Tag Archives: mgae

#Bratz 2018: What I Want to See Back and What I Don’t

8 Jul

Yasmin snapped! Let’s hope the doll is as beautiful as the art…

 

Greetings GenNext readers!

I am excited that Bratz are coming back this Fall! WOO! It’s really happening. We’ve been getting a few teasers on instagram that confirm it’s really happening. And of course, I have a few surprises up my sleeve to support the Bratz dolls’ return!

Ever since I started that 2018 article regarding Isaac Larian announcing the Bratz dolls’ return, I’ve been really thinking about the Bratz dolls’ career over the last 17 years. I’ve been reviewing pictures, my dolls, Bratz music, and even press interviews and such, just walking down memory lane. There was a lot about Bratz that just blew me away within that time!

I believe I’ve told people on my Bratz Quiz (How Well Do You Know the Bratz?) article a few years back that I’ve been into the Bratz since the website was under construction late 2000, early 2001-ish. So, I’ve seen a lot come out of the Bratz. I was among those in the target demographic back during the Bratz’s debut, and I’m so glad that I was able to support Bratz for so many years.

There’s a lot that I really loved about Bratz, and of course, I want to see it come back in 2018. So far, I’ve mostly heard good news (like Hayden Williams, a fan favorite designer and illustrator, at least designed one of the Bratz’s lines).

Hayden Williams illustrations

Isn’t Hayden Williams amazing? I can’t wait!

Still, there were a lot of things that bothered me, too.

While there’s a lot of things in more recent years that disappointed me (Bratz 2015 to be exact), there were some things during Bratz 2k that I don’t want to see anymore, either. That’s right. You read right. Let me repeat. There were some things that occurred from 2001 to 2009 that I don’t want to see AGAIN.

Let me break down my “Dos” and “Don’ts” for the Bratz 2018. Many of you might not agree with them, but I’m still going to say it.

If you don’t like reading, skip down and listen to my videos: Skip

I told ya’ll in my last article why I didn’t want to do an article on Bratz too soon. I don’t want to come across negative. XD

DOs

 

Passion for Fashion

Okay, we all know the Bratz girls were developed with other interests. But let’s be real, we love the Bratz because they have a passion for fashion! The dolls showcased bold and fashion-forward style and that’s what I want to see return.

I don’t care what the radical feminists and soccer moms say about them wearing too much makeup. I say BRING IT! I don’t care if they slut-shame them. I say BRING IT!

Though we know designer Hayden Williams is going to deliver that “Passion for Fashion” for an exclusive line, we don’t know how the other Bratz lines are going to turn out.

What I hope to see is Bratz’s urban 2001 sass and design combined with their avant-garde punk attitude. There can’t be one without the other. Bratz should bring a little bit of both.

Four Core Girls and Two Core Boys

I understand why people made a stink about MGA adding Raya as the “fifth core girl” in 2015. After all, it was the original four that made the Bratz brand. Raya was also another blonde character, uninteresting, and just not necessary.

Still, I find it ironic that the same people that hated Raya being added as a core girl keep asking for Meygan and Dana to come back along with the core four. So why even be mad about Raya when Raya was not the first character to be the “fifth” core girl? MGA has been adding “fifth” core girls since Meygan was released in 2002 and Dana released in 2003.

For me, I wasn’t having it then, and I’m not having it now. Stick to the core four. There’s just enough dolls to express solid fashion passion. Too many characters drown out the individuality.

It’s okay to add these girls in there sometimes, but overall, the core girls (and boys) should be the main focus. And they should be in almost EVERY line. The CORE characters should not be replaced by other dolls (which in Raya’s case, at least she wasn’t a replacement, like Meygan and Dana have been in many of the Bratz lines).

I also want to see Dylan return. While it was cute that MGA announced CAMERON on instagram, where’s Dylan? He was one of the few boys of color in the Bratz Boyz line. He NEEDS to come back. They better not think of having a comeback without Dylan.

All the other side characters should be an afterthought.

Bratz Music

You can say what you want about anything else regarding the Bratz dolls, but you can’t deny their albums were filled with BOPS.

I was just going back through their music the other day. From Rock Angelz to Forever Diamondz, they had some cuts. I’m not ashamed. I dance to their music at home, in the car, on the street. I’m ready for it.

This is the one thing they didn’t mess up in 2015. Skylar Stecker did a pretty good job with the theme song “What’s Up?”

Still, I hope they can get Universal back on board for the project. The music sounded polished. All they need are some decent songwriters, and we’re good to go.

A Good TV/Netflix series

Whether it’s live action (like what MGA’s Project MC2 has), Stop Motion (like what they had in Japan in ’03, not Stoopid Studios’s garbage), or CGI animation like what the Bratz had before from 2005-2008, it should be well-written, engaging, and should promote the Bratz characters’ individual charms and styles (unlike the TV series, some of the movies, and the live action movie back in the day, which I’ll talk about later…).

I have a good script going actually, if anybody is interested in picking it up. It’s juicy, and follows the Bratz’s “actual” life. Basically, it’s focused on the “real” story behind the Bratz dolls’ life and career. I aim to make it sophisticated enough for the target demographic (which should be 10 to 14, as it was once before), and fun enough for everyone.

But even if no one is biting for my TV/Netflix script, I really think a future series that highlights all of the characters’ strengths and weaknesses, focuses on things real tweens and teens experience, and has a little drama and adventure would be nice.

Jade’s Original Personality

This is the only thing the 2015 Bratz stop-motion series got right. They brought back Jade’s “extreme” personality traits. In 2001, Bratz dolls weren’t extremely developed back then. We learned a little about them from their profiles about their fashion sense and from the main website, where fans could get a glimpse inside the Bratz girls’ rooms.

