Larian mentioned that he had gotten some of his inspiration from talking to little girls. If you look at their newest “It’s good to be a Bratz” commercial/ad, it’s apparent that younger children will be the focus. Compared to older Bratz commercials, it really doesn’t seem like a doll line people of all ages and genders can relate to. The original inspiration behind the Bratz was from Seventeen magazine, a magazine for teenagers.  The difference in inspiration will influence how the dolls are marketed and influences what the Bratz are wearing right now. Currently, the Bratz just don’t look like teenagers anymore.

I feel that is the problem. They will only capture the “little girls” and not the older girls as they once did. Bratz easily captured the hearts of tweens and teens (such as myself) back in 2001 because I didn’t feel too lame to own a doll that was “so cool”. Little girls imitated their older cousins and sisters anyway, so they were captured as well. That made Bratz’s popularity huge. With the new lines, I’m not too sure Bratz could capture the tween/teen market. That could be a loss in profits.

Bratz also once captured the interests of many males, even those that didn’t like dolls. That was something hardly any doll line has been able to achieve, as most dolls are geared towards girls. But Bratz were just that cool.

I honestly can’t see too many guys finding the new dolls cool, so that could be a loss as well.

They certainly will have a hard time appealing to as many people as they once did unless older people get the nostalgia “jones” (the disease I have right now 😛 ) and make themselves like it simply because it was a part of their childhood. I can’t see them grabbing a new market of teenagers.

3) What is with the cheesy selfie line? I know people are into selfies, but making it that obvious by putting “selfie” on every shirt in the line makes it obvious the people at MGA aren’t tech savvy. It’s obvious they are not used to catering their doll line to a modern age. They should be more discreet with the line. No one hardly takes “selfies” with “selfie” shirts on. It would be fine if just one doll had it on their shirt. But they should bring some individuality to the selfie line by making them have different words on their shirts instead.

4) I really don’t like the slogan, “It’s Good to be Yourself”, either. It’s cliche and everyone is using it. Even Monster High uses something similar in their slogan (“Be Yourself”) and Moxie Girlz is similar (“Be True! Be You!”) as well. Very few slogans say, “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion”. That slogan also encouraged a great variety in fashion. It’s great we get to see their own individuality, but doesn’t that take away the imagination from the children? How can they make up their dolls’ personalities when their dolls are given personalities? Plus, we fans want to see how far Bratz can go as fashion dolls.

MGA seems to miss the point entirely. Issac Larian, the CEO, seems to think that if he makes the dolls more “techy” it will be more appealing. But actually people are looking for something that stays true to itself despite all obstacles. People are looking for something that’s unique and empowering. They are not looking for something that “fits in”. I feel this will be the downfall of the line. Right now, MGA is just focused on making the Bratz more appealing to a new generation.

5) The website is also disappointing. I know people hardly visit websites anymore, but an appealing interactive website can make a world of a difference. It is one of the reasons behind American Girl’s success. I was hoping the Bratz website would be as awesome as it was once before. But it’s not. http://www.bratz.com

Overall, I love some things, but I have this emptiness. There is just something that is missing. I feel this was not an epic comeback. Maybe my expectations were too high, but after someone has a second chance at it, you’d think they’d get it right. What happened to all the ideas fans gave them? Maybe they are saving those ideas for later, but the initial lines matter right now, especially at this time in history where it is getting harder to capture the interests of girls and make a profit from fashion dolls. They would have done better if they’d showed fans some of the prototypes and got the fans’ input on the dolls. Oh well.

There is speculation that Bratz may be going on another hiatus or being discontinued entirely. Things aren’t looking good for the Bratz. 😦

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

If you really think you know the Bratz, try your hand at my Bratz quiz: How well do you know the Bratz?

GN’s Top 20 Favorite Far East Asian Artists: 20 Countdown

6 Nov

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As most of you readers probably know, GN loves foreign music. I love music from around the world. I listen to music from France, Turkey, Russia, Tanzania, Brazil, Spain, and many other countries around the world. But my favorite countries rest in Asia. Yes, GN is a big-time fan of Asian music.

As a Black/African American, most would look at me and wonder what made me love music from other lands and nations so much. I only speak English fluently. My parents never raised me to like foreign music. Well, not directly.

When I was younger, my parents would always take me to Mexican Food restaurants. I grew up eating Mexican food because they liked it. And you know what kind of music I would hear playing? Spanish music. After getting songs stuck in my head, I began to enjoy the music. I began listening to the music on my “alarm clock radio”…something only us ’90s kids would understand…

It was then that I began to like music spoken in a language that was different from my own. I never let language stop me from liking music.

