Our Dolls, Ourselves

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On the Ms. Blog just over four years ago, I wrote about Mattel’s (then) newest and largest doll launch: the Monster High line. Mattel was proudly offering girls dolls that were “different” and that strayed from the look of their long-lasting progeny, Barbie, and her contentious, estranged cousin, the Bratz dolls, (at that time, still […]

GoldieBlox On the Block Again

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GoldieBlox, a relatively new toy company whose mission is to entice girls into the field of engineering, is no stranger to controversy. Their previous advertisement quickly went viral and both heartened parents seeking “alternative” toys to what their daughters are more routinely offered, and enraged those who saw the line as capitulating to commercial pressures to […]

Giving Birth to Yourself

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During most major life transitions, there are those who are not at the center but bear witness. While they might go unrecognized, their presence is vital and their perspective often unique. A doula is someone who, by definition, holds such a role. Greek for the word “servant,” a doula supports a laboring mother and her […]

Lessons Learned from Breastfeeding Prof?

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Before I had a child, I thought the perennial media issue dogging women was “work and life balance.”  Little did I realize how much breastfeeding was another evergreen. When stirred up into discussion of “work and life balance,” it creates a perfect maelstrom. Such as when Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American […]

Momtroversy: How Feminist Is Attachment Parenting?

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About a month ago, in anticipation of starting my son on solid foods I attended a seminar at a parenting support center in Los Angeles. Of course we must make our own baby food, the lecturer began: By chopping, steaming and pureeing (defrosting batch-cooked “food cubes” was eschewed due to potential vitamin loss) we could […]

Click! Hot Lips Houlihan Made Me a Feminist

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In the early 1980s I was a suburban girl growing up outside Miami and I knew few mothers who worked. My own mother had quit the nursing job she loved to become a stay-at-home mom, though she still sought hospital news from my doctor dad. The closest I had come to seeing her at work […]

Rescuing Your Daughter From the Princess

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If you’ve been within 50 feet of a 4-year-old girl in the past decade, you can’t have escaped the fact that princess is a booming industry. From T-shirts emblazoned with “princess” to the fad for “makeover” parties to “princess potty seats”, there is no shortage of products with a tiara theme offered to girls. In […]

Reviving “Reviving Ophelia”

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Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, the breakaway bestseller first published in 1994 was possibly the one book that touched off the notion of a self-esteem “crisis” in pre-adolescent girls. Its author, Mary Pipher, based it on her experience as a psychologist working with adolescent girls in Lincoln, Neb., indicting American culture as […]

Mattel’s New “Monster High” Dolls Play On Old-School Stereotypes

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Mattel’s Barbie never had her own kids, but the toy company isn’t opposed to procreation. In fact, it has now envisioned girl offspring from well-known supernatural figures–and molded them into doll form. Deliberately scheduling the official launch of Monster High on Friday, Aug. 13, Mattel has unleashed a next-generation team of progeny from media icons […]