Many Bratz fans who got into the fandom in 2002 and beyond didn’t know about the Bratz rooms set up on the main website because the website was changed as soon as Meygan was released. In Jade’s room, she had a skateboard and green alien. This was a sign that Jade was supposed to be a sporty character. You can even look at the 1st Edition Bratz and gather that she’s pretty sporty.

For some reason, those personality traits were given to Cloe in the movie and TV show adaptations. To me, it just didn’t fit Cloe’s “ethereal and angelic” image. Those qualities were clearly meant for Jade. However, because Jade’s personality was considered more empowering, maybe writers thought it would be better to give the BLONDE girl those traits (instead of Cloe’s “head always being in the clouds”, which would’ve made her fit stereotypes).

Or those involved with writing for the Bratz didn’t do enough research.

Though I’m glad Jade maintained her edgy fashion sense in the movies and TV show,  and I like that she had that “geek chic” thing going on in some of these adaptations, I don’t feel that any of the writers, producers, and directors really knew about Jade’s characterization throughout her entire doll career. I really liked that she was developed as both smart and sporty. Why can’t she be both?

I’m hoping that MGA returns Jade back to her original self.

Bratz Video Games

I loved the Bratz video games for the Playstation 2 and I hope there are games released on the PS4 and Xbox One. Those games were entertaining for me. I also think it helped more girls get into video games. This time, though, I hope the UnReal Engine is used for future games. It would be awesome!

Make the Characters SINGLE Again

Cloe and Cameron are cute and everything, but their relationship kind of made playtime limited. Kids couldn’t put the characters they wanted together. People couldn’t take photos of Cameron with Yasmin, Cloe with Eitan, or Cloe with Yasmin and post them online without someone saying, “No, their boo is ___.” I think “shipping” should be open.

I also really liked the line Secret Date. Unfortunately, with Cameron being so heavily shipped with Cloe, lines like that are impossible now.

Still, I would like the Bratz to be single, available, and just dating and having fun in their Teen or young adult lives. I hope it returns.

It should be open so people can see any Bratz character with any Bratz Girl or Boy they want to see them with. I mean, you can do that already without regard to the adaptations, but the “fixed” coupling would make it harder to post pictures with your favorite couple without people making comments about who should be together.

Movies Like Bratz Passion for Fashion Diamondz, Bratz Genie Magic, and Bratz Fashion Pixiez

Even though these movies weren’t realistic, they were fun. There was a spirit of adventure and magic that made them fun to watch. I especially liked the suspense and mystery in Passion for Fashion Diamondz, even if the ending was a bit predictable. Movies like this also made the lines themselves more appealing.

These movies also included the soundtrack songs in them.

I still do think that adaptations should be a little more realistic and should focus more on trials real teens are going through, but I would also like more adventurous movies. With a movie, you have to entertain an audience for an hour or two.  You might as well make it fun.

Boyz Lines

I hope to see more lines just for the Boys. I do believe that Bratz should mostly focus on the girl dolls and should focus on building female bonds. BUT I also liked that the boys weren’t just “boyfriends” to the main characters. They had their own “passion for fashion” thing going on. It made them seem more individual and less like “Ken dolls”.

It seems Cameron is the only doll that has been re-released since 2015, and he really got the “Ken” treatment back during the 2015 revamp (being only released in the Funk N Glow line as Cloe’s boyfriend). I mean, I’m not whining because at least he’s back. Still, I would like to see the boys break out a little and be a little different from the other boy dolls out here.

Good Hair

Back in the day, the first Bratz dolls had really good strong hair. They had quality hair. It made their hair shine and it made hairstyles look so polished on the dolls. It could also get wet without problems.

But after awhile, it seemed like they started putting cheaper hair on the dolls. I really do hope they bring back that good hair.

I also hope Sasha starts wearing her hair more natural, kind of like how she wore her hair in Style It and Dance Crewz but possibly more natural than even those styles.

I would also like to see some real hairstyles return. Around 2005 and 2006, it seemed like the hair styles got more and more flat. When the Bratz were first released, their hairstyles were diverse and unique. Later, they all just had their hair straightened with some color.

I hope the amazing hair returns. I’m not saying it’s mandatory, as I would just like the diverse fashion, especially because the hair will probably come down anyway. But I really liked it as a collector. The hair was inspiring.

 

 

 

DON’Ts

 

Closmins

If ya’ll thought the Tweevils got on your nerves on the Bratz TV series, the Closmins irked me more. Since 2003, we started seeing how blonde white Cloe and racially ambiguous Yasmin (though in reality, we all know she was meant to be Iranian but whateva, they used the “Hispanic” thing to get her to sell better) started getting all the love. And I know these two are a lot of your faves, so you may not like what I’m about to say.

But the rest of us Sasha and Jade fans were incensed. How dare they kick out the real dolls of color?

That isolation grew and grew until we hardly saw Sasha and Jade in major lines.