Later, when I was around age 10, I acquired a love for anime. Cartoon Network’s Toonami block introduced me to so many animes, but it also introduced me to RPG video games. One of those video games was Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts had a commercial that played repetitively on every channel. The commercial had a very catchy song linked to it. (Many of you have probably heard this story before, if you’ve been following my blog.) That song was my favorite for months. It had a mesmerizing sound and beautiful vocals. But I never knew who sang the song. Finally, when I bought the game, I looked at the back of the booklet that came with the game and found out who it was. Now, I’m not going to give who it was away because that singer is going to be on my list. But I just wanted to share a brief summary of how I got hooked on foreign music, and how Asian music became a favorite of mine.

Even though I knew about that artist, I always thought the person was an underground American artist because the artist spoke excellent English. Little did I know she was a famous singer overseas! I didn’t really realize other countries had their “own” music (I know, it was very ignorant of me).

At the time, I was also a Bratz fan. Bratz came out with a song that was only released in Asia. At the time, I had to have everything Bratz. So, I did some research on this song, and found out about another famous Asian star. It was then that it dawned on me: There are other great singers out in the world that AREN’T American. My mind and my options were opened. Since then, I’ve been a fan of Asian music.

This all happened in 2003.

Now, I like tons of Asian artists. I’ve acquired a love of many different kinds. Over the years, I’ve gotten into artists from other continents, too.

So, now that you’ve been updated with my history, it’s time for me to share with you all some Asian artists I just can’t get enough of. I love all Asian music naturally, but these 20 artists really pop out to me. On this list, I will do a countdown, starting from #20!

20. Jo Kwon

I was introduced to this sexy K-pop star through f(x) Amber’s instagram. She was right about him. He’s super sexy. Not only is he sexy, but he does sexy in a unique way. Jo Kwon really impressed me with his performance, “Animal”. He is an artist that I consider “ground-breaking” in Korea and around the world. He proved that men can strut in platform heels and still look good doing it! I honestly can only respect him as he highlights his own beauty. Ever since that performance, I have been wanting more from him. He’s a rare gem in a boxed world.

Debut 2008

19. Zard

I was first introduced to this J-rock band when watching the Detective Conan anime. One of Zard’s songs was the 4th Opening theme. But it was the 22nd Opening theme that made me follow this band full-throttle. Whenever I think of Japanese music, this band is always one of the first that come to my mind. Their music is energetic, but what made them even more special was their lead vocalist. There are very few female rockers in the world, and she was one-in-a-million. Unfortunately, she has passed away. 😦 But their music is still amazing.

Debut 1991

18. BtoB

I first learned of K-pop boy group BtoB this year on We Got Married Global. I heard about their song “Beep Beep”, but the song that really sparked my interest was “Wow”. Teddy Riley raved about this group’s New Jack Swing style, which is what made me check out that song. The fact that BtoB successfully tried New Jack Swing was impressive enough, but they also are really charming young men who love music. Sungjae has become a favorite of mine, as he seems to really love music. I’ve been watching him on KBS’s A Song for You. He never ceases to entertain me. BtoB is a K-pop group with one American member.

Debut 2012

17. 2ne1

I was introduced to this K-pop group on a BoA fan message board site. BoA was compared to the YG entertainment group. At first I was offended, but I still gave them a shot. When I heard the song “I  Love You”, I immediately knew there was something different about them. They were so different from all the other groups. They didn’t do the “cute” thing. But they also sounded so…AMERICAN. They kind of reminded me of Rihanna in many ways. I was addicted to that song for a long time. They always struck me as more mature than the other girl groups. It wasn’t until later that I saw more edgy, fun sides to them. Their performances were always unique. They never danced silly or cute dances. They used profanity in their performances. They dressed risque and pointed with swag at their viewers with their long, sharp nails. While this tough edge made them a more “alpha, dominant” female group, it never took away from the sex appeal or girlishness. They had a charm all their own. I couldn’t resist getting their latest album, Crush.

Debut 2009

16. Gackt

Gackt has always been one of my favorite J-rock stars. I was introduced to him while passing through Japanese music websites. Final Fantasy deepened my interest in him. His unique image and sound make him universal. Something about his androgynous looks makes me mesmerized. And his image is in far contrast to his music, which is very masculine in nature. I love every moment.

