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Not Really My Scene

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I’ve been out-of-touch with the doll business for quite awhile. As a child I loved playing with Barbies and my older sisters’ porcelain dolls, though my best friend and I had always dreamed of getting American Girl dolls. Since my childhood long, long ago I knew that the new Bratz collection had been introduced, but I hadn’t ever heard of the “My Scene? dolls, so I decided to check out the website.

My Scene dolls are a Mattel brand, introduced in 2002 to compete with the Bratz collection, which was gaining much of the market share that Barbie used to own. As Bratz did, My Scene looks to move away from the “traditional? and conservative nature of Barbies, and focus on the “contemporary? and “hip? modern girl.

Upon my visit to the My Scene website, I wasn’t too surprised by the layout and color choices used on the home page. The target market for these dolls is certainly girls, probably ages five to eleven. The home page was adorned with pink and sparkly animations. Because the page doesn’t allow one to purchase the dolls directly from Mattel, I also visited the Toys “R? Us website. Toys “R? Us actually allows visitors to narrow their searches by category (dolls), brand (My Scene/Mattel), age (five to eleven years), and even gender (girls).

The gendering of these dolls is very apparent. All of the girl dolls have long, voluminous hair. Eyeshadow is caked above the girls’ eyes, along with eyeliner. Their lips are full and painted, and their eyelashes are long and very apparent. The chest on each of the dolls is very pronounced, and long with the curvy legs and hips. There is no ambiguity in the gender of the doll by the way they are dressed, either. All of the clothes one can purchase for the girls are typically things that women would wear; tank tops, skirts, halter tops, dresses, and capris. In searching the website I only found one pair of long pants, which came in a “yoga wear? set. They were white with pink stripes and came with a matching halter top with the same patterns. Many of the accessories that can be purchased for the My Scene girls are mostly associated with girls: fashion magazines, purses, “bling rings.? In other words, there is no ambiguity as to what the sex of these dolls are.

I also considered how sexualities were portrayed through the dolls. I concluded that the makers intended for the dolls to be “straight,? based on how society portrays sexuality, i.e. lesbians are supposed to have short hair, wear “manly? clothing, baggy pants and no makeup.

Race was another issue with the dolls. Though some of the My Scene dolls appeared to be of a different race (African-American and maybe Asian) other than white, all of the girl dolls had the same body type. I actually thought of Gimlin’s cosmetic surgery article here, where she talks about “Ango-Saxon ideals of beauty.? Did the creators choose to make all body types the same because of these ideals, or was it merely to save money on the manufacturing of the dolls?

I wasn’t completely surprised at what I found when looking at the dolls on the website because I’d seen Bratz dolls before. I don’t approve of the scantily-clad nature of the dolls, especially when they are targeted towards girls from ages five to eleven. Furthermore, upon analyzing the My Scene dolls further, I realize that the gendering of these dolls will continue to make girls, even at a young age, feel the need to “do gender,? to dress in certain clothing, wear their hair a certain way, and so on, to appease society and its need for homogeneity.

Here’s the My Scene home page:

http://myscene.everythinggirl.com/home.aspx