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Scholastic Inc Bows to Pressure Over Bratz

 

Monica Dobie

TheBookseller.com

September 19, 2008

 

Scholastic, children's publisher and distributor, has removed the Bratz brand of books from its web, catalogue and book fair offerings in its US and Canadian schools following pressure from parents and psychologists who blasted the series' dolls for being over-sexualised. Since February 2007, over 5,000 emails and letters complaining about the dolls have been sent to Scholastic.

The book company has confirmed the withdrawal of the books, and some other products, but made no direct comment about the Bratz brand. A spokesman said:"The books we offer have been selected by an experienced team of editor. . . 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 Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), which spearheaded the anti-Bratz campaign, declared: "Thanks to CCFC members, Scholastic, Inc. will no longer be promoting the highly sexualized Bratz brand in schools." The organisation said its members had "flooded Scholastic with emails urging them to stop selling books such as Lil' Bratz Dancin Divas; Lil' Bratz Catwalk Cuties; and Lil' Bratz Beauty Sleepover Bash".

CCFC had also attacked Scholastic’s initial defence of the books that they were important to reach "reluctant readers", focusing criticism on items such as the Bratz: Rock Angels computer game and the Bratz Fashion Designer stencil set, aimed at helping students design "the perfect purse".

One mother and vehement opponent of Bratz, Laurie-Ann Nisbet, of Montreal, Canada, said:"I tell my daughter they are Barbies who made bad choices. I’m glad they are removing them because they portray a very bad image to young girls. The new dolls on the shelves look like dominatrixes."

 

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