Don’t believe me? How about I bust out a list:

  • (2003) Big Bratz (Limited Collectors’ Edition)-Cloe, Yasmin, Meygen (where’s Sasha and Jade?)
  • (2004) Wild Life Safari – Cloe, Yasmin, Meygan, Nevra, Fianna (Don’t let that TV series fool you. Jade and Sasha would’ve OWNED this line. Screw Nevra and Fianna. They look alike anyway!)
  • (2005) Birthday Bash– Cloe, Yasmin, Sasha, Phoebe (No Jade)
  • (2005) Campfire – Cloe, Yasmin, Dana, Phoebe, Felicia (I love Felicia and everything, but why couldn’t we have two black dolls in one line? Ya’ll don’t care to add Nevra and Fianna in the same freakin’ lines, and they look more alike)
  • (2005) Dynamite – Cloe, Meygan, Nevra (We don’t even have Yasmin in this line. Cloe is the only one in the line from the core Bratz. You trying to give us a “Barbie” type of tease?)
  • (2005) Fabulous Las Vegas – Cloe, Yasmin, Sasha, Tiana (Jade? Jade? Where are you?)
  • (2005) Hollywood Style – Cloe, Yasmin, Dana, Phoebe, Katia (Wow, no Black girls belong here, huh? No Black girls in Hollywood?)
  • (2005) I-Candy – Cloe, Yasmin, Phoebe (More Closmins)
  • (2005) Midnight Dance – Yasmin, Meygan, Fianna (Yas is the only girl from the core here)
  • (2005) Ooh La La Paris – Cloe, Dana, Kumi (More Cloe)
  • (2005) Play Sportz – Cloe, Yasmin, Sasha, Meygan, Fianna, Roxxi (Where’s Jade again?)
  • (2005) Wild Wild West – Cloe, Yasmin, Meygan (with horse), Fianna, Kiana (Closmins)
  • (2005) Pretty N’ Punk – Cloe, Jade, Yasmin, Meygan (See the Bratz Rock Angelz movie gave you the illusion that Sasha was involved. Nope. So what, MGA? Sasha can’t be punk? A Black girl can’t be punk?)

2004 and 2005 were Bratz’s biggest years, and yet Sasha and Jade didn’t get to enjoy the limelight. One can argue that maybe the years were bigger because Jade and Sasha weren’t in the lines, but based on online polls, at least Jade was considered the second most popular Bratz doll. Why was she omitted from all of these doll lines?

Bratz info to support series (2)

This isn’t even adding the fact that Cloe dominated all the solo “special editions” and the fact that only Yasmin and Cloe got outfits from the live action movie made for the dolls! So Cloe and Yasmin were the only ones meant to have that Bratitude?

Sasha and Jade only showed up for the “flagship” lines, the ones that were being highlighted in movies. They showed up just to confuse us. But they weren’t fooling petty fans like me. I didn’t miss a heartbeat.

And it wasn’t cute. If you are going to bring back the Bratz, don’t cater to the colorist side of the Bratz fandom. Please allow people to enjoy Sasha and Jade’s individual colors and unique physical traits. If Sasha isn’t outselling the other girls, give Sasha bomb outfits you can’t find on Yasmin or Cloe. Make her appealing. But don’t take her out completely because she isn’t white or “mixed” enough. That’s not 2018-ready.

And I know you think Jade can just be replaced by any brunette that looks similar, but you’re absolutely wrong. We need more Asian representation in media and entertainment. It’s bad enough they get “white-washed” out as it is. Bratz is supposed to be a line celebrating diversity. Show us you aren’t like Barbie by doing that.

If I see it again, MGA, you and I are going to have a nasty exchange. Well, not too much of a nasty exchange because I do love MGA, but I will have some words.

The Closmins reveal the fact that these “fifth core girls” did nothing but divide up the main four core girls. This is why I don’t want anymore core girls. These other characters should either be an extension of the four core or not in the line at all.

Bratz TV Series

I know what you 2005 Bratz fans are thinking: “WHAT? I LOVED the series! It’s what brought me into the Bratz! And I ship Cloe and Cameron and want to see what happened next!”

That’s where I clash with the fandom. That’s why I’m scared. Most of the fans want to see this series actually return.

Most of the people who fell in love with the Bratz through the Bratz series were probably way younger than me when that series came out. A lot of people say “The series was my childhood”. By the time that series came out, I was a teen fan of Bratz and a collector rather than player. Maybe I was too old to be into Bratz in some people’s eyes, but I still loved the dolls and wasn’t ashamed.

While I loved that the animation sort of brought the dolls to life and promoted the brand, there were a lot of things about that series that bothered me, and it wasn’t just the plot holes, lack of wardrobe changes, and corny script. In fact, that’s what I actually liked about it. All of those things gave it a cartoon-y charm.

The bad part, to me, is that I believe the series is the reason we even got the CLOSMINS in the first place.

The first thing I hated about that series when it first began is that it took the Bratz Rock Angelz model (yes, I hated that movie, too) and made Cloe the narrator and lead character. Mind you, Bratz was originally a line meant to differ from Barbie, where the blonde chick got most of the shine.

Yasmin was the first Bratz doll and the original darling of the brand. So why Cloe?

Fox Entertainment, the distributor of the series, put more emphasis on ditzy and dramatic Cloe, giving her a beautiful steady love interest and an empowering personality (a personality stolen from Jade to make her more appealing, by the way), and less emphasis on the viewpoints of the other characters.

Though Yasmin was dethroned as the lead, she did get the best treatment in the series, being designed as this sweet and loving animal lover. The change didn’t really hurt her popularity.

What did Sasha get written as? A loud-mouthed, selfish control freak who wasn’t attractive to anybody but herself. I believe Sasha’s character in the series is why she was always voted as the least popular Bratz among the core in polls back in the day (and this is aside from the fact that people already have a negative opinion about dark skin, especially overseas).

And Jade just got all the leftover personality traits.

In fact, they completely changed Jade’s character. It’s not really the series’ fault. I blame Bratz the Video: Starrin and Stylin. Still, they took from that movie, which made me dislike the series even more.

I do not EVER want to see a Bratz series like this again. You all can come at me for it. I’m ready.

If it does return, I hope the wrinkles are ironed out.

