Even if your child isn’t already carrying them around everywhere, we’re sure you’ve seen them on the shelves. Designed for girls ages 6 to 12, the super skinny, white-faced young ladies with severe makeup and edgy black clothing are all related to famous monsters. They also all come fully merchandised with their own books and Webisodes of their doings at Monster High. Since their launch three years ago, the brand has become worth a billion dollars.
The Monster High franchise is manufactured by Mattel, which also sells Barbie. Since the introduction of the “ghoulfriends,” the world’s biggest toy retailer has had one of the hugest retail hits of the past several years. Competitors are clamoring to copy their success, launching dolls like zombie Little Mermaid and (say it ain’t so) zombie Snow White.
So what has made them so popular with kids? Mattel says it’s all about celebrating being different. The head of marketing for Mattel’s girl’s brands, Cathy Cline, explains the dolls’ success this way to NPR: "The message about the brand is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic."
Some bloggers like Jezebel’s Callie Beusman have pointed out the obvious, or may we call them “freaky,” flaws in Mattel’s claims that the dolls celebrate being different — after all, despite the dark makeup and fangs, these dolls still have teeny tiny waists, doe eyes, and chiseled features just like Barbie does.
But are they a step in the right direction? We think so.
Meanwhile, despite new ideas to make her seem more relevant to today’s girls, such as an architect model, sales of the real Barbie have been dropping. Why do we think zombie Barbie isn’t that far behind?
We’re curious: What do you think about the Monster High dolls, moms? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!