Debut 1999

15. Mai Kuraki

This J-pop star takes the #15 spot for me. She is an amazing vocalist. She used to remind me of Utada Hikaru back in the day. My sibling first introduced me to the J-pop star through the song “Perfect Crime” and I loved that song. But I first gained extreme interest in her after her song “Revive” appeared on the Detective Conan anime. She definitely has some epic and addictive songs.

Debut 1999

14. School Food Punishment

This Electronic J-rock band caught my ears with the song “Sky Step”. My sibling also introduced me to this band. Their fast transitions mid-tempo makes their music easy to recognize. There isn’t one song I hate from this band and I can listen to them over and over again without losing interest. Their genre is also considered Post Rock. Unfortunately, this band disbanded in 2012. 😦 But their music is still hypnotizing and addictive.

Debut 2004

13. Keiko Lee

This Japanese Blues/Jazz artist is one of my favorites. I first heard her music on the anime Requiem from the Darkness. She sang both the opening and ending songs. I swear, when I first heard her voice, I couldn’t believe a woman like her was singing. Her style is similar to Billie Holiday. She has quite a bass. Her bass adds a haunting shade on everything she sings. Her music can be alluring, seductive, and mysterious all at once. You should hear her cover of “We Will Rock You”. It’s most definitely a unique spin on that song. Check it out when you have time. It’s bone-chilling. The best part for me is that all of her music is in English, my native language.

Debut 1995

12. Show Luo

This Mandopop star captured my heart with his amazing performances. Originally part of two different boy bands, he struck out on his own after several of his members left for military service. Most people probably know him from his cover of High School Musical 2‘s “Bet On it”. But I know him from the song “Zhen Ming Tian Zi” featuring female pop sensation Jolin Tsai. His music is catchy and his performance value is high. If you are in the C-pop neighborhood, you should definitely check him out. And for all you ladies, you’ll have plenty of I-Candy.

Debut 1996

11. Super Junior (Including Suju-M)

I’ve known about K-pop boy band sensation Super Junior ever since I’d visited the SM Entertainment main website back during their debut. What stood out to me was the number of members they had. I also liked their boy-next-door appeal. The song I remember listening to often is “Sexy, Free, and Single”. Even though I knew about them for years, I wasn’t a fan until last year. It was Super Junior-M’s member Henry that helped my interest in the group increase. I saw Henry play the guitar for “Someday at Christmas (Happy Holidays)”, saw him play the piano for “Trap”, the violin for “Fantastic, and I just wondered, “What CAN’T he do?” I felt this was a reflection on the group. They must be some really talented men. The song that I first gave a chance was “Swing”. Ever since, I’ve followed them closely. Their upbeat and catchy music keeps me dancing for days.

I became an even greater fan of the original Super Junior after seeing Kangin on KBS’s A Song For You. He’s funny and also very experienced with music.

Debut 2005

TOP TEN

10. Got7

Recently, I’ve become a huge fan of this K-pop group. I was first introduced to Got7 on We Got Married Global. I usually hate boy bands. But the three members on that show (Jackson, Mark, and Bam Bam) made me fall in love with this group. Jackson, Bam Bam, and Mark are three of Got7’s international members. Got7 is a multi-national group, which always sparks my interest for various reasons. This makes them well-rounded. Their music style is mostly hip-hop, which gives them some edge. I love their hard but boy-next-door appeal. These are gentlemen who display honesty and frankness. There is something very real about this group. This group seem like normal boys that anyone can relate to. But what’s most impressive are their acrobatic skills onstage. It’s hard not to be amazed by this boy band. The music is attractive, the members are attractive, and the performance value is high. Once I had a taste of this group, there was no turning back. They continue to impress me. The first song I heard was their debut song “Girls Girls Girls”.

Debut 2014

9. Shinee

This K-pop boy band was the talk of the town during their debut. They were, in fact, the second Korean boy band I had ever listened to (after TVXQ). I was first introduced to them through SM Entertainment’s main website. I learned more about them through fan-made AMVs on Youtube. From the song, “Lucifer” to “Ring Ding Dong”, I couldn’t get this group out of my head for weeks on end. Their unique sense of style, colorful personalities, and strong unity kept me interested in this group for a long time. And I’m still a major follower. My interest in this group has increased after watching them on variety shows and seeing their performances of “Everybody”. They are just so unique, and yet, underrated in comparison to SM Entertainment’s other artists. They brought in a new age wave of Kpop.

