A popular series of dolls aimed at young girls is the subject of controversy after parents noticed an inappropriate ‘surprise’ when they dip them in ice water.
The Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) says parents should absolutely be disturbed by the LOL Surprise line of dolls — which, according to a series of viral videos, reveal secret outfits, which are being described as adult-themed.
“I would say it’s incredibly disturbing,” CCCP education director Noni Classen told 680 CJOB.
“There are companies creating products and not being very transparent around what the products entail, how the products are designed… and potentially the erotic themes and components that are associated with products that are designed for children.”
After a backlash on social media, the dolls’ parent company, MGA Entertainment — which also makes the Bratz dolls and owns the Little Tikes brand, among others — told U.S. business magazine Fast Company in its only public statement on the controversy to date, that it has “implemented comprehensive corrective measures to our design and approval process while ensuring the essence of the brand is kept intact.”
That’s not enough for Classen.
“I think they have a responsibility here that’s a lot greater… when we’re talking about erotic adult themes like lingerie and bondage harnesses,” she said.
“This is a perfect example of them not providing the information for parents to know what these themes were that were associated with sexualization of the dolls — and really, sexualization of children — that they’re promoting.”
Classen said the dolls fall into the same category as children’s clothing with slogans like “eye candy” or “hot stuff.”
“We have resources about why the premature sexualization of children is problematic, and that relates to exposure to premature sexual content,” she said.
“I think it’s fantastic that that generated such a strong response and that people were engaged and got involved. It’s our responsibility as adults to be making decisions that are in their best interests and keeping them safe and keeping them out of harm and danger.”