Monday, October 22, 2012

Monster high - A doll is really just a doll.

I haven't blogged in a few months. But what a better way to post again, than with my two wonderful guests, my daughters Skylar and Summer, sharing in this post with me.

There was a time I was completely anti plastic toys, anti any toys made in China. Over time I realized that to prevent plastic or made in China toys would mean that my kids would be missing out on some really great toys that are out there.
Which brings us to the topic of this post.... Monster High Dolls.
For anyone who isn't familiar with these dolls you can read about them here.

My daughters are soon to be 11 and 9. I can't recall the first doll they got of Monster High. (They are telling me as I write, Dead Tired Frankie and Dawn of the Dance Clawdeen). I can tell you at this point in time they have about 30 or so of these dolls. And more coming for birthday and Christmas gifts.

It's been very interesting to read in my online research the reasons that some Mom's list as negatives of the dolls:

1. I don't like the way they dress.

2. I respect my children far to much to let them play with garbage like this.

3. Real life girls in public school can't dress like this in school.

4. They are ugly.

5. They are scary.

6. They look like a doll the devil would play with.

7.  That they look like girls who would smoke, drink and do drugs.

8. They suck the innocence away from our children.

9. They effect the girls body image views.

The common theme I see among those comments are that they are personal opinions of the Mom's reaction to the dolls. Mom doesn't like how they dress or what they look like. And because of the way they dress, they surely would be the type to drink, smoke and do drugs. Do these Moms not realize that there are tons of well dressed white collar drug addicts here in America? Far more people are doing drugs that look like they never would.
Some of these comments seem to really impress upon a child to judge a book by it's cover. That is exactly what I don't want my children to do.  I can't imagine how a simple doll would suck the innocence from a child. As I read comments like those I can't help but envision a Mom completely disconnected from her child. There must be a disconnection if a doll could come in and completely overtake a child in such a powerful manner. It's much easier to blame a doll for problems than to blame a lacking Mother/daughter relationship.

I thought it'd be fun to sit with my girls an interview them about the dolls:

Me: So what do you like about the Monster high dolls?
Skylar: They are not supposed to be perfect. They are supposed to be imperfect. They aren't all the same, like Barbies. 
Summer: They're pretty. They're different. Pretty because of being different. 

Me: What do you say to Mom's who don't like the way they look or dress? 
Skylar: To them it's supposed to be fashionable because it's "creepy cool". 

Me: When you say creepy cool, what does that mean?
Skylar: Their monsters, they use words like: Clawsome, Fangtastic, Voltageous, and creeparafic. And they take human things and add "monster" stuff in front of them. Like "mad" science, or "dead" languages, or home "ick". And they say fear book instead of year book. And fearleading instead of cheerleading. 

Me: Well what about their short clothing? 
Skylar: Their outfits aren't entirely short. The dolls have long hair which covers them and leggings under their outfits. They are small and skinny because they are teenage girl monsters. 

Me: Why do you prefer playing with them over something like Barbie?
Skylar: I think Barbie is plain and has to be perfect. All the same, same facial expressions, same hair, even if they have different colored skin, still all the same. 
Monster high are all unique, and have abnormal colors of skin and hair. 

Me: What are some of the positive character qualities of the dolls?
Skylar: From the webisodes, Most of them are always nice. They help each other. They stand up to bullies. They care if their hair and make up is messed up, but that's how most people feel, they don't want their hair or make up messed up when they go out somewhere. 

Me: Do the dolls make you think more about the outside appearance being more important than what's on the inside of you? 
Skylar: They absolutely don't. 

Me: Do you think the way they look is realistic, as far as how humans look?
Skylar: Even a two year old knows that's not how people look. 

Me: Do they ever drink, do drugs, or smoke in the webisodes?
Skylar: There is absolutely nothing like that. The only thing they drink is things they get in the cafeteria, water and "monster drinks."

Me: Do you believe monsters are real?
Skylar: No, and they don't act like "monsters". 

Me: When you say act like Monsters, what do you mean?
Skylar: Like in the movies, where Monsters kill and stuff, they don't do any of that. I mean Draculaura is a vegan vampire. 

Me: What do you say to people who say "they look like a doll the devil would play with?"
Skylar: It's just an excuse to not let your children have these dolls. 

Me: When I read you the reasons that Moms don't like these dolls, what do you think?
Skylar: I think you can ask your children if they like them. It should be up to them. It shouldn't be if you like them or not.