Debut 2008

8. Crystal Kay

Crystal Kay was one of the first J-pop artists I became interested in. Basically, she’s a veteran. What really struck me about her was her dark skin. Just like me, she was African American, but unlike me, she spoke fluent Japanese. I thought it was the most impressive thing and very inspirational. Crystal Kay is part Korean as well, though she doesn’t speak any Korean! Some of her inspirations include Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Speed, and my personal favorite, Namie Amuro. This girl has amazing vocals and an international appeal. The first song I heard from her was actually M-flo’s “Reewind!” featuring Crystal Kay from the “M-flo Loves __” collection. But I was so obsessed with that song for a year, I quickly became a Crystal Kay fan. And she just had her first U.S. debut! So exciting! Check out her performance of “Girlfriend” with BoA Kwon. Not only is her music amazing, but she has a soulful and bubbly personality that oozes charm.

Debut 1999

7. Ayumi Hamasaki

What J-pop fan doesn’t know about Ayumi Hamasaki? Ayumi Hamasaki is the most unique pop singer in Japan. She has the foundation of a pop singer, but the performance value of a rock star! Ayumi Hamasaki is one of the few artists in the world who has creative control of her music. She fought for that right. She is widely known for her constant change in image. What I loved about her music is the edgy rock sounds she mixes with pop music. The first thing I heard from her was her album I Am…Yes, I heard the whole album. I was on a website back in 2003 called J-fan.net. They used to have a collection of Japanese artists. I happened to stumble upon Ayumi Hamasaki. I remembered the name from Inuyasha, which I watched occasionally. When I heard this album, I was taken aback. It was so amazing. Ever since, I’ve gotten every album after. Ayumi is never boring. Ayumi made “Poker Face” a thing even before Lady Gaga. Check her out if you haven’t already.

Debut 1998

6. Kristine Sa

Vietnamese Canadian singer Kristine Sa stole my heart, mind, and ears with her vocals. Her music is amazing. She is widely known in the anime community, but is still relatively underrated. Her music is addictive. I seriously have every song she ever released. Ever since I accidentally stumbled upon her website, and heard the song “Consequence”, I was sold. I also managed to have a long conversation with the star. She was really friendly.

Debut 2002

5. Jade Villalon/Valerie/Sweetbox

There are many reasons the Filipino J-pop star is among my Top 5. The girl can sing, but in her music, her personality and attitude burst forth. Jade Villalon’s music is clever and full of her wit. And I just love her face. Something about her baby face. I was first introduced to her on a blog I used to visit a long time ago. I do not remember the name of that blog, but I would like to thank them for introducing me to the artist. THANK YOU, WHEREVER YOU ARE! The first song I ever heard from her was “Liberty”, which was released during her Sweetbox days. That song was deep for me. The lyrics stood out to me. Many know her from the Final Fantasy song “1000 Words”. I seem to like those Final Fantasy songs…

Debut 1999

4. Namie Amuro

I first stumbled upon this J-pop diva on http://hmv.co.jp. I was eager to find new J-pop artists. Namie Amuro stuck out to me because her music was steeped in Hip-Hop at the time. I just loved her voice. She was sexy and her performances grabbed my attention immediately. At the time, it was different to see a J-pop artist steep their music in hip-hop, especially females. And I always loved her tattoo and “lucky” belt that she wore. She just had a bad-ass image. I’ve never missed a single album of Namie Amuro’s. The first song I ever heard from her was from her album Style called “Namie’s Style”. Once I heard that epic hip-hop number, I had to have that album…and every album that came after. Namie Amuro has changed her style frequently. She also sings Dance Pop and Electronic Pop. I really just can’t forget about this edgy diva. And no matter how old she gets, she just looks younger and younger!

Debut 1995

3. f(x)

Oh yes. If you have been reading my blog, this should come as no surprise to you. What may be surprising is that they are only number 3 on my list! The quirky, unconventional all-girl K-pop group consumed my life last February with their album Pink Tape and slayed me this summer with Red Light. But I’ve known about f(x) since 2012’s “Electric shock”. I was introduced to f(x) through another K-pop star’s message board and decided to give them a shot. I was introduced to them the same day as 2ne1 from the same fan board. At first, I only planned to listen to the song once. But that song would not get out of my head! Later, I had done an article on androgynous fashion, which brought me in contact with f(x)’s Amber Liu and her story. My fascination with the group grew. I am now a huge fan! I believe this group has what it takes to be an international phenomenon. The diversity and individuality burst through. Their image is very unique and their music is spiced with variety. They are well-rounded for all age groups and all musical ears. To add, their lovable personalities allow you to fall in love with them. This multi-national group exceeds all language barriers. There’s so much I can say about this group. It’s even hard to really have a bias in this group. What I like about them is that they are girls who are just as entertaining as the boys.

