Thursday, 5 February 2015

Brattitude

I was one of many, many girls around the world that LOVED collecting Barbies when I was younger. They were so pretty, had great outfits and you were only limited by your imagination when it came to play time.

As is always the case, they spawned a variety of other dolls which now smother the walls of nearly every toy section. Each new variety of dolls would possess the same, or similar attributes, but their 'theme' would always differ slightly, obviously because they'd be breaching copyright otherwise and it'd just get boring.

I always enjoyed watching the movies that were Barbie-related as well, but eventually stop playing with them after I hit high school and dad setup a computer for me to do the increasing number of assignments I was getting.

After that, I mentally mocked every time I knew Barbie came out. I realized how commercialized it all was and that the dolls weren't really teaching girls anything helpful. Sort of like the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa gets the Malibu Stacy doll and she says messages about making boys like them.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt like Barbies were the miniature plastic version of the bitchy high school girls from all the American TV shows and movies I'd ever seen. It was all about looking pretty and buying friends, as was similarly the case when I played Barbies with some of my friends.

At between $20-50 per doll, plus accessories, the costs quickly add up. When you grow up in a household where money doesn't exactly flow freely, it becomes an expensive pastime.

When the Bratz dolls came out, they piqued my interest for a moment, then I lumped them into the 'trying to win a girls' affection' box and proceeded to ignore them.

When the movie came out, I found myself a little more interested, more so because the premise was different to any other Barbie movie I'd ever seen. Bratz dolls have character and personality. They're not just there to look pretty and suit a particular theme. That was a refreshing change.

I went to see the movie with a friend of mine who was as intrigued by the storyline as I was. Admittedly the music was a strong calling card for me too.

I love not just that the girls/dolls have a relateable back story, but at their very hearts, they're about friendship and encouraging each other's passions no matter how different they are.

Cloe loves soccer and comes from a single parent family, Yazmin loves music and has a hispanic background (if I paid attention to the movie correctly), Jade loves Science as much as she loves creating her own fashionista style although she hides it from her conservative parents, and Sasha loves cheerleading and is an only child from divorced parents.

In the movie they are torn apart by their differing interests despite their insistence to remain best friends and it does affect their friendship until they end up in detention and realize how much they missed each other.

I'm not the biggest fan of the dolls, or really any Barbie-type dolls anymore. Not just because I'm in my mid-20's (not that age should ever truly define playtime), but because of how fake they all seem. Sure dolls aren't really meant to be realistic, but when they have such back stories that are relateable, you don't want to look at a doll with an overdone face and disproportionate features and use that as a measuring tool for who you are.

While the term 'brat' usually has a negative connotation, I think in this case it could be the most positive and encouraging one, especially for the target audience for the dolls. It encourages girls to enjoy being girls first and foremost, but also to celebrate their uniqueness and not let anyone else define who or what they are.

I also really loved the soundtrack for the movie. A lot of the songs were fun and upbeat as you'd expect, but they were also about taking a chance and following your dreams which I think is one of the most important things a young and impressionable girl can learn.

One of the best things about the Bratz dolls series is the 'Rock Angelz' album that was released a few years into their creation. There's cute 'I have a crush on this guy' kinda songs, but there's also a lot of strong and empowering songs about making your own luck and doing your own thing. 'Nobody's Girl' is one such song which basically says 'I'm with you because I like you, you don't own me and you can't stop me from doing the things I want to do'.

I think so many girls in the world could really benefit from having a little Brattitude!

"I'm going places, I've got ambitions, thank-you but I don't need your permission!"

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