At times, the competition for the attention of preadolescent girls looks like something of a downward spiral on the moral values - not to mention taste - front. After MGA Entertainment swept the field with its naughty-almost-nasty Bratz in 2001, Mattel responded last year with a trampy line of its own famous dolls, called My Scene Barbie. Now, Mr. Heyward and company are entering the fray with a multimedia product that is not exactly wholesome but that steps back from the sexual precipice.
--------from “New Babes In Toyland” (NYT 1-4-05) about the new “Trollz” line of fashion dolls.
Ok, it’s hard to dodge the trampy slap on “Bratz”. But that didn't stop Santa from dropping a poster of Yasmin under the tree for my six-year-old daughter. Face it; there’s no escaping the propaganda of neo-pubescence aimed directly at our girl children’s little psyches. As far as the minimum waist, maximum rack and unnaturally long legs with a bump goes, Barbie is the least of a parent’s worries these days. Even the cartoon good-girls--like Disney’s “Kim Possible” are drawn a little bad. At least one of the three Beverly Hills High hotties on “Totally Spies” (Cartoon Network) get hot and bothered about some guy on every ‘mission’. Yes, one of them is black, but it’s still hard to escape the impression that the world of my brown child’s preadolescent fantasies (yes, they seem to start as early as six these days) belongs to white blondes.
That’s why I’ve always been partial to “Bratz”. Whatever else you can say about their looks they’re not doing anything to keep traditional white girl-ness in vogue. And, as has been widely reported, they’ve been slamming their big wedgie shoes in Barbie’s narrow ass at the cash register for four toy seasons.
So why do we need Trollz?
DIC Entertainment President Andy Heyward told the Times that the Trollz will “explore the kinds of things that intrigue young girls." By implication, Trollz will not look like their trolling for Bobby Brown types.
Unlike Bratz, the provocatively dressed, multiethnic dolls that were one of this season's best-selling Christmas toys, Trollz would never be caught, said Mike Verrecchia, DIC's senior vice president for marketing, seven or eight at a time, in a Jacuzzi together. (This happened in a Bratz television commercial.) "We don't want children asking their parents, 'What are they doing in the Jacuzzi?' " Mr. Verrecchia said.
-----------from “New Babes In Toyland” (NYT 1-4-05)
A fair enough reform, says Daddy. But the Times couldn’t help distinguishing Trollz from the “multiethnic” Bratz. The euphemism for something other than Nordic in appearance makes me chuckle applied to humans. Applied to “Bratz” it’s a howler. “Bratz” weren’t spawned on Earth, they evolved on the planet “Ghetto Fabulous”.
Instead of ‘ethnic’ Trollz come:
... prepackaged with an ethic, summed up as "B.F.F.L.": Best Friends for Life. And they certainly have a look. "Instead of doing the post-Janet Jackson, Britney Spears thing, we went for Avril Lavigne, Hillary Duff, Jessica Simpson," said Estevan Ramos, a stylist who worked with Ms. Spears and Christina Aguilera before he was hired to help create Trollz for DIC Entertainment.”
I’d be insulted, if I were them. The article sources the Trollz basic DNA as the carvings of an obscure Danish fisherman who was inspired by tales of hoary creatures of the Nordic (of course) forests. According to the carver’s son:
"He modeled its ugly face after a local butcher,... (m)y father owed this man money, and this was his revenge," the son told the Times. The original trolls made their way to plastic and made billions world wide in the 60’s and 70’s. My little sister played with them; I never saw a black one.
Yes, one of the Trollz appears to be brown, but incongruously bald, next to the geysers of hair shooting from the top of the real Trollz heads. I’m thinking Stymie, next to Alfalfa and Darla from “Our Gang.”
Will Trollz being positioned against Bratz like Elvis against Little Richard? The company plans to “carpet bomb” the media with the March rollout, so we will see. I’m rootin’ for the ‘round the way’ alien Bratz.