Debut 2009

2. BoA

BoA Kwon…was technically the first Asian pop star I was introduced to. She was the first artist that I was introduced to as “foreign”. I was introduced to BoA through a Bratz song called “Show Me What You Got”. The Bratz single was only released in Japan. A Bratz fan shared it on a popular Bratz Yahoo group. It was then that I realized there were other artists in the world outside of my own country, the USA. BoA is also the reason I have been introduced to so many other artists! After finding BoA on her Japanese website, I realized she was under the label Avexnet. After trying to find her album, I stumbled upon HMV’s main website, which led me to Namie Amuro and Crystal Kay. I found Ayumi Hamasaki while trying to listen to BoA’s album Valenti. I would always visit the SM Entertainment official website to keep up with the latest BoA Korean releases, and that’s how I was introduced to Shinee and Super Junior. Through BoA’s fan board, http://www.boajjang.com, I was introduced to 2ne1 and f(x). So it was really BoA that broadened my J-pop and K-pop experiences. Really, she is the reason I became interested in World music in general. I was so amazed that she was a pop star in a foreign country, I wanted to search for other artists in different lands. And this is all thanks to the Bratz dolls. 😉

BoA has always kept my interest with epic dance moves and hypnotizing music. This girl can REALLY dance. She is purely a musical genius at this point. It only makes sense that she would be #2 in my life. BoA is one of the best female performers in the world. I really saw this in the “The Face” tour. My first full-out BoA song was “Double”, and I first heard it directly on it’s Japanese release date, October 22, 2003 at 15:30.

Debut 2000

1. Utada

Yes, my #1 favorite Asian artist is Utada Hikaru. This J-pop star was my FIRST Asian artist. She was the first singer from Asia that I’ve ever loved. And at the time, I didn’t even know she was a J-pop star! I was introduced to her through the Kingdom Hearts commercial. Her song was the exact thing that drew me to the game in the first place! I loved her song “Simple and Clean”, and the remix got me dancing every day. That song was stuck in my head for months until I broke down and bought the game. What a clever selling tactic, and it worked on my young, impressionable mind. When I found out who sang the song, I became a huge fan of that one song for YEARS. Later, I found out she was a huge J-pop star. Out of all of the artists on this list, she is the only artist I have seen live.  I attended her “In the Flesh” Tour. This is the artist I would jump planes to see. Many artists I’ve liked later have either reminded me of her or have been affiliated with her, like Kristina Sa and Jade Villalon. She set the stage. Her impressive vocals, musical experience, and unique concepts always struck me. My whole family enjoys her music, so it’s the glue that ties us together. Utada is an experimental artist who speaks two languages. This is why her albums have such wide-ranged appeal.

Debut 1998

So that’s my full list! Share with me your list!

My sister also shared with me her list, if anyone is interested in knowing about new artists.

14 Ways Mattel Can Screw Up a Doll Line

18 Sep

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

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

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

I also collect Bratz. Bratz have something that the other doll lines don’t have. MGA used to be that top-notch company that would listen to fans and implement change without destroying their doll franchise. Though lately, they’ve been headed down the same road…once they got a new team on board…

With Mattel, despite the many cool ideas they come up with, in the long run, Mattel follows one similar pattern that ends up destroying many of the beautiful lines they make.

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

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

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

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

Attack of the Pink
Attack of the Blondes
Our Main Character is a Loser, so they’re Fired
Attack of the Tacky
Books and Blogs, Who Cares if they don’t add up?
Retirement and Poor Replacements
Inaccuracy, When Nothing Makes Sense
Failing Up-Grades
Flunk the Boys
The Red-Headed Curse
Everybody Sings and Dances
We’ll Never Be Rebels
Cheap Quality
Mattel Doesn’t Listen To You

1) Attack of the Pink

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

Though “pink” is a popular color among girls, I’m not going to say that every doll who wears pink will sell. This is where the strategy fails every time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know, she looks like Barbie

I know, she looks like Barbie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But suddenly, just recently, American Girl decided to dye everything in pink. From their 2014 Girl of the Year, whose wardrobes are drenched in pink, to over half of their historical dolls, Pink seems to be the signature American Girl color. Even the packaging has been changed from red to PINK. Instead of hitting off the ground, it’s really hurting American Girl. Mattel’s profit reports showed a sharp decline stemming from the re-vamped Historical line. I’ll bet it’s because of the pinkness.

There are so many colors in the rainbow. Many items in the past may have never been pink. And today, we have so many various colors in our stores! So why constantly shoot for pink? They even stuck Kit, a character who supposedly hates pink according to her story, in pink! Girl of the Year 2014 is model pink!

