If you have a tween, chances are you've heard of Monster High by now. It's a series of dolls, books and web episodes that depict the lives of girls like Draculaura (Dracula's daughter). Surprisingly, the dolls come from Mattel, which also manufactures the most mainstream, typical, girly-cliche doll around: Barbie. And even more surprisingly, the dolls are actually starting to outsell Barbie herself, the former Queen Bee of all toys and dolls.
"The message about the brand is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic," says Cathy Cline, who heads up marketing for Mattel's girl brands. She adds that sales have gone up 56% this year, and that Monster High is one of the fastest growing brands in the toy industry.
Even though the Monster High girls have a darkness that Barbie certainly doesn't, they also take some of Barbie's trademark features even further—most notably, her skinniness. The Monster High dolls' arms are so thin, their hands need to be removed in order to put shirts on. The girls are also, like Barbie, obsessed with fashion and makeup—they just prefer a more goth look.
What do you think? Is the mission of Monster High a noble one, or is the message lost due to the still stereotypical elements of the dolls, like clothes obsession and emaciated bodies?