Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Plain Pamela

I came across a hilarious "report" on The Onion today about a new doll on the fancy crystal shelves in toy stores. The report comes amidst the celebrations of 50 years of Barbie and moms fearing that the new version of Dora the explorer is reportedly too hot to handle.

The doll is called, full marks for guessing here, Plain Pamela. She is "pale, unsightly plaything, which has a plastic torso scaled to the proportions of a 5-foot-4, 179-pound woman in her mid-30s" and the objective is "to raise the sense of physical and emotional self-worth in preteen females."

I love the idea of it. If such innovative products don't hit the market every now and again, the talented product marketing genes will be out of work or at the very least struggle with job satisfaction.

Mattel (the maker of Barbie) has been criticized in the past for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty. So Mattel CEO talks about the need for dolls that offer an alternative body image and describes Plain Pamela as "drab, dumpy, nothing to write home about and will make the girls of America feel like beauty queens." I presume the underlying assumption here is that the girls of America are superficial and shallow. Bingo. Convenient theories are always a winner.

Of course, the fun doesn't end there. They've weaved every thinkable emotional and physical aspect into it so girls can have fun deciding how they can manipulate Pamela to make them look prettier by comparison.

Some fantastic ego-enhancing features are:
- A button at the base of the doll's pudgy neck that randomly plays one of 24 pre-programmed phrases, including "I wish I was pretty like you," "That's okay, you go out and have fun without me," and "Ugh." (Every guy should learn the middle one)
- Four interchangeable hairstyles: Just-woke-up, Too-long, Too-short, and what's-the-point-of-even-trying-anymore-it's-not-like-it's-going-to-make-a-difference. (We’ve all suffered on that front)
- Her size 14 doll pants and refillable 'tears' for her swollen face. (A stroke of genius)
- A variety of unflattering and ill-fitting blouses to drape over her shapeless torso, as well as a packet of paste-on psoriasis spots to apply along her arms and back. (haha psoriasis, seriously?)

I wonder if she's a doll version of Ugly Betty. Wasn't that the whole point of Ugly Betty? I just googled ‘what do women want’ and saw 96 million hits. I haven’t tried ‘what do preteen girls want' but I know the answer is Plain Pamela!

p.s. It's from The Onion so needless to mention, it's a fictional report.
p.s2 Perhaps Mattel should hire some creative brains from The Onion to diversify their product line.
p.s3 I never have to worry about buying dolls again. The last one I bought was smacked brutally to death by my little one.


Kusha said...

If god couldnt lift *preteen* self esteem, count on the doll!
Such Drama!

Pari said...

Yes let's save the important ones for god!