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

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

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

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

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

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2) Attack of the Blondes

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

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

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Draculaura isn’t blonde and she sells well…so possibly, it’s not the blonde that does it. It’s the wardrobe you put with the doll.

Mattel doesn’t always see it that way when tackling its “human”dolls.

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

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

I will share some examples…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it looks like with the new Monster High re-vamp and the Japanese “anime”, Draculaura has truly become the “main character”. Can’t you see I’m not lying with this?

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

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

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

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4) Attack of the Tacky

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

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

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

American Girl has also gotten tackier lately. American Girl used to have high-quality and valuable outfits, many that could be found on very few dolls in the world. But ever since their Beforever launch, an attempt to appeal more to this new generation, it seems that they have slapped fabrics together. Kit’s new birthday outfit is shameful enough, but they had to go and throw a girl from 1904 in some go-go boots! I know those shoes were popular in 1904, but they weren’t very tasteful. Maybe this is just my opinion…

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

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5) Books and Blogs: Who Cares If they Don’t Add Up?

American Girl, Monster High, and Generation Girl all had books to accompany their doll lines. Myscene, at one time, had an online blog. I understand that, many times, the books are written by authors that have nothing to do with Mattel. But they are meant to be for Mattel’s products. Mattel should know something about the books and/or blogs that are meant to represent them. Often times, however, I question whether Mattel really reads their own literature.

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

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

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Now, Mattel decided they would create a new “backstory” for Monster High with their movie Welcome to Monster High, which completely changes the characters all together…So I guess all of those books and webisodes were pointless from the beginning.

Generation Girl dolls had a similar issue. Barbie Roberts was said to have come from Malibu, California in the books, Nichelle was from New York City, New York,  Tori was from Melbourne, Australia, and Ana was supposedly from Spanish Harlem, New York, right? But if you buy the boxes of these dolls, they all say completely different cities! Barbie is said to be from Los Angeles, Nichelle is from Harlem, Tori is from Sydney, and Ana is from Mexico City, Mexico! I know many of these cities are all in the same country, but it takes a bolt load of ignorance to think they are the same cities. It wouldn’t have been a problem had there not been confusion with accessories (especially food items meant to represent a particular city), or if the magazine articles the dolls came with didn’t emphasis a completely different place…Considering the books came out the exact time the dolls came out, that was a little awkward. That let the consumers know that it wasn’t just a change of plans down the line, it was an absolute glitch that no one paid attention to before release.

Generation Girl wiki

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

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

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

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

I don’t even want to get started on Myscene. A long time ago, when Myscene was first released in 2002, it was announced on Barbie’s online “blog” that she was an Aries. The signature color for Aries is usually red. To represent her Zodiac sign, Barbie carried around a cherry-red cell phone and wore a matching cherry-red outfit, as seen at debut.

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Eventually, somehow, they switched Barbie into a Libra right under everyone’s noses. Hmm…And they offered no explanation for the cherry-red cell phone and matching outfit…

To this day, there are very few Myscene fans who know this information.

Oh well, I guess since no one questioned it, Mattel got away with it…as usual.

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6) Retirement and Poor Replacements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7) Inaccuracy: When Nothing Makes Sense…

As mentioned before, Mattel often contradicts itself, which often makes it difficult for their stories to be believable.

But sometimes they are consistent. Yet, even when they are consistent, they have another problem: Inaccuracy.

This mostly applies to their doll lines that are based off of some other idea or concept, like Ever After High, Monster High, and American Girl. Mattel will squeeze anything to make a buck, and sometimes many things they throw together don’t make sense. They make it really hard to be a detail-oriented person and enjoy all of Mattel’s products.

Well, at least they tend to doll details…

Well, at least they tend to the details when they first release a doll line.

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

American Girl’s Beforever is steeped with inaccurate products, which is a shame. The line is meant to inspire girls of today to learn history through a collection of dolls. But many times, they squeeze some modern items in there to sell the doll. For instance, Samantha’s headband.

