Monster High: Or, We’re Different When We’re All The Same

Image from Wikipedia

When I was little, it’s fair to say I had something of a taste for the macabre. I loved the Horrible Histories series and tales of bloody Aztec sacrifices, Jack the Ripper and Egyptian mummification. If I was that age now, I’d probably like Monster High too- a children’s comic-style magazine where its characters are monster-girl hybrids living it up in an Americanized high school. With names like ‘Clawdia Wolf’ and ‘Elissabat’ its clear to see who these ‘girls’ are modelled on- werewolves, vampires, Frankenstein’s Monster, even cats. Ostensibly, this gives their artists, creators and marketers some kind of imaginative freedom in how they are portrayed- like in X-men, their ‘mutant’ status could mark them out as daring, creative and- most importantly- unique, in a world of cookie-cutter Barbie dolls, plastic pink toys and the same rote figureheads that little girls are forced to aspire to: inane ballerina figures in their music boxes, rosy-cheeked princesses, angels. The attendees of ‘Monster High’ could be rebellious, outspoken- even fun, with differing personalities and body sizes. Instead, on flicking through last month’s issue in a newsagents’ (what can I say, I was curious,) I saw nothing but skinny girls with ridiculously large breasts, hips and pouty lips- apparently inspired by those hideous Bratz dolls of the early Noughties: 

Bratz dolls come dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas. Although these dolls may present no more sexualization of girls or women than is seen in MTV videos, it is worrisome when dolls designed specifically for 4- to 8-year-olds are associated with an objectified adult sexuality.

— APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (Quote from Wikipedia here)

 

Their features are all the same. The allusions to horror and Gothic style may make them seem different from other cartoon characters, but in my opinion, they’re worse because they’re sexualizing youngsters. In the issue, the girls even date boys, yet the magazine is aimed at girls that are 7+, and costumes of the characters’ outfits are sold for dressing-up in- with short skirts and clingy blouses. Is this all that young girls can look towards for difference and fun? Or is it back to Barbie and Sindy and more plastic perfection? It  seems like, in Monster High, you can only be different if you’re all the same.

 

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