Deborah Roffman is under the impression that the Lingerie Barbie dolls are geared for children ["Way Too Much Fantasy With That Dream House," Outlook, Dec. 22]. They're not.
These dolls, some of which come with a steep price tag, are meant for the collector crowd, which Mattel, for some reason, identifies as being 14 and older. I belong to this group, and I am 33.
The collectible Silkstone Line, which started three years ago and includes the Lingerie Barbies, was created to hark back to the doll's early days.
When first launched, Barbie was supposed to be a teen fashion model with haute couture clothes. Hence the Silkstone line, whose dolls look like the older Barbies and have clothes that retail for $35 on up. The dolls also come in lingerie because they are meant to be redressed in the fashions. The dolls are available in certain doll shops, from doll dealers and in higher-end toy stores such as FAO Schwarz. You won't see a commercial about them on TV. In fact, the first two lingerie dolls, which retailed for $35 to $40, are now valued by some collectors at more than $100. They were that limited.
Mattel isn't the only company selling these kinds of dolls. Check out Integrity's Candi doll, Tonner's Tyler doll, Ashton Drake's Gene doll, etc.
On another note, the writer should also look at the Bratz dolls. They were on toy shelves before the My Scene Barbies and, yes, they wear what the teens today are wearing -- low jeans, skimpy tops and short skirts.
It's simplistic to say that a doll is sexualizing children. Why not also blame those singers who look and dress like whores? Why not blame the clothing designers? Music videos? Television programs? Magazines? Models? Newspaper ads?
-- Ruby Gonzales
While I am in complete sympathy with the sensibilities expressed by both Deborah Roffman and the children she quotes in her article, I have to shake my head as if in a dream. What planet has this woman been vacationing on for the past 40 years?
Roffman concludes: "Ultimately, we'll need to create a society where our children's first and most important reference points about sexuality are families and schools, not their peers, the media or the Mattel company."
Has she not heard the frustrated screams of conservatives like me and millions of others who have been decrying the slow erosion of the moral climate in this country since the 1960s? Is it only now, when the mud has been poured on some icon she notices, that she feels it's time to do something? Well, I have news for Roffman. It's too late. We have allowed our country's culture to so erode that its very foundations are in ruin. They can no longer hold up under the weight of what has been called "social progressiveness." Barbie dolls a problem? Gee, wait till Roffman gets wind of sex education in schools, condoms for kiddies, no-fault abortion, oral sex among 8-year-olds.
Children are not allowed to pray, mention Christmas or salute the flag. Compared with what goes on in the real world, a Bimbo Barbie is like "Happy Days."
-- Andy Romano
While I agree that far too much inappropriate material is marketed toward young girls, the Lingerie Barbies are definitely not. They are for collectors like myself, who are in their forties or fifties and enjoy the nostalgia. Look at the faces of the two dolls you printed in your paper: Lingerie Barbie No. 4 and Lingerie Barbie No. 5 are reproductions of late '50s and early '60s Barbies. No little girl of today's generation would want a Barbie with that old-fashioned face. Another point: The earrings are stuck in the dolls' heads with straight pins. Any responsible adult would never buy these dolls for a child. The article even stated that the company spokesman said these are not marketed to kids.
I received a reproduction of a 1959 "Suburban Shopper" Barbie this year for Christmas and love to relive my past by adding it to my shelf of other dolls. Please save your indignant wrath for something worth being indignant about, such as the skimpy, trashy clothes that trendy stores are marketing to little girls these days.
-- Kristine Rowe