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Ever After High has been slapped with the inaccurate bill, too. While Apple White is supposed to be Snow White’s daughter, and follow the “Snow White” tradition precisely, that’s not technically possible for her. Therefore, she is a rebel without even trying. 1) Snow White has ALWAYS been described to have hair as “black as ebony” since the original German story was published by the Grimm Brothers. But we talked about how Mattel worships blondes…2) The “evil queen” was born WAY before Snow White, and supposedly MARRIED Snow White’s FATHER. So, is Raven Queen going to be Apple White’s new Step-mother? Not possible, because apparently Apple White’s parents are Snow White and her handsome prince…

Unless Snow White dies, and Raven Queen ends up marrying Apple White’s older father, I doubt this could work smoothly. In other words, Apple White is still NOT a royal. She is actually, in fact, a rebel by default, as there is no possible way she can follow her “destiny”, even if Raven Queen WERE to turn out evil. The inaccuracy of the story makes it all a bit amusing, but since it’s so easy for children (and some adults) to overlook such details, you’d all be happy to know that, at least, the dolls are very detailed and beautiful. After all, the story was squeezed a bit to allow a perky blonde to take the lead, and to play on the “victim” heart strings people are pulling with today’s iconic villains.

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

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

If Raven Queen was born to the Evil Queen, then wouldn’t that make Raven Queen Snow White’s sister? Wouldn’t that make Raven Queen…Apple White’s aunt? In this case, Raven Queen should be older than Apple White.

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

The Story of Snow White<—Click

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

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8) Failing Up-Grades

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lately, Mattel thought it would be a good idea to “de-scare” their Monster High Dolls by making their faces cuter and their details “painted on” rather than carved. I don’t understand. What’s the point of making monster dolls “cute”? They are MONSTERS. Now, instead of looking like “rad” teenagers, they look like kids who “want to be” teens…

The quality is obviously lower and the fashions are cheesier.

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They basically took all the characters’ unique details and threw them out in the trash.

Oh, and they changed the whole story behind them. So now, all of their old books, webisodes, and movies are MEANINGLESS. Now, you have to throw them out. Unless of course, you just bought the dolls…But wait…They changed them, too…

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

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9) Flunk the Boys

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

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

kendoll

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

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

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

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

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

Bratz_Wildlife_Safari_Boyz_Dylan_Doll

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

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10) The Red-Headed Curse

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

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

felicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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11) Everybody Sings and Dances

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

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

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

Oh, and a fourth was added to the singing/dancing trio: Ari Hauntington! How many more Mattel before the MH brand becomes a pop girl group?

Double whamy: Pink and a Singer!

Double whamy: Pink and a Singer!

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

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

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

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12) We’ll Never Be Rebels

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

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

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Notice her heart tattoo on her ankle...

Notice her heart tattoo on her ankle…

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

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Monster High gets backlash from parents often about how “scary” their Monster High dolls look. And you know Mattel cares what parents (the people that won’t play with the dolls) think. What did they do? They just re-vamped the whole line so the monsters can look sweeter…and younger.

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

Flavas was also a pretty edgy line, but I think a lot more had to do with their retirement. They were just tacky altogether…

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13) Cheap Quality

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

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

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

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

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

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14) Mattel Doesn’t Listen to YOU

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

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

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

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

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

Leave me a comment and let me know what you people think! What Mattel dolls do you collect? What products have you purchased? Have you experienced what I have or do you think I’m a load of malarkey?

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

1 Sep

For the month of September, I focused on BoA’s Japanese comeback! She hasn’t had an album in four years!

For the month of May, I am focusing on BoA’s Korean comeback! She hasn’t had an album in Korea for THREE years!

I’m so excited for BoA! She has been in the limelight for 14 years! She is a pop star veteran, at the age of 27! She has more awards and accolades than many TWICE her age, and she has the kind of resume and experience that makes her a superstar! Many K-pop stars can learn from her!

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

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

How did I become a BoA fan?

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

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

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

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

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Other

Japanese 

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

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

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

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

Other

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

BoA’s resume is GREAT and this is just the beginning! Enjoy BoA’s years of success as we enjoy BoA’s Anniversaries!

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

Keep on the watch for more BoA articles!

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Bratz Music

28 Apr

I seriously LOVE Bratz music! #bratz

Their music is seriously GOOD. It sounds professional. Even if people don’t necessarily like the dolls, many people enjoy their music. Their album, Bratz Rock Angelz, even made it on  Billboard 100’s list!

Their music is better than most songs geared towards children. Even teens and adults can enjoy their music. Monster High is cool as a doll line, but their music is a little cheesy. No offense. 😛

So, I’m going to post all of the Bratz songs I’ve collected on this article! Have a listen!

Bratz

List of Bratz Singles and Albums:

Show Me What You Got featuring BoA Kwon and Howie D (Backstreet Boys)

Look Around featuring Verbal (M-flo) and Christina Milian

Bein Who We Are

Rock Angelz

Genie Magic

Forever Diamondz

Fashion Pixiez

Girlz Really Rock

The Movie OST

*There are also songs that you can hear on the Bratz movies! Almost all of the albums above have a movie to go along with it! There are also songs that appear on the Bratz Kidz and Bratz Babyz movies as well.

