Berol Dewdney grew up in Southern Vermont and is now a sophomore at Colby College, where she is a passionate Gender Studies major. You can usually find her between the pages of a Feminist Theory book or logging miles on the bucolic trails that surround Colby’s campus, because she’s also a varsity three-season distance runner. Berol is interested in how our media cultures affect body image and disordered eating, and hopes to make a positive change in that area in the future. She loves to laugh, adores the color blue, and could survive on blueberries and peanuts alone for the remainder of her life!
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I certainly have not. In a stressful tizzy I went to the store to buy toys for my little cousins, and came out of the shopping experience even more distraught than when I entered – for it was then that I realized just how sexualized the dolls marketed to young girls are.
Now my cousins are male, but as I walked through the starkly gendered aisles I could not help noticing the glittery and bright pink boxes that seemed to go on forever. We could talk about the issue of consumerism being so gendered – the pink aisle, and the blue aisle – but what struck me more than the colored packaging was the products inside the boxes.
Dora looks like Dora the Sexualized Diva Explorer. Bratz live on, and Moxie Tweenz dolls, marketed as the less sexy, pouty, fashionista version of Bratz, are anything but. Okay, they have normal size feet but they’re still in stilettos. In fact, most all of the female dolls sport not just heel heels, but platform stilettos, and not just short skirts, but…well, practically no clothing whatsoever.
Go into any toy store I am sure you will notice the same sort of thing. I don’t think I need to convince most readers, so please use your consumer power and protest with your pocketbooks and wallets. When you buy a gift for that amazing little girl or boy of yours, be wary of the messages the product sends. Don’t buy a doll that looks like an anorexic stripper fashionista.
This Christmas – however crazy the gift giving process may be – give her something that makes her feel happy, healthy, and strong. Give her a gift that supports her head and heart, not one that will eventually make her hate her body.