Tuesday, December 7, 2010

When Did KIDS Cartoons Turn Purposely Sexy???

I am fully aware that sex sells. Everybody has their own preferences, fetishes, turn ons, whatever. I also grew up in the 80's and 90's where my guy friends would rave over the hotness of cartoon characters like Jessica Rabbit and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I also have pointed out the attractiveness of some cartoon characters, especially in the world of Japanese anime (this new show I'm watching called Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt... wow, that's all about sex). But besides anime, most cartoons I watched were cutesy and fun... made to entertain the audience.

However... I need to rant.

In the past few years, there have been several 80's cartoons (and products) revamped for the younger generation. And, wow, did the animators/designers decide to make the characters... sexy. For me, this gets me aggravated for a few reasons. One, young kids are not going to be able to identify the sexiness of such characters, so what's the point of the short skirts and curvy bodies? Two, all of the characters I really enjoyed were on the chunkier side, but the revamped versions are skinny beanpoles... what is that teaching our kids? That we all want to be skinny? So wrong. Three, what's wrong with nostalgia that we have to remake everything?

Okay, to make my points a little clearer, here are some Then and Now pics of some of the characters and products that contributed to my ranting today:

Rainbow Brite

Yes, I was Rainbow Brite this past Halloween, and my costume was on the sexy side. I am an adult though, and I can pay homage to the 80's and make it into eye candy for the guys... I have that right. But I also am huge into nostalgia. I liked how Rainbow Brite was all about the big boots (this was around the time where my friends and I loved Moon shoes). Oh, and the big hair smothered in hairspray... another big thing in the 80's. I do admit that the newer version has more color (hello orange!) which makes her representation more like my costume.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake was one of the chunkier 80's cartoon characters... and that was cool. There was something about many 80's cartoons that featured chunkier size kids... maybe that's why there's a lot of people proud to show off curve and chunkiness today (because we grew up being okay with that). She fit the part of a character representing the sweet fruit: lots of red, green stockings, brown shoes, and was a redhead!!! The new version is... pink. Me no likey. If I saw her just randomly sitting in some little girls room for the first time, I would have no idea that it was supposed to be Strawberry Shortcake. The only good thing I can say about her remake is that they didn't sexify her.

Barbie Dolls to Bratz Dolls

Yep, this picture totally represents a thousand words.

I was a Barbie girl. Had several dolls, outfits, play sets, and accessories. My sister and I played for hours with our dolls. Actually, there is a tote in my house with all of our Barbie stuff in it, hehe. One day, when I was still in high school, I happened to see an ad for these new dolls called Bratz. I noticed that they had a lot more modern style than Barbies and were quickly flying off the shelves. As the popularity of these dolls increased, the amount of clothes they wore seemed to decrease. Now, when I look at them, I see wannabe prostitutes. If I ever have a daughter, I'm going to go the Barbie route. I just feel that some of the clothes on the Bratz are not appropriate at all (even though I personally would wear some of them... like I mentioned earlier, I am an adult...).

Dora the Explorer

Hola, Dora!!! This show is a very good representation of Mexican culture and kooky, oddball characters. I liked that one of the shows that my son watches occasionally is about a girl that's got a little bit of chunkiness to her. I thought that was awesome. Then, some months ago (or has it been over a year?), Nickelodeon introduced a teenage version of Dora. I admit, she's very pretty, but... skinny. I would have liked to see Dora have a little extra meat on her bones. You would think with the success of shows like Ugly Betty (which the lead character was chunky and was able to have a successful career in the fashion industry), that more people would want to hone in on women with curves. I guess we haven't quite reached that yet. It saddens me.

So there's my rant... nostalgia good.... sexy kid's cartoon characters bad. I know there's more out there (My Little Pony, Lisa Frank collection, The Chipettes from Alvin and the Chipmunks), but I don't have to cover everything do I? Nope!


  1. I dislike this too. Oh and P.S.... I HATE Bratz dolls. My daughter will NEVER own them. Too much. Some wear thongs and such.. no way.

  2. Cartoons in general have gone downhill in my opinion. But your point is so true. It seems these days that the message the media is trying to send to our kids and daughters in particular is its cool and fun to be a whore. South Park did an episode on this that really hit the mark,"Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"
    Episode 812
    Original Air Date: Dec 1, 2004 http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/episodes/s08e12-stupid-spoiled-whore-video-playset
    Link included for reference purposes.

  3. I completely agree and I"m so glad that there are others out there with the same feelings. If I have a daughter I will not be buying the bratz dolls. Seriously!? I think the thing with making them all skinny is the media is all about how we're in a epidemic of childhood obesity and how every kid now is over weight. But they need to be teaching to be healthy not skinny. Skinny does not mean healthy. And sexy does not need to be in little children's cartoons at all.

  4. The only one of these that makes any bit of sense to me (and only SOMEWHAT)is Dora, cuz, yeah, you grow up and grow into your bodies when you become a teenager. I just wish that when they had a character "grow up" and they revamped thier style,they sent them through a freakin awkward stage like the one I went through!! lol i think that would be more of a lesson for kids instead of this image of being skinny.

    And now there's this whole "skinny-fat" epidemic that's been reported on a lot lately. Obese or not, people aren't even working out, so everyone is at risk for the same things that are typically only assosiated with being "obese." Plus probably malnutrition. haha sorry for that little thought detour! :)