Bratz Movies like Bratz the Video: Starrin and Stylin, Bratz Rock Angelz, and Bratz the Movie

I didn’t hate these movies overall, but there were some things that bothered me. The reasons I dislike these Bratz movies are the same reasons I disliked the Bratz TV series.

First of all, I did not like some things in Bratz the Video: Starrin and Stylin. I know many people didn’t like the movie overall. At the time of release, some people felt the animation was outdated and cheap-looking. For me, I actually liked the animation because it reminded me of the commercials. I truly like 2-D animation. I liked the story-telling, too. I think it was more realistic than the other movies.

What I hated about it was how the characters were written. This was the beginning of the destruction of the Bratz characters in my opinion. When the Bratz dolls were first released in 2001, they weren’t developed with any particular personality traits, just “fashion passions”. These “fashion passions” sort of highlighted their personalities, but not directly. So, anyone could kind of make-up their own personalities for the characters. However, there were other signs about the characters’ personalities on the main website, which apparently many Bratz fans (and these writers and developers) never visited. If you looked in their bedrooms, you could see their different interests. I wish I could show you all, but you can’t even get into this website now, not even on Wayback Machine.

Okay, I admit, I was one of the main people begging MGA to make a movie for the Bratz characters to flesh out their personalities. Stupid me.

Starrin and Stylin and the book series that inspired the movie didn’t consider the website. I personally was looking forward to a sporty and edgy Jade with a passion for fashion. Basically, a non-typical fashion girl. That’s not what Starrin and Stylin gave me. In fact, her whole sporty appeal was wiped from existence.

What’s more? Sasha was given the worst personality in the group. She was characterized as a “control freak”.

Bratz Rock Angelz bit off a little bit from the original movie. They brought back the relationship between Cloe and Cameron (only they made them childhood friends, when technically Yasmin and Cameron were, but we’ll talk…). Sasha was still a control freak, and now was also selfish and pushy. They brought back Jade’s “ultimate fashionista” persona, which I already didn’t like.

But what really killed me is that Bratz Rock Angelz COMPLETELY SWAPPED Jade and Cloe’s lives. And when I say literally, they even switched their OUTFITS. You know why this angered me? Because Jade’s outfit was actually one of the best sold in the line. It appealed the most to punky tomboys like myself. It gave Asian persuasion Jade an image that could help her become more popular.

What did Fox Entertainment go and do? They gave it to CLOE. And it was weird. It looked like Jade was talking with Cloe’s voice.

Yes, I’m a petty fan. I do not like when adaptations deviate from the source material. I hate this because everything that I like about something can be altered in-brand because of these adaptations. It overall affected the brand.

The worst part is the Rock Angelz movie is actually popular among the fans. Ugh.

To add insult to injury, Bratz Rock Angelz took away the emphasis on Yasmin, the original lead character, and decided they would tell the story through the eyes of the BLONDE. Why did I ever think Bratz could be different from Barbie when Fox pulls this crap with the Bratz?

Bratz Rock Angelz eventually spun into that wack-attack TV series that highlighted all of the negative changes.

Why did I even watch it? The Bratz Rock Angelz album was released before the movie. After that amazing album, I thought the movie would touch on all the subjects covered in the music, which actually would’ve made a compelling story. Not only did the movie completely miss everything in the album, only ONE song from the album was present in the movie.

And if those movies weren’t bad enough at jacking the Bratz up, here comes Bratz the Movie, the Raspberry-award winning live action based off of the dolls. While I loved most of the actors in the film, the film was obviously designed to capitalize off of the High School Musical craze. We’ve got a Sharpay look-alike, plenty of musical numbers, and friends torn apart because they belong to the wrong clique.

But the worst part about the movie is the white-washing of DYLAN. Dylan was clearly meant to be BLACK (at least bi-racial). This Bratz Boy has come with braids and dreads in his hair! He has been released with dark brown skin at many times. Even former characterizations of him, such as in the first Bratz movie, highlighted him as BLACK.

What did the live action movie do? They cast a white boy for his role. I took issue with that.

Overall, MGA would do us all a favor if they avoided white-washing the Bratz brand to appeal to colorist fans (and you know who you are).

2015

Don’t do this again. Don’t. Do. It. Again.

There is no room for goo-eyed, tacky, uninspired, and sweet-faced Bratz dolls. Not now, not EVER.

Lawsuits

We all know that once the Bratz dolls come back, there will be a lot of copy-cats. We know all the doll companies want to create dolls that make a statement like the Bratz did. We need to just accept that there will always be imitations.

What we don’t need are more lawsuits coming from MGA. Really, because of all of those lawsuits from 2004 to 2009, MGA wasn’t able to really focus on the Bratz, and that affected the dolls. It affected the quality of the brand and Bratz were almost legally removed from shelves because of those lawsuits.

We need to leave the confrontational attitude back in 2k. Moving forward, we need to focus on making this brand the best it can be. I really don’t want another issue to rise up where we’re losing some of our MGA team because they all work hard to make their dolls successful.

Painted On Clothing

I forgot to mention this. We need to leave the painted-on leggings and stockings back in 2k. Looking at Bratz lines like I-Candy, Ooh La La Paris, and Star Stylez, I don’t like that someone decided it would be cute to paint on clothing instead of actually taking the time to design mix-and-match fashions!

I understand it’s cheaper than actually producing high-quality materials. I understand that it’s easier for kids because it’s harder to lose something that’s painted on and harder to swallow as well. There was also probably an issue with resources to fun some of these high quality items.

In all fairness, they probably wanted I-Candy girls to have stockings, but real fabric stockings with painted on shoes would’ve looked odd. So, I understand.

But it really also made mixing and matching outfits challenging. I mean, you could mix-and-match all you want, but there would be some awkward leg coloring peeking out.

