Worst Toy of the Year Wears a Cowboys Logo
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood just announced its inaugural Worst Toy of the Year award, which is acronymed as TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children). As you might expect, the most oppressive and destructive toy out there prominently features the a certain odious star. Step right up, Mattel's Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll!!!!!
"The toys we give children reflect our values," said CCFC's Director Dr. Susan Linn, according to the press release, kindly forwarded to me by my wife. "And no one who cares about children's well-being could possibly give an innocent and impressionable youngster a present featuring the mark of the devil."
Haha, just joking, earnest protectors of childhood!! What she actually said was that no one who cares about children could possibly "produce a toy like the Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader doll. It embodies a host of harmful expectations about what girls are supposed to be like."
Publicly rooting for the Cowboys? Heck yeah that embodies a host of harmful expectations.
Although, to be serious, I'm not sure the Cowboys' cheerleaders promote more harmful expectations for young girls than any other professional cheerleading outfit, which inhibits my attempt to turn this into an anti-Dallas screed.
Rated by Mattel as appropriate for children age six and up, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll comes with the shortest of short shorts, stiletto boots, and a revealing halter top. The preposterously skimpy outfit allows children to get a better view of Barbie's impossibly long legs and dangerously thin body.
Frankly, this might be the first time in the history of sports blogs that "preposterously skimpy outfit" and "impossibly long legs" are being used as slurs.
"When you combine two classic symbols of gendered stereotypes - the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and Barbie - you get one terrible toy," said CCFC Steering Committee member Joe Kelly, of www.dadsanddaughters.com. "Do we really want to teach our young daughters that they belong on the sidelines, not in the game, and the way to get noticed is to show a lot of skin?"
I'm still waiting for one of the experts to ask whether we really want our children to identify with the organization that has given the world the continuing sagas of Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, Jerry Jones, Bill Parcells, and Pac-Man. Waiting in vain, as it turns out.
"The Bratz dolls get a lot of well-deserved negative attention," said CCFC's co-founder Dr. Diane Levin, co-author of So Sexy, So Soon. "But it's important to recognize that Mattel is also all-too-happy to contribute to the sexualization of young children. The Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll teaches girls to focus on their appearance, to aspire to an eating-disordered body, and to play at being sexy before they're even capable of understanding what sexy means."
One of the other finalists was the Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade by Fisher-Price. I imagine if you piled a gaggle of Dallas Cowboys Barbie Cheerleaders into the back seat of a Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade, threw in an old Michael Irvin action figure and sprinkled the whole thing with powdered sugar, you could cause several non-profit heads to simultaneously explode. But anyhow, congrats, Cowboys, on ruining the souls of young children.
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