Me: Do you find them scary?
Skylar: No, it's supposed to make children not be scared of Monsters.

Me: How would you feel if I said you couldn't have them because they were against the bible?
Skylar: We'd be sad. We brought them to church and Vince (our Pastor) didn't say anything bad about them. He even said he likes Draculaura's hair. 

Me: Have you ever read anything in the bible that makes you think God would frown on you playing with them?
Skylar: No, not at all.  They are just dolls, toys of plastic. 

Me: Do you think grown ups who say the dolls are against the bible use that as an excuse?
Skylar: Yes. 

Me: What about the way they dress, not being in line with the bible?
Skylar: They are dolls. It's not like they are dressing like strippers. They do cover themselves. Even on the beach they have cover ups. 

Me: Why do you think Mattel chooses to dress them the way they do?
Skylar: Because it makes them look different from Barbie. 

Me: Is it fun to play with a doll who dresses a way you wouldn't?
Skylar: Exactly
Summer: Exactly

Me: Do the dolls make you want to wear make up?
Skylar: Um I think every little girls wants to wear make up anyway. 
Summer: I liked make up before these dolls. I'd like to be a make up artist. 

Me: Do you, Skylar, want to wear make up?
Skylar: I don't, I just don't like the way it feels on my skin, it feels weird. But honestly wanting to wear make up is just the nature of a girl. 

Me: Did you know that historically Moms have had a problem with Barbie as well?
Skylar: If you have a problem with Barbie. You have problems yourself. Why say no? Is it because they are jealous that they can't look like a Barbie, "so perfect"? 

Me: That's what they say, that Barbie looks "perfect" and women can't or don't look that way.
Skylar: Why can't your daughter pretend for once in her life, by using a perfect doll. 

Me: Do you think kids play with either Monster High or Barbie and think. I hope I look like that when I grow up?
Skylar:  Even if they do, they will get to a place where they realize that they can't look like that. They are just dolls. The whole purpose of the doll is that your imagination can run wild. You can be someone else. And anything can happen in their world that can't really happen in yours. 

Me: So it's fictional play?
Skylar: Yes

Me: So some Moms have a problem with the fact that they have boyfriends. What can you share about that?
Summer: It's not really their "boyfriend" it's a boy who is a friend. They kiss on the cheek, and they hug sometimes. It's just a best friend that's a boy. 

Me: Do you think it shows that boys and girls can be good friends?
Skylar: Yes
Summer: Yes

Me: So when these dolls date, what is that exactly on the show?
Skylar: They hang out, go to dances, go to parties, and are friends. 

Me: What happens at these parties?
Skylar: They dance and talk. 

Me: What about the Mom who says she respects her children to much to let her kids play with garbage like this?
Skylar: You should let your children decide....that would be true respect. 

Me: Remember when I told you how there was a Mom who said that she didn't like that Ghoulia, the "smart" girl, couldn't walk or talk and had glasses? What do you feel about that? 
Skylar: Actually in her profile, she likes her glasses. She walks slow and holds herself different because she's a zombie. It's harder for her to make facial expressions because she is a zombie. And she talks a zombie language not English. Her mind works faster than her body. Her mind isn't like a zombie mind. 

Me: with Ghoulia, she's like not what she appears then? Because inside she's super smart and her brain works super fast, despite being a zombie who most people would think of as slow and maybe even "stupid"?
Skylar: Yes

Me: What about Moms who say the girls are mean to one another on the show?
Skylar: None of them are mean. Cleo is a little bossy, because she's used to getting her way as a princess. Nerfera kinda likes to compete with her sister. And Toralei just likes to play pranks. She's a cat, that's one of her traits. 
Summer: When Toralei was a kitten, she was abandoned and no one taught her right from wrong, no one took care of her. She had to steal what she needed to live. 

Me: I guess you could say that with Toralei they show you the value of having a loving family huh?
Skylar: Uh-huh. 

Me: Has Toraliei changed since coming to the school?
Skylar: Yes, she doesn't steal anymore. 

Me: What other things have sparked your interest based off the dolls?
Skylar and Summer: Classic horror movies, music, dancing, choreography, reading, writing, drawing, making paper dolls, pretend play. 

Me: Thank you girls for taking the time to answer these questions. 
Skylar and Summer: No problem, anytime. :-)