If you’ve got an I-Candy Bratz doll, you know that these dolls would look awkward wearing any other outfits besides the ones they have on. Maybe that was the purpose, so that people would see the distinction in this line, but it’s just not fun.

Recycled Clothing from Sister Brands

This was a big problem for me. When Bratz Party Cloe was released, it was easy to tell that she was wearing leggings recycled from the Moxie Teenz line. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but they looked awfully similar…

It was almost like Bratz got whatever was left over from the  Moxie Teenz collection. I mean, MGA admitted in 2010 they rushed to bring the dolls back to shelves, so I guess they just put whatever they could find on these dolls. Still, I hope we’re not ever in that situation again.

I just hope that Bratz isn’t going to be “borrowing” from their sister brands this time around. Don’t get me wrong. I do like Project MC2 well enough, but I just feel the Bratz need to be distinct from them. Those girls are cute and everything, but just not the Bratz. If I can find the same outfits on a Bratz doll that I can find on the Project MC2 dolls, why buy the Bratz, ya know?

 

So that’s my list of Do’s and Don’ts. What are some things you Bratz fans want to see return? Do you agree with my list or not? Leave me a comment and we can get the discussion rolling!


Check out my video versions:

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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.

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

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

13346-bratz1

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 subcultures. It 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

pretty-n-punk

4. Make an Interactive Website

bratzpack-com

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.

Bratz_Wildlife_Safari_Boyz_Dylan_Doll

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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: Brave Feminist

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

Yasmin’s nickname is Pretty Princess because she’s pretty and because she royally rules. She’s also called Pretty Princess because she takes the coolest common clothes and turns them into royal perfection. Yasmin’s fashion passion focuses on bohemian and retro fashions, in autumn or earth tone colors, and with exotic textures and patterns. However, occasionally, Yasmin likes to wear vibrant colors, too. Her favorite color is Honey Yellow. She’s all about blending different styles into one graceful look. Her style has a feminine touch to it. She is known for her gorgeous and unique natural beauty: her sandy-red brunette hair, natural tan, brown eyes, and the beauty mark under her left eye. She is considered to be of Iranian-Jewish and Hispanic/Latina origins. 

She’s considered “a girl with substance”. She’s known for being quiet, shy, and mysterious with a regal air and an open mind. She may not express herself verbally very well, but she’s full of ideas inside. Sometimes, Yasmin is so quiet, she’s hard to read. She has a difficult time standing up for herself and she can be sneaky. Yasmin is a sensitive and soulful individual. She is very earthy. She is the most natural (wearing less makeup and seldom dyeing her hair) out of all of her friends. She has also shown interest in plants and animals. Yasmin loves music. She seems particularly interested in singing and playing her own instruments. She also enjoys writing. She has written music but also enjoys journalistic writing as well. Because Yasmin is so quiet, she’s observant which helps her see things others miss. This observant trait assists her as a journalist. She’s also interested in writing plays and stories as well. She enjoys playing the ukulele and the guitar as well as making flower crowns. She also enjoys attending festivals, especially music festivals.   

All of the Bratz girls have performed as music artists. Yasmin has personally experimented with pop, pop rock, hip-hop, soul, funk, Arabic-Bollywood style, and R&B genres. Yasmin is considered the best vocalist of the girls. Her vocals are powerful yet graceful, and they add soul to every song she sings. Her music showcases her strong and open-minded personality. She has stated that her favorite genre of music is anything alternative, like alternative rap, alternative pop, and alternative rock.  She also enjoys pop rock and acoustic rock. She seems to enjoy upbeat pop and rap music as well. Some of the artists that she likes include Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. She seems to be interested in artists that are open-minded and experimental. Her favorite stage color is Neon Yellow. Yasmin’s signature stage move is pulling up fans on stage to serenade them.  

Bratz Sasha

Sasha’s nickname is “Bunny Boo” because she loves the hip-hop thing. Sasha’s fashion passion comes from the streets: she combines the old school with the new. She’s always on the hunt for a new look. She’s also interested in anything experimental and avant-garde. Sasha is considered the most passionate about fashion of all the girls. Sasha often makes a “statement” with her fashion. She’s often seen wearing bold colors and hairstyles, especially gold. She likes to be flashy but classy. Sasha is known physically for her dark brown skin, golden brown hair, and green eyes. She’s considered attractive. She is of African American descent. 

Sasha is also called “Bunny Boo” because she always gets the scene “hopping”. Sasha is lively with a good sense of humor, and she loves to party. She’s known for having a big, loud, and strong personality. Her dreams are as big as her personality, as she wants all that life has to offer. She is confident and sassy. She knows who she is, what she wants, and how to get it! She’s not afraid of confrontation. She’s determined and is considered a natural leader. Sasha is always ready to defend her friends. Sometimes, she can be quick-tempered, straight-forward, a perfectionist, and a little selfish. She often feels misunderstood. But her friends know she means well. Despite her shortcomings, Sasha is down-to-earth and an honest friend. She is super smart as well. She’s interested in politics, history, and other social studies. Sasha is interested in music and fashion. She also enjoys the performance arts such as dancing and acting. She aspires to be a music producer with her own fashion line! Sasha knows how to play the drums and DJs on the side. Sasha also enjoys making Youtube videos showcasing her makeup skills as well.  

All of the Bratz girls have performed as music artists. Sasha has personally experimented with pop rock, rock and roll, new wave, glam rock, pop, R&B, Soul, funk, reggae, and hip-hop. Sasha has a strong voice with a slight rasp. Her vocals add power to every song she sings. She’s considered the second best vocalist among her friends. Her songs showcase her powerful, strong, down-to-earth, expressive, and unique personality traits. She has stated that her favorite genres are hip-hop and R&B, but she also shows interest in soul and rock and roll. Her two inspirations are Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez ( J-LO), two music divas who give dynamite performances. Her favorite stage color is plum purple. Her signature stage move is changing her look mid-performance.

