James Lileks, father of a 4-year-old girl, posts on Bratz dolls (hat tip: Rod Dreher)  — for those of you out on Uranus, Bratz dolls are those big-headed little ho’z with detachable feet whose clothes, makeup, and hairstyles make Barbie look like an Amish housewife on cleaning day (and in fact Bratz are now way outselling Barbies). Click here for the basic everyday Bratz babes, here for Bratz babez tarted up (literally!) for Halloween (not too different from the basic everyday Bratz babes, right?) , and here for Bratz  babez dolled up for pantyless partying with Britney ‘n’ Paris. Mind you, this is a line of toys marketed to young ladies in elementary school. Says Lileks:


“Bratz are the main reason I do not keep a supply of bricks around the house, because everytime the commercials come on I wish to pitch something kiln-fired through the screen so hard it beans the toy exec who greenlighted these hootchie toys.”


What particularly galls Lileks is the line of Baby Bratz: toddler dolls gotten up in bikini undies, bare-midriff T-shirts, painted fingernails and toenails, and, of course, makeup galore. Lileks figures the Babyz must be offspring of the “Baby Mommaz” among the older Bratz:


“I know I am old and so out of step it’s a wonder I don’t just appear as an indistinct smear, but was it really necessary to push the Age of Sultry Hussyism down to the infant stage?”


Rod has quotes from an article on the Bratz phenomenon by New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot (sorry, it’s not online) that should make the blood of any decent-minded mommaz who believe in protecting their daughters run cold:


“What Bratz dolls are both contributing to and feeding on is a culture in which girls play at being ‘sassy’ — the toy industry’s favored euphemism for sexy — and discard traditional toys at a younger age. (Girls seem to be growing out of toys earlier than boys are, industry analysts say.) Toy marketers now invoke a phenomenon called K.G.O.Y. — Kids Getting Older Younger — and talk about it as though it were a fact of modern life over which they have no control, rather than one which they have largely created….


“In 2002, Matttel introduces a new line of dolls: My Scene Barbie, which kept Barbie’s basic dimensions but had bigger eyes, plumper, shinier lips, and and hotter clothes. A recent incranation of the line is the unsubtly named My Bling Bling Barbie. (The Barbie Web site says of one of these dolls, ‘Chelsea burns up the Bling Bling scene, in an ultra hot halter top and sassy skirt sooo scorchin’.’) When not ‘getting their groove on,’ the Bling Bling girls are ‘mall maniacs.’ An animated video on the Barbie Web site depicts them struggling to lay off shopping for a day. They manage only a brief visit to the park — where the puppies they coo over turn into high-heeled boots, the fountain spouts jewelry, and the clouds above them spell out ‘SALE’ — before they give in and head to the mall.”


And lest you think Bratz hasn’t caught on to this ethos, it markets a line of child-size clothes for li’l ho’z: so that doll-owners can look just like their dolls (check this boa, these shoes — and would you let your little girl traipse around the mall in T-shirts sporting these logos?)


Is anyone out there as sick as I am of the “third-wave-feminist” idea of “empowering” yourself — or your young daughter — by outfiting yourself or her like a prostitute? Or of the idea that parents are obliged to buy their children prostitute dolls just because everyone else’s children supposedly have them? What happened to the old mom-retort: “Well, what if everyone else wanted to jump off a cliff?”