Bratz Yasmin

There are four main Bratz. This is Yasmin’s playlist. Yasmin’s music has R&B sounds, hip hop, and pop. She even has some alternative hip-hop and rap sounds. She and Sasha have a similar sound, but Yasmin has the most beautiful voice out of everyone. It’s fitting considering she wants to be a singer. She’s also a writer. So all of the music is up her alley. Some of the artists that she likes include Black Eyed Peas and Nicki Minaj. Yasmin’s style is all about blending different styles into one graceful look. She’s into vintage and bohemian looks, complete with Autumn tones. Her nickname is “Pretty Princess” because she royally rules. She’s known for being the quiet shy one, with a regal air, but an open mind. Her music is all about being strong and about looking at a person from the inside, especially through the eyes. She really seems to believe that everyone is special. Yasmin is the sensitive, soulful type.

Bratz Sasha

There are four main Bratz girls. The songs in this playlist are the songs performed by Bratz girl Sasha. Sasha’s taste in music ranges between hip hop, to pop, to rap to even rock music! She says she loves all music but her nickname is “Bunny Boo” because she loves the hip hop thing, so that pretty much gives away which genre is her favorite. Some of her favorite artists include Beyonce, J-Lo, and Katy Perry. 😉 I’d say the most distinct thing about her music is her powerful voice. Sasha wants to be a music producer and also would make a great choreographer as she loves to dance. She also hopes to have her own fashion line. Her Passion Fashion is Street Style-old school and new funk, as well as daring, avant-garde, and experimental. Her music is all about her attitude, her fearless personality, and not judging a book by it’s cover. Often, it seems she’s misunderstood. She’s also very supportive of her friends and always has their backs, as is evident in many of the songs. She’s the party animal of the group, which is obvious, because she has the most solo songs out of them all! Sasha knows who she is, what she wants, and knows how to get it. She’s also not afraid of confrontation, is fiercely loyal, and destined for success. She’s the Bratz girl with all the attitude.

Bratz Cloe

There are four main Bratz girls. Cloe is one of the four. Cloe has the least amount of songs. She’s got a lot of pop rock songs, but she also has some dance pop sounds. The guitar is heavily noticeable in her songs. She’s not the most distinct singer, but her music is charming. Her songs are fun and friendly. She’s all about staying young, alive, and strong. She mentions doing what you want, how you want to do it. But she believes in treating people with respect. She usually doesn’t like any particular artists; just any artist topping the charts. But recently, she has had a thing for Lady Gaga. Her style includes sparkly fabrics and animal prints-anything dramatic. Her nickname is “Angel” because she’s sweet and her head is always in the clouds. Also, she always looks “divine”. She’s the dreamy, romantic, but she’s also tough. She’s the sporty one of the group, and her songs give off that energy. Cloe likes to see life through a different lens-which is why she likes cameras. Cloe is a drama queen, and wants to be an actress. She also likes to paint and draw.

Bratz Jade

There are four main Bratz girlz. This playlist is full of songs performed by Bratz girl Jade. Jade’s songs are mostly pop, but she’s got some rock songs. Her favorite artists are Gwen Stefani, and now Jessie J. But she’s “performed” songs that were originally performed by other artists such as Natasha Bedingfield, Linda Perry, and Christina Aguilera. Jade’s personality throughout the songs are about being yourself and standing out, no matter what others think. She’s considered to be the “ultimate fashionista” so that’s definitely a strong theme. Jade’s nickname is “Kool Kat” because she loves cats and because she’s on the “cutting-edge of cool”. Her style is always new, anything quirky, cutting edge, and always unexpected. She wants to be a fashion designer or a scientist. She’s kind of the nerdy one, so it’s no shock she has “nerd-like” themes like being the “odd one out”. Jade has her rainy days, but she still seems to remain positive, and so most of her music is all about positivity and expressing one’s self. She seems to be about her friends, and loves hanging out and having a good time. Her personality is loud, funny, and anything but boring.

Other Bratz 

The other Bratz that have had songs were Roxxi, Sheridan, Eitan, Fiana, and Anna.

There have also been songs from characters in the movies and tv shows. These characters include Madam Demidov from the movie Bratz Girlz Really Rock, the Dwarfs from Bratz Kidz Fairy Tales, and Alonce from the Bratz TV series.

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