Bratz Cloe

Cloe’s nickname is Angel because that’s what she is! Her friends gave her that nickname for many reasons. For starters, no matter what she wears, she always looks divine. Cloe’s fashion passion focuses on anything dramatic and trend-setting, which includes animal prints, shimmering or sparkly fabrics, and pastels like pink or blue. Despite her flair for dramatics, there’s a sporty element to her style. Cloe follows the trends much closer than the other girls, and she’s considered good at finding deals or sprucing up common fashions for on-trend looks. Cloe is considered naturally pretty. She is known for her blonde hair, blue eyes, and sometimes her freckles. She is the only one in the group who wears glasses. She is of Icelandic heritage. 

Cloe’s friends also call her ‘Angel’ because she’s considered sweet and her head is always in the clouds. She’s quite the dreamy romantic in her group. She can be a little naïve, ditzy, and gullible, but she’s also considered playful, sweet, kind, and friendly. She’s also tough. She is seen as the leader of the pack. All the Bratz have shown an interest in sports, but she is the sportiest of her group. She has shown interest in many different types of sports. Soccer is her favorite sport, but she’s considered to be great at skating and skateboarding too. Though she can be klutzy, she’s graceful when doing any sporty activity. Cloe is highly creative. Cloe likes to see life through a different lens-which is why she likes cameras. She also likes to paint and draw, especially her fashion ideas. Cloe is interested in web design as well. Cloe is a drama queen, so she is naturally good at acting and seems interested in acting professionally. Cloe has been shown to play the acoustic guitar and keeps one in her room. Cloe is a socialite. She loves to hang out with her friends and loves social media. 

All of the Bratz girls have performed as music artists. Cloe has personally experimented with pop and pop rock genres. She has lighter vocals than all of her friends, but her voice always showcases her charm and personality. Her music is characterized by its upbeat nature. Her music often showcases her fun, strong, and friendship-oriented personality. She has stated that she enjoys any artist topping the charts. She seems to be open to all genres of music, but mostly pop, pop rock, and American Country music. Artists she has shown the most interest in are Prima J, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, artists that were most relevant to Cloe’s world at the time she listed them. She’s into the latest music trends. Her favorite stage color is red. Her signature stage move is covering the front row with confetti. 

Bratz Jade

Jade’s nickname is Kool Kat because she loves cats and because she’s cool! Her fashion passion focuses on anything on the cutting-edge of cool. Her style is extreme and far-out. Yet, she still maintains a “sizzling flair” and sporty edge. She likes anything new and quirky cool. Jade is known to be beautiful and the “ultimate fashionista”. She has a light complexion, light brown eyes, and jet-black hair which she experiments with. She is considered to be of mixed descent: Of Caucasian and East Asian (Chinese and Japanese) heritage. 

Jade not only loves cats, but she’s inspired by the feline persuasion! She’s considered quick in mind with an even quicker wit. She’s also sassy and fierce. She is considered to be very intelligent and is always one step ahead in everything she does. She loves science, especially child psychology, chemistry, and nature, and one of her aspirations is to be a scientist. She has an extreme and far-out outlook on life. Her friends consider her personality to be just as quirky and extreme as her style. In fact, she’s kooky! She’s bold, confident, and adventurous. She can be a little unpredictable and sometimes her friends don’t understand her fashion sense, but she approaches everything with an open mind and open heart. She loves anything extreme, especially extreme sports. Skateboarding is her favorite extreme sport. Jade shows an extreme interest in anything that relates to fashion. She aspires to be a fashion designer and possibly start her own fashion blog. She’s worked for a fashion magazine before and is always searching for inspiration. Jade can play a bass and violin. Jade was originally meant to have suffered from an eating disorder in her early life.   

All of the Bratz girls have performed as music artists. Jade has personally experimented with pop, pop rock, punk pop, alternative rock, urban pop, R&B, hip-hop, disco, new wave, ska pop, among others. Because of her raspy voice, her vocals add edge to every song she sings. Of all her friends, she’s experimented with the most genres. Her songs showcase her unique, bold, resilient, hard-working, friendship-oriented, and fashionable personality traits. She has stated that her favorite music genres are electro-pop and punk rock. Still, she has shown interest in a variety of different pop artists such as Gwen Stefani, Jessie J, and Lady Gaga. Most of the artists she’s interested in have a stylish edge about them. Her favorite stage color is platinum silver. Her signature stage move is getting the crowd to dance. 

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.

The Bratz ARE Back! Check out their best line since 2005: Bratz Style Starz!

19 Jul

In the Totally Tattooed article, I mentioned that Bratz seemed to be back with the edgy look that they were so notorious for having. Of course, you know by now that the Bratz are always supposed to be cutting edge and and should be a doll line that breaks fashion rules. But Totally Tattooed didn’t confirm that the individuality, the creativity, and the diversity was back.

Well, with this new line, it just proves that the Bratz power is still lurking somewhere in the shadows! Here’s a peek at the newest line:

Bratz Style Starz

Not only is this line edgy (pushing that limited edge, look at those spiked stiletoos!), but this line is their most creative line since their re-launch! 2010 just seemed like it left off from the 2007 year, which was a really bad year for Bratz. 2012 is more promising. Inspired from the pop divas of the the “Gaga” Pop Era, we see the Bratz glamorize-into-fashion famous music idols we all know! Can you tell? I’m getting the Nicki Minaj vibe from that curly wig Yasmin is sporting. Yas’s song has been noted as sounding like “Super Bass”.

