Published March 16, 2011
If you thought Barbie, with her disproportionately big breasts and tiny waist, sent a bad message to young girls, wait until you meet of Mattel’s new Monster High doll.
Clawdeen Wolf comes complete with a thigh-skimming skirt, sky high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days “waxing, plucking and shaving.”
“My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that’s just what grows on my legs. Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous,” reads the character description of the teen werewolf doll, who also lists her favorite hobby as “flirting with boys.”
But the most frightful thing about Clawdeen, experts say, is the shocking impact she could have on girls aged 6 and up -- the very demographic Mattel is targeting.
“These dolls are training girls to feel ashamed of their bodies, to focus on being sexually appealing and sexually attractive from a pre-pubescent age," human behavior and body image expert Patrick Wanis PhD www.patrickwanis.com told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. "By sexualizing these young girls, corporations also create another avenue to market and sell more products to a younger demographic. These dolls also promote skimpiness of clothing, encouraging a young girl to dress like a stripper and believe that they must be sexually enticing to everyone around them.”
Clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D. is also outraged by the message she feels the toy conveys.
“Young girls especially do not need a doll to point out physical flaws or encourage body image preoccupation in teens and young girls. Dolls are for play and escape and pleasure, and they should not be another source of criticism for young girls these days,” Shepphird said. “It used to be that dolls were part of childhood and represented and offered an extension of innocence, but now some dolls are encouraging the opposite of innocence.”
But the criticism aimied at Mattel's plastic plaything isn’t stopping people from purchasing it.
“The ‘Monster High’ doll is the most popular fashion doll we have today,” Bob Friedland, Senior Public Relations Manager at Toys R’ Us, told Pop Tarts. “We haven’t had any complaints from parents, customers who are buying this doll are very happy with the product and we cannot keep the dolls on the shelves.”
Mattel claims the dolls positively promote the acceptance of all individuals.
“Monster High was the number one best selling new fashion doll of 2010 according to NPD and is resonating with teen and tween girls,” a spokesperson from the company told Pop Tarts in an official statement. “Grounded in a clever and humorous storytelling, Monster High characters deliver a positive message of celebrating ones imperfections and embracing those of others.”
Body image expert and author of “Love Your Body, Love Your Life,” Sarah Maria, disagrees.
“Mattel is essentially promoting and encouraging the belief in young girls that they need to sculpt, tweeze, wax, and otherwise change their bodies in order to be considered attractive to men,” she said. “Please, drop the hypocrisy. A Mattel spokesperson has the audacity to claim the Monster High dolls are celebrating imperfections and accepting imperfections in others. Excuse me? If these dolls are about self-acceptance and acceptance of others, how about leaving some hair on the body?”