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COLUMNIST: Barbie should outlive Bratz

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opinion Perham, 56573

Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

Now that that Christmas is over and the presents my daughters just "had to have" are either broken or collecting dust, I look around proud that I held my ground and kept one toy out of my home. Bratz dolls. I really hate 'em.

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Have you ever seen these things? It's hard to believe these tarty-looking dolls are being sold to girls younger than age 12. From the looks of them, I think they should be sold at the local dirty bookstore.

Their huge lined eyes seem to mock authority while tempting the boys to go behind the bleachers with them. And don't get me started on that wardrobe. Think Lindsay Lohan 9 inches tall. Short skirts, stockings with garters and tight T-shirts. I even saw one dressed like a French maid. Are you kidding me? These are toys? For kids?

Both my daughters wonder why they can't get Bratz dolls. I don't mean to be a fuddy duddy. I'm a pretty lenient mom. I let them eat fast food and watch TV more than I probably should. But these dolls really bug me. I don't think they're good role models for girls. But how do you explain it to the kids? I've tried to be honest with the girls, but I'm not sure they understood the word "hypersexualization."

I understand the irony of all of this when I look in my basement and see my Barbie collection. I can't help it. I still love Barbie.

I haven't been able to part with many of the Barbies I grew up with and have even picked up a collectible Barbie or two in my adulthood. I know what people say, if Barbie's unreal proportions were assigned to a real woman she'd tip over from the imbalance. But still Barbie didn't seem to flaunt her body or bad attitude like these Bratz girls.

Don't get me wrong. She knew how to have a good time. I remember packing Barbie, Ken, Francie and Skipper into that far-out bright yellow camper and sending them into the "woods" of my bedroom closet.

The only place I picture sending the Bratz girls is a strip joint on the wrong side of town.

And Barbie knew how to live. Remember her dream house, townhouse and high-rise apartment? She even had a great swimming pool with an orange plastic slide. Did you know the Bratz Mansion features a bar and a lighted dance floor? Seriously, I'm not making that up.

Maybe I'm being harsh. But girls face a lot of challenges. Hillary Clinton might have put 18,000 cracks in that glass ceiling, but still no woman has been elected president. Barbie runs and wins nearly every four years.

Before we had Sally Ride we had Barbie the Astronaut. Girls' imaginations can run wild with Barbie. We had a way of living out our dreams by grabbing Barbie and walking her through her day. Maybe she'll be a career woman or a stay-at-home mom. Maybe she'll go dancing with Ken, or maybe she'll join the Army with G.I. Joe.

But with Bratz dolls the script has been written. Can you really picture Yasmin the Bratz doll being a veterinarian or a surgeon? When is the last time you saw your doctor in stiletto heels pouting her way through an exam? I think our girls deserve better.

Earlier this month, I was glad to hear a federal judge order the company that makes Bratz to cease production and sales of the dolls because he determined that the Bratz creator was actually a Mattel employee at the time he came up with the idea. That means Mattel, Barbie's parent company, actually owns the rights to Bratz.

Who knew? I guess Barbie is a lawyer, too. Can't you just see her marching out of court carrying her hot pink briefcase?

So far Mattel hasn't said whether it intends to sell the dolls themselves or let their saucy little rival die a quiet doll death. For the sake of our daughters, let's hope it's the latter.

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Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and a personality for WDAY AM 970

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