Nicki Minaj and her Curly wig! Yas is inspired,obviously!

Ok, it’s been noted that Jade has been inspired by Jessie J! Jade’s song seems to be inspired from Nobody’s Perfect.

Jade is wearing a spiked jacket similar to what Jessie J is sporting.

Cloe seems to have a Gaga look about her! Cloe’s song seems to be inspired by Edge of Glory.

Lady Gaga in a luscious but bold red outfit! Cloe seems to be inspired!

And Sasha is obviously inspired from Katy Perry! Sasha’s song seems to be inspired by Last Friday Night (TGIF). And even the vintage nerd glasses seem to come from the outfit in the music video.

Katy Perry’s Candy dress-Sasha is definitely inspired from the lollipop theme!

Some may say, “How is this creative? It’s just ripping off a bunch of poor musical artists!” But it is cleverly done. Not only will these dolls connect the consumer with pop music and celebrity trends, but these dolls take a bold and original approach to their inspiration! The designs,the wigs, and the individual inspirations bring back the Bratz distinction. And look! All of the shoes are different from one another! Finally! The Bratz have come out with “pop star” lines before but never have they ever looked this outrageous! For some reason, I had a feeling one day they would rock the Gaga thing…

My favorite part about this line was the element of surprise and how unexpected everything was! Everyone thought Jade was Cloe, and Cloe was Meygen! It wasn’t until later we found out the truth: Everyone is mixed up with different trends and hair! No one looks as you would expect them too! It totally breaks the racial and ethnic barriers, which I think is so fun and interesting. I’m also excited that they aren’t poseable in the legs. I think that’s what made the Bratz lose their chunky shoes, and because it took away that splash,the detail went along with it. Let’s face it. Not every doll is meant to be pose-able. The posing bodies just seemed like an imitation of Liv and Monster High anyway. It’s time for Bratz to cut the imitations and get back to what they do best. Let’s just hope the quality comes back. I want some good hair, and I also want more detail in the lines. I do like the little detailed candies in Sasha’s dress and the spikes on Jade’s jacket.The downside that I do see to the line are some of the changes from the prototypes. The major thing I really don’t like is Cloe’s legs. It is painted black. This is going to make it hard for people to mix and match the fashions if they want to. It just shows a lack of quality.Why not real leggings or stockings? Barbie was normally the doll with the painted on clothes, not Bratz. This is my biggest pet peeve about this line. The second thing that gets me is Sasha’s leggings. Where did they go? Well, I guess I can let that one go. I’m tired of the legging thing. But they were cute and made the doll pop out even more. I also am not sure I like Yasmin’s new leggings. The original leggings were more interesting, and had more detail. The new leggings are okay, though…

Check these dolls soon to come out in stores!

Bratz Style Starz Artwork!

If only the dolls looked like this! This was a prototype! Why would you change them MGA! They always take away the quality when they do that!

Monster High vs Bratzillaz: the Halloween Trend

14 Jul

Yes, Bratz has come out with a line called Bratzillaz. After the line was first announced on facebook, I took a peek. And I admit, at the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking…”Wow, these dolls look an awful lot like Monster High.”

Bratzillaz

I’m a Bratz fan, heart and soul, but I’m honest with myself when I see the doll line heading in a certain direction. Bratz have always had really outrageous lines, they even had a “ghoulish” line back in 2005 called Midnight Dance. Even though I would say it was more of a Gothic line, it was still very “Halloween-ish”. Bratzillaz have a similar taste in my mouth, except the colors are brighter and the clothes are girlier. This is a result of there being a female designer for Bratz rather than the male designer Carter Bryant.

I hate to bring him in this. But the truth of the matter is he was the genius behind the Bratz fashion. Why? Because he was a dude. I hate to be sexist, number 1 because I am a female, but women make dolls that are too “fashionable” to the point they can’t start trends. It’s too predictable. Women make clothes they would like, and the clothes they like are “girly”. Bryant was a male designer who more than likely thought about what appealed to him: four sexy babes who wear fashions that even men would think were cool. Bratz didn’t have all of this imagination “wear” before 2006. Then Barbie Fairytopia happened, and here comes the Pixiez. Bratz weren’t the dolls for all the magical fairies and princesses. Bratz used to be the line that had the rockstars, the tokyo clubs scenes, the beachwear, the spy outfits, the gothic style…nothing that hinted of being “imaginative”. This is what made them different.

Bratz Midnight Dance-Bratz as Goths

Back to Bratzillaz, I do think the line is very detailed and pretty. It still has a bit of the Bratz edge. To me, it is a better version of Monster High. However, it still feels like a copy-cat. “Zillaz” reminds me of a monster like Godzilla, and they even have a MUSIC VIDEO just like Monster High! Bratz have been known to make fun of the Barbie line (Tweevils). If this is a joke to make fun of Monster High MGA, it’s not very funny. It looks like an imitation. I didn’t even know Monster High was that popular even worthy of imitating.

Because I’ve been hiding in a doll cocoon, I thought Monster High was the most unoriginal idea ever. You can’t go very far with monsters, especially not in High School. Eventually, they will graduate…And to add the line is centered on high school. How many lines can they possibly think of pertaining to high school? Although Bratz oddly seem to remain teens, their life isn’t centered around high school, so they can go beyond high school, no sweat. But Monster High is turning out to be the latest “freakish” trend.

Of course, I know that Bratzillaz aren’t meant to represent monsters. They’re really witches. But who would guess that? Take one look at their pets, and you start thinking “that’s weird, and monstrous”. And aren’t witches a part of the ghoul society?

