Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Disturbing, indeed

Two of my favorite bloggers (Al from My Life in a Blog and Nic from PinkNic) alerted me via Twitter (see? I learned how to use it!) of a horrible phenomenon affecting the contemporary cartoon character doll market.

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, it's likely you knew about Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake. Even if you're a guy, you probably at least had a kid sister with a Rainbow Brite doll or Strawberry Shortcake tea party set. These were wholesome, innocent childlike characters.

Completely unlike their new manifestations. That is to say, they took a Bratz doll and a Hannah Montana action figure, stuck it in a blender, and set it to "extra slutty".


Strawberry Shortcake

image via babyblogblog.com


This is more than a little disturbing.They took what was essentially some form of Precious Moments figurine and morphed it into a coquettish teen giving come-hither eyes while perched suggestively on a flower. I can understand the desire to update her look (though to be honest, she wasn't exactly a beacon of coolness upon her original inception) but this borders on ridiculous.

Rainbow Brite:

images via rainbowbrite.net

Geez, even her magical horse looks more suggestive. I can understand the color upgrade, but they've pretty much zapped all of the childlike wonder out of her. While she used to be an adorable round-faced donut-sleeved child, the relaunch has pegged her as a slender cheerleader-type with waist-emphasizing belt and rainbow bangles.


Just what sort of messsage are these redesigns aiming to send to children today? People are constantly remarking on how children grow up faster these days, but you have to wonder if marketers are expediating the process a bit. Toy companies have vetoed baby fat and childlike innocence and replaced it with bedroom eyes and a snappy outift.

It's probably no coincidence that Strawberry Shortcake (and Rainbow Brite, until rights were recently sold to Hasbro) is owned by a company called Playmates toys. If that's not suggestive, well, then I'm not sure what is.

33 comments:

Needs Help said...

NO!!!!! This is beyond terrible :(

I was all about both some strawberry shortcake and rainbow brite! Funny story, sweet mamma had to have a portrait painted of big bro, sweet sissy and of course her bestest baby (me)!! Being the squirmy 3 years I was at the time, I could not sit still without a toy... a comissioned portrait hangs above my parents mantle that has me sitting on the floor, with a blueberry strawberry shortcake doll in hand. Momma couldn't figure out for years what the blue thing was in my hand, haha!

Court said...

This is so upsetting! I like them the old way. They look ridonkulous now.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

That IS disturbing. No wonder little girls today are growing up more and more self-concious about body image. As if Barbie weren't enough!!

lovelila said...

I didn't even know abut Rainbow Brite! Aren't both of them SUPPOSED to be children?? Ugh! Disappointing.

teasinglydiverse said...

What is it about our society that refuses to allow children to be/act/think like children?!

Katie said...

I LOVED Rainbow Brite. I used to listen to the little books on tape...the ones the twinkled when it was time to turn the page.

P.S. They've sexified Dora the Explorer already too. It is very disturbing.

Awesome Sara said...

jesus, what the hell show is this!!!?!?!?! man, i wish i grew up inthe states you people have the best shows

...love Maegan said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....now they look like sluts. {ahahah} but really!

Katie said...

Way to go media, oversexualize the most non-sexual cartoon characters ever..

Cee said...

Oh my...Rainbow and Strawberry gone wild.

ashley-cita said...

Bastids.

Sadako said...

Creepy. I hate it. I knew about Strawberry Shortcake but not Rainbow Brite.

Anonymous said...

Um...I wouldn't exactly consider this much of a change nor would I really deem it very suggestive...

outpostroad said...

What have they done with my childhood?! I loved both Shortcake and Rainbow Brite. I still have the Strawberry Shortcake blanket I took everywhere with me when I was little.

The new Rainbow Brite looks like the slutty version I went as for Halloween a few years ago. Not cool!

Andhari said...

Exactly, they took what's missing from my childhood and just brutally metamorph it. :(
Kids are supposed to be plump!:(

The Novelista Barista said...

OMG what did they dooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tara said...

rainbow brite now looks like barbie, skinnier too. sucks

White Rabbit said...

BASTARDS!!!

Nic said...

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention! These were two of my favourite dolls from my childhood and it's not nice to see what they've become! Rainbow Brite looks the worst (ie the most slutty!) What is the world coming to when we're sending out the message to little kids that they should look like this?!

CTB said...

I love reading your blog and having all of these great memories of childhood! Thank you!

Shannon said...

Ugh! Those are hideous!! I did a post on this a while back, but about the littlest pet shop and polly pocket. It makes me so angry!

http://www.lovecommashannon.com/2009/03/memory-monday_15.html

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I literally gasped out loud...DISGUSTING. What's next, My Little Ponies with piercings and tattoos?

I hate that new marketing people can't come up with new stuff and try to tweak our 90's stuff. IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!

Optimistic Pessimist said...

WTF???? I am outraged. What is wrong with people?

Badass Geek said...

Wow. Someone's parents need to make themselves more available to their children and set a better example.

Moonjava said...

Oh NO! I loved the old versions and still do! They are suggestive aren't they? :P Bring back the good ole days!

Okie said...

That is very freaky. Many of the "dolls" out there for kids these days are getting far too slutty. It's a sad state of things when they even go back and pull out the wholesome dolls of the past and whore them out.

Sad, sad, sad

The New Black said...

I was surprised that my four year old neice said she wanted something Strawberry Shortcake for her birthday. I used to love Strawberry Shortcake when I was a little girl! All of those images flooded back, but sadly they didn't match the one my neice had. She is into the new Strawberry Shortcake. I tried to sell her on the old look, but she wouldn't have it. I was sad.

Rainbow Brite Uk said...

The styles have changed. Not only Rainbow and Strawberry, but My Little Pony, Holly Hobbie, and others. At least they look better then the 1997 releases: http://www.rainbowbrite.co.uk/products/1990dolls.htm

mollymouse said...

NOOOO!!! plus, did you see the new Dora?? sad. :'(

PS: I think you should do a post on the old Disney Channel Original Movies!! man, those were the days... no HSM or Camp Rock! just DCOMs and Lizzie McGuire in all her glory.

Just Playing Pretend said...

Rainbow Bright now looks like a tattoo on a pornstar. Creepy.

Laina said...

I used to love the old Strawberry Shortcake. I got a doll that looked just like the first picture when it was bigger than me. (And it was only about two feet)

Cory said...

I'm not really surprised by this; I'm actually surprised it took so long.

Anyways, my sister and I both liked Rainbow Brite because of her magic, rainbow-related powers. I remember envying said powers to the point where I didn't want to watch RB.

PackagedGore said...

How do you people even walk down the street if THIS is appallingly slutty to you? It looks normal.

Digg This!