New Barbie sends ugly message

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2002

The Bratz doll toy package trumpets proudly: Toy of the Year.

Chosen by whom? Penthouse?

One of the hottest toys of the holiday season comes dressed in a skirt that barely covers her bottom, knock-me-down-and-have-your-way-with-me boots, a face plastered with makeup, huge, luscious lips and a face that's all about attitude. Hence the name.

Perfect for the little girls of the world, who already take many of their fashion cues from singers like the belly-baring Britney and the increasingly skanky Christina.

And now, even Barbie has to play ''come hither'' to compete.

Barbie actually has come a long way in the past few decades. She's been given clout, 100 careers and even a more anatomically realistic body, with thicker waist and smaller chest.

But now, a sexier, ''hipper'' Barbie has hit the toy shelves, with skintight clothes, pouty lips, low-rise jeans and bared belly button.

And then there's Lingerie Barbie, peddled by FAO Schwartz for those 14 and older, in a heavenly merry widow bustier ensemble accented with intricate lace and matching peekaboo peignoir.

''The dolls are more reality-based,'' says a Mattel spokesperson. ''A girl can really relate to them.''

And that's the sad fact.

-- The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.

Dec. 8

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