Sunday, February 6, 2011

Re-styling Strawberry Shortcake

What the hell happened to Strawberry Shortcake? It wasn't enough for Dora the Explorer to hit puberty in 2009 and ditch the backpack and sneakers for earrings and mane of glossy hair, the toymakers have now decided to glam up Strawberry Shortcake too.

She's now longer and leaner, wearing tighter clothes and has plumper, pinker lips. Her hair, just like Dora's, is a long shiny mane, only for some bizarre reason completely unrelated to strawberries (which are RED), Shortcake's is HOT PINK. Freckles are out. Eyelashes are in. And in slyly re-launching an old favorite as shinier, skinnier, more glamorous, and more girly, young girls inevitably absorb all of these messages regarding appearance and desirability.

What kind of market research goes into these decisions I wonder? Does anyone actually ask 5 year old girls what changes they would like to see? I'm pretty sure that a research panel of 1st graders didn't give them the idea to trade Shortcake's cute kitten companion in for a text-ready cell-phone.

The marketing corporations have a lot to answer for.


  1. How sad! WHy did Strawberry Shortcake go from being a cute little kid to being a teenager who spends all her free time in front of a mirror? It's a sad commentary on our society. And...what makes it worse is we generally do not find this type of image directed towards boys/men. Most of the TV guys are the "guy next door", not necessarily dressed all that great, carrying a few extra pounds.

  2. That isn't actually true. There is a lot of pressure on boys/men as well. I've tried to argue in the same manner as you in the past but my husband - who has been thin and not muscular all his life begs to differ. There are ideals for both genders. Think of super heroes who look like body builders and who certainly are not balding - what are we telling little boys? What is sad is that we live in a selfish, materialistic and over-sexualized society that equates physical appearance with success for both genders. Placing all our self-worth on appearance is damaging to both boys and girls, men and women.