Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010

Bratz Dolls

For more than 40 years, Barbie ruled as the queen of tween fashion dolls — until the Bratz came along in 2001 and curb-stomped her back into the 1950s. Fans applauded the four original dolls — Yasmin, Sasha, Jade and Cloe — as the funky, edgy, multiracial alternative to Barbie's wholesome blandness. Parents, meanwhile, deplored them as far too adult (read: slutty) for kids, accusing the doe-eyed, pouty-lipped toys of fostering unhealthy body images among young girls. The Bratz dolls wore provocative clothing and came with fabulous accessories like hot tubs and limousines; California-based MGA Entertainment, the company behind the dolls, earned more than $1 billion from them in just a few years. In 2006 Bratz became the best-selling fashion-doll line in the U.S., displacing Barbie for the first time. The blonde may have had the last laugh, however: Mattel sued MGA Entertainment, alleging that the Bratz dolls had been designed by a Mattel engineer working on company time who then left to start his own company. In 2008 a judge agreed, awarding Barbie's manufacturers $100 million and ordering MGA Entertainment to cease all production and sale of the Bratz dolls. The judgment was suspended until the end of 2009 to allow MGA to appeal.