Bratz Dolls Were Slammed for Their Adult-like Look and Parents Didn't Love the Glam

Were you a Barbie or Bratz kid? The two iconic dolls left a historic impact on the toy world forever.

Alex West - Author

Mar. 4 2024, Published 9:23 a.m. ET

Four Bratz dolls posing in front of a purple background
Source: INSTAGRAM/@Bratz

With the resurgence of Barbie dolls through Greta Gerwig's Barbie, the natural next pick would be a look into the world of the Bratz doll. After all, in many ways, Barbie and Bratz became opposing rivals in the toy world for years.

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Girls on the playground would often debate the merits of their favorite dolls. Sometimes, though, they would mix the two together and use their imagination to bridge the gap. With a recent look into Barbie, it begs the question: What happened to Bratz?

Bratz dolls stylized as the Plastics from 'Mean Girls'
Source: INSTAGRAM/@Bratz
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What happened to Bratz dolls?

Bratz dolls were released long after Barbie, debuting in 2001. But, they were created by a former employee of Mattel, the company that owns Barbie, so the competition between the two was immediate. Over the years, they've faced public backlash and ridicule.

Bratz dolls are still somewhat available, although they've been discontinued a few times. Not shockingly, Mattel slammed them with a lawsuit due to some similarities and copyright issues. After Bratz's parent company, MGA Entertainment, won the case, they lifted a pause that had been put on the brand.

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They even launched a 10 year anniversary line with some modifications. In 2014, the line of the time wasn't available in North America and, when the company came back in 2015, they only lasted for a year before being discontinued again.

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Why do people hate Bratz dolls?

The issues in regards to Bratz dolls vary depending on the person. Staunch Barbie lovers weren't happy with the seemingly copy cat creation, but their anger was put to rest when the litigation settled.

A major issue that the Bratz dolls faced was red flags about unrealistic beauty standards. Bratz dolls were very glam in nature, often wearing full faces of makeup. Plus, many argued that the body proportions and facial features were pushing a certain type of standard on young girls.

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In fact, the last line of Bratz dolls' main criticisms was that the dolls were marketed towards young girls rather than tween and teen markets which were believed to be better suited to the more 'sexy' look. The adult-like portrayal left parents uncertain about handing over the toy to their kids.

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Of course, the body standard argument didn't only apply to Bratz dolls as Barbie has often received the same sort of feedback. However, Barbie supporters often argue that her design is typically more reserved in fashion and that her storyline includes aspirational jobs meant to inspire young women.

Issues with Bratz dolls stemmed beyond just the design. The manufacturer was slammed with allegations of paying its factory workers a very low rate, around $0.515 an hour, according to a report from China Labor Watch.

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MGA denied the allegations. After that, the company became ensnared in a variety of legal issues. Lady Gaga even took the company to court at one point, alleging that the company purposefully delayed the release of a doll that was supposed to look like her.

Over all, Bratz dolls certainly had their moment in early 2000s culture, but they haven't stood the test of time as well as brands like Barbie. They're still an option for kids today, but not as widespread.

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