Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mattel’s Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Wins Worst Toy of the Year; CCFC Honors Doll with Inaugural TOADY Award

BOSTON – February 12- Barbie’s big year just got a little more exciting.  On the eve of the world’s most famous doll’s fiftieth birthday, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood announced that Mattel’s Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll won its inaugural TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year.  In an online vote by more than 6,000 CCFC members, Barbie handily beat four other nominees.

“The toys we give children reflect our values,” said CCFC’s Director Dr. Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe. “And no one who cares about children’s wellbeing could produce a toy like the Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader doll. It embodies a host of harmful expectations about what girls are supposed to be like.”

Rated by Mattel as appropriate for children age six and up, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll comes with the shortest of short shorts, stiletto boots, and a revealing halter top.  The preposterously skimpy outfit allows children to get a better view of Barbie’s impossibly long legs and dangerously thin body. 

“When you combine two classic symbols of gendered stereotypes – the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and Barbie – you get one terrible toy,” said CCFC Steering Committee member Joe Kelly, of “Do we really want to teach our young daughters that they belong on the sidelines, not in the game, and the way to get noticed is to show a lot of skin?”

“The Bratz dolls get a lot of well-deserved negative attention,” said CCFC’s co-founder Dr. Diane Levin, co-author of So Sexy, So Soon. “But it’s important to recognize that Mattel is also all-too-happy to contribute to the sexualization of young children.  The Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll teaches girls to focus on their appearance, to aspire to an eating-disordered body, and to play at being sexy before they’re even capable of understanding what sexy means."

CCFC created the TOADY award in response to the Toy Industry of Association’s TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards, which celebrate the most popular brands and toys often with little regard for their impact on children’s wellbeing.  Each TOADY nominee was selected for epitomizing one or more of the troubling commercial trends of the toy industry, such as marketing sex and/or violence to young children, promoting brands and screen time at the expense of creative play, and encouraging excessive and conspicuous consumption. In addition to Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll, the 2008 TOADY nominees were Baby Alive Learns to Potty by Hasbro, the Lego Batman Video Game by Warner Brothers, the Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade by Fisher-Price, and the Smart Cycle by Fisher Price.  For more information on why these toys were nominated, please visit

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