Yes, I Also Do Politics
She Must Have Robbed Cherry Merry Muffin to Get That Much Cash

Signs of the Toypocalypse

Today's NYT included a very interesting (at least, it was interesting to my little born-in-'80s brain) article called "Beloved Characters as Reimagined for the 21st Century."  The best possible summary of it I can give is: LOOK WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE.


One of my favorite characters from childhood has been Bratzed.  According to the article, this is because "an unusually large number of classic characters for children are being freshened up and reintroduced as their corporate owners try to cater to parents' nostalgia and children's YouTube-era sensibilities."  Well thanks, but consider my nostalgia officially NOT catered to on this one.  I have no daughters, but I hardly feel like I could bond with one over her hussified version of my innocent childhood doll; in fact, the contrast between the two actually detracts from any sense of connectedness because it makes it so starkly apparent how much the concept of girlhood has changed and warped in the past couple decades.

Am I alone in my outrage here?  Part of me feels dangerously close to those nerds who come out of the woodwork every time a Star Wars re-make or a movie based on some geeky book comes out so they can rant, rant, rant about the injustices done to the original work.  Plus, it's not like all the dolls I had in the '80s and '90s were completely de-sexed and inoffensive (Barbie, anyone?).  I can't really make the argument that dolls have only just recently begun to reflect unrealistic body types and anti-feminist attributes, but I am disturbed nonetheless by the notion--whether true or untrue--that Strawberry Shortcake could not appeal to today's kids without a complete overhaul of her face, hair, and clothes. 

I guess my problem isn't so much that they are doing this to dolls in general, but that they are doing it to my dolls. Obviously it's an affront to my nostalgic sensibilities, but it also implies certain things I don't agree with.  Like, why does Strawberry Shortcake need to be more "today?"  It's not like we were all wearing bloomers and pinafores a la Strawberry in the '80s--her getup was outdated then, too.  Because she was a doll, with a whimsical back story and a gang of fruity friends who lived in a place called Strawberryland and required a little imagination to appreciate.

I'm hoping this trend just goes away, but it looks like it will claim at least one more of my favorite character lines before all is said and done--from the article: "American Greetings is dusting off another of its lines, the Care Bears, which will return with a fresh look this fall (less belly fat, longer eyelashes)."


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

the mayor

I feel like, in a weird way, the newer version is designed to look more realistic and less like a rag doll (which is a WAY outdated toy). I wonder what happened to Straw's cat. Did she get too sexy for her cat and euthanize it??
Also, as for your righteous indignation... I think it stems, in part, from a fear that you're getting old: if kids today can't enjoy your toys it may be more due to your distance in age from them than a new and overly sexified version of childhood. And yes, I'm projecting onto you.


Not that I like Star Wars that much but I was horrified when I watched the third one of the original batch on TV and saw Hayden Christiansen looking over Luke at the end. WTF??? Are you actually CHANGING one of the most influential movies ever?

I hate that our memories of childhood are being adapted to make people more money.


I seen this on a gossip site yesterday and FREAKED out. RIP Strawberry Shortcake, you will never be the same :(

Jordan 6

Maybe you got annoyed at hearing a popular female doll say that to little girls.

The comments to this entry are closed.