I’m not saying the line is ugly, but I do hope that Bratz doesn’t cave into the craze. I hope they remain the original Bratz. I don’t want the Bratz to be confused with another line. What’s worse, I don’t want people crying they copied and I don’t want Mattel placing another lawsuit on MGA. We just got Bratz back. I don’t want to see them fade again. To add, it’s making them seem like they’re running out of ideas, and that Mattel’s idea is winning. It’s making them look like pathetic wimps.

Side note: Did anyone else notice that Monster High is like a complete re-vamp of Diva Starz only they’re ghouls? They say “ghoul-o-rama”. Didn’t Diva Starz say “Cool-o-rama”? Monster High also say “Ghoulicious”…didn’t Diva Starz say “Divalicious”? They even have big feet and heads like them, only Diva Star were meant to be mechanical dolls of the “future” (Turn of the 21st Century=Y2K). Oddly familiar…

So which line is your favorite?

Monster High

OR

Bratzillaz

Which artwork do you like best?

Monster High

OR

Bratzillaz

And lastly which is your favorite music video?

OR

Vote and comment to let me know what YOU think about the Halloween fright dolls!

My personal favorite music video is the Bratz. They’re super sassy and sexy! But I have to admit, Monster High’s song is catchy and it was the first! Monster High’s song reminds me of the songs on Disney Channel nowadays though: no talent. It’s also very cheesy. “When I’m with my peeps?” Really? And “My boos”? Very cheesy. And then they have a generic black rapper in the video like they did in Rebecca Black’s video, “Friday”.  Monster High seems more “little girlish”, which most dolls SHOULD be. But Bratz looks older, and is more appealing to a wider audience. It’s what makes them different from all the other dolls.

Bratz were the first dolls to promote being different, and even though Bratzillaz seems like a major copy, the whole idea for Monster High’s existence was to be an edgy line that competed with the Bratz. So both are even steven.

Monster High is very limited to ghouls and high school. I can’t see the lines expanding. After they do a prom line, beachwear, pajama wear, school dance line, after school club line, and shopping line…what’s next? After they’ve done all the popular monsters, then what? They’re going to keep re-making the same old lines over and over. And all the characters wear the same colors in every line! Why does Draculaura wear pink in every line that comes out? No variety. It’s not like monsters can go to Tokyo or be Pixiez without looking like monsters…too much of a similarity. Monster High is also too sweet for my tastes. Bratz have a naughtiness about them that attracts me. They’re daredevils. Whereas Monster High is just a ghoul line designed to make Monsters look nicer. Not my thing.

Remember this 2003 Bratz Music Video? Really, we can say Monster High got it from the Bratz, huh?

 

Have Bratz Truly Come Back? New Bratz Edgy Line 2012!

10 Jul

Okay, so Bratz is releasing a new line of dolls, a new edgy line, called Totally Tattooed. Since they relaunched in 2010, many fans anticipated that the Bratz arrival would come in with a “bang”. And when Bratz fans meant “bang”, they meant “edge and style”. When the Bratz were released in 2001, there was one thing Bratz had that other dolls didn’t have: an edge. Bratz broke all kinds of rules with their daredevil fashions, bold slogan and name, and their sassy, pouty lips.

2004 and 2005 were their most rebellious years to date. And ever since, the expectations were high for Bratz to produce dolls that “moms hated”.

Well, lately, the Bratz have been a little…well, just less than edgy. People have been feeling a “Monster High” thing. The Bratz have been too ghoulish or too plain or too girly…everything but edgy.

Well finally the Bratz have come out with a line that screams edge. It has a Biker Babe look about it, as someone on Flickr pointed out. Check it out in stores!

Bratz Totally Tatooed

Bratz Reality Show Coming Soon!

25 Apr

Okay, I admit I haven’t been following the Bratz lately since my disappointment with some of their recent dolls (what, with the lack of quality hair and materials, repetitive fashion styles, etc), so I have basically been ignoring them. However, I recently went back to the website to see if MGA Entertainment has decided to come up with something GOOD for a change. I will say the newest dolls are pretty, but they still seem to have similar fashion to their Party line of dolls, and I’m not sure about the quality.

What really got my head rolling was this: The Bratz reality show.

I know the Bratz had a reality show in Europe a while back called Bratz Design Academy, where girls competed to make the best fashion by designing the next Bratz wardrobe. The fashion that won would be on the newest Bratz line in Europe. I remember seeing a portion of it and never getting to see the end. The U.S. always follows the other countries in the Bratz respect, as with the CD trend. Japan got the first Bratz CD, Show Me What You Got, Americans wanted it too, and a year or two later they got it. It is the same trend with the reality show. This reality show for Bratz will be called Bratz Making the Band, and it will be on Youtube, having girls sign up to be apart of the band, and competing to win a trip to Hollywood, California and an interview and paparazzi exposure. This will be an exciting experience for girls who are interested. This is the TEASER trailer.

It’s interesting, and because it’s a LEAKED trailer, it might be a farce. But if it isn’t, we have this to look forward to sometime in the summer or fall season. Apparently, a DVD was also announced. I only have a couple of concerns about this: 1) age limit 2) whether or not they will have to sing a Bratz song. I’m also not a big fan of reality shows, especially children involved in one, but this seems like it will be a lot of fun. One thing I noticed from the original reality show was that it created a competitive spirit and spurred on drama that can be over-the-top for young girls. However, this is just going to be on youtube so it will almost be like that competition they had a few years back, where girls had to sing that Bratz theme song and create a music video.

So this should be fun! People get your lyrical, instrumental, and singing abilities together and start music!But wouldn’t this be more fun if it dealt with fashion?

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