Like most regular parents, I don’t consider a cheerleader to be the most appropriate role model for my child. In fact, my wife refuses to let anyone buy a USC Song Girl outfit for our 18-month-old daughter, and has made it clear that she will disown anyone who does. So our daughter has a USC football jersey instead.
(Can you spot the plastic doll from the real cheerleader?)
But according to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Song Girl outfit is not the most sexually objectifying gift you can get for your toddler this year. They have “honored” the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Barbie with one of the five nominations for their TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award, and you can vote for the winner!
Usually, when I think of “Barbie” and “Dallas Cowboys” I think of Jessica Simpson, but this is an actual doll (although with roughly the same amount of plastic as Tony Romo’s dish). And according to the CCFC, the doll is just about as empowering to little girls as the on-screen Daisy Duke:
What do you get when you combine two classic symbols of gendered stereotypes, Barbie and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders? A 2008 TOADY nominee demonstrating that Mattel won’t let Bratz win the race to the bottom without a fight. The Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll comes with the shortest of short shorts, stiletto boots, and an impossibly thin figure. Recommended for ages five and up so girls can learn at a young age that they don’t belong in the game – they belong on the sideline cheering for boys. Gooooooooooo, Barbie!
Of course, the Cowboys have a different view of things. From a press release on the doll’s launch:
Both Barbie doll and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are strong, positive role models for girls and women alike, proving that there are no limits to what they can accomplish. Barbie boasts more than 100 careers to-date, including U.S. presidential candidate, astronaut, doctor, teacher, Olympic athlete and others. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders also represent a wide array of equally impressive professions, and perform audience-gasping dance routines during game day performances, cheer the troops in USO Tours, participate in international activities and volunteer for community service functions and events year-round.
Yes, because being a politician, doctor or astronaut ranks right up there with performing a glorified strip dance for football fans and troops. Personally, the most objectionable thing about the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Barbie is the price. $80? I could hire a prostitute in Vegas to dress up as a cheerleader for that much. (Of course, I wouldn’t know - I’m just assuming.)
And in terms of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood - while I’m all for trying to keep my child from becoming a slave to the BUY BUY MORE pressures that are constantly being thrown at her, making her childhood “commercial free” is a pipe dream.
Plus, I’m sorry: the Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade is pretty sweet, especially if the wheels spin: