Gives Bratz the Boot
Scholastic pulls books following
Winnipeg Free Press
September 18, 2008
The largest distributor of children's books to Canadian
schools has decided to yank all Bratz books from its
roster after parents and psychologists complained the
controversial dolls promoted "precocious sexuality."
Scholastic Inc. distributes its products through
school-based book fairs and clubs, selling books to
students and teachers at discounted prices. But after a
North American campaign spearheaded by the Boston-based
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood against books
and products featuring the popular Bratz dolls, the book
distributor has relented.
The company confirmed Wednesday its fall product line
for schools no longer includes the Bratz brand -- a
switch from last year, when Scholastic said the books
appealed to "reluctant readers" and its job was to
"offer materials that appeal to children where they are,
not where we would like them to be."
In a statement, Scholastic declined to comment on Bratz
books, saying "the books we offer have been selected by
an experienced team of editors who consult with our
teacher and librarian advisers and review thousands of
titles from all publishers.
"Our goal has been and continues to be to provide
quality, affordable books that meet the wide range of
reading levels and interests of today's students and
help every child develop a love of reading."
The Bratz book line is a spinoff of MGA Entertainment
Inc.'s top-selling fashion dolls, notable for their
skimpy wardrobe of miniskirts, high-heel boots and
Since February 2007, Scholastic and its Canadian
subsidiary received more than 5,000 e-mails as part of
the anti-Bratz campaign.
"We're just really thrilled and it really attests to the
power of people working together to try and make
change," said campaign co-ordinator Susan Linn.
"The Bratz are a highly sexualized brand and when a
brand is marketed in a school, it has that school's
endorsement. Essentially, schools were saying to their
students, 'This is a good way to portray girls, these
are models that you should strive for.'"
Linn, a psychologist and author of The Case for
Make-believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World,
said she was particularly troubled with Scholastic's
apparent tacit endorsement of the Bratz brand.
"Scholastic has such a stellar reputation with parents
and with teachers and for Scholastic to be supporting
and promoting this kind of sexualization, it was very
MGA Entertainment, based in California, was not
available to comment.
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