Think of a super skinny Lady Gaga, give her a monster-like identity, dress her in shocking outfits, create wild stories about her, and you have the idea behind the ultra successful "Goth Barbie" Monster High dolls.
Young girls, ages 6-12 are the market audience. Barbie dolls are definitely out, and the Goth-inspired Monster High dolls reign. Developed in conjunction with online stories about life in Monster High School, these dolls are created with “freaky flaws” that aren’t weird; they’re cool.
Talk about a sensational success, Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, now has a billion dollar brand with Monster High. Sales for girl’s toys have surged 56% thanks to these ultra skinny sticks of plastic. Mattel marketers point to the issue of school bullying and by creating dolls that are comfortable with their looks, young girls will feel better about how they look. Do they really believe this?
Explain how girls will feel better about their looks as they play with Frankie Stein, with her tiny arms, light-up rib cage and those awesome, to die for, neck bolts? Also troubling, are some of the stories created for the characters in Monster High. Parents, take note, these dolls come with pre-determined characters—no imagination necessary for your child. They’ll be clamoring to watch the web episodes and buy countless accessories.
How does overtly sexualized clothing on skinny dolls help develop a realistic self-image in a child? If Mattel was truly interested in developing young girls’ self-worth and character, then why not create dolls that have a relatable body shape? How many tweens can really go to school in micro-mini skirts, platform shoes, and fishnet stockings?
Also troubling, Monster High story lines lead young girls into sexualized scenarios that are beyond their years. Here’s one web video tag line: “Draculaura’s horrorscope predicts she’ll meet the boy of her dream….today! Can the ghouls help her find the perfect match before the sun sets?” Werewolves, witchcraft, ghouls and ghosts help these skinny gals use their sex appeal.
Lets talk about toys. Child’s play is important—it’s where imagination develops, and relationships with other children can be built. It seems that Monster High dolls come pre-loaded with all the imagination required. Children simply can act out the scripted scenes and adults are the ones left wondering how these sexy influences will really play out.
Christian parents might want to take a closer look at the marketing schemes behind toys, before opening their wallets. Monster High is a monstrously outrageous success, but when young girls develop a sexualized mindset it won’t be long before make-believe can become a real life scenario that families would rather avoid.