Werewolf Doll Sparks Controversy

Oh, god, really? Remember when the whiners got ahold of Barbie, and tried to make her more proportionate, –and more like a “real woman” than some over-sexualized version of what a woman should look like? Right, well, that argument is old, and I would have liked to think we were past all that. But then the Brat dolls came out, and if you wanna talk about disproportionate, unrealistic dolls, well… feet that are the same size and shape of one’s head, isn’t something evolution has in mind for us anytime soon. There was an outrage over the Bratz image, the Barbie image, and now there’s the spark of controversy over the female werewolf doll, Clawdeen, from Mattel’s Monster High doll line. Most of the people I know, think it’s a pretty cute idea to bring kids closer to the horror genre, without a lot of really unhealthy imagery.

But many disagree, claiming Clawdeen’s outfit is too revealing, and doesn’t send a good message to kids. The Herald-Sun reports on the controversy over a child’s toy:

The character, one of the Monster High range to be released on April 1, is teen werewolf Clawdeen.

While the doll itself does not need to have hair removed, the hair is described as her “freaky flaw”.

The doll wears a thigh-skimming skirt with a top that shows her midriff, heavy make-up and platform heels. The character’s official online profile reads:

“Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous.”

Mattel has pitched the brand at girls aged 6-12.

Monster High is all about celebrating individuality combined with fun, friends and fashion,” Mattel Australia & New Zealand spokeswoman Amanda Allegos said.

But experts say the range reinforces stereotypes of female attractiveness to girls.

Melinda Tankard Reist, author of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls, said the dolls sent the wrong message.

“Having (the character) say that plucking and shaving is a full-time job, but worth it, sends a message to girls that this is what they should be doing … We are reinforcing these stereotyped views of what women have to do to be acceptable, to have their bodies acceptable,” she said.

“There is enough pressure already on little girls to conform to these stereotyped beauty ideals.”

Right, so what difference does it make? That’s the big question. Honestly, if it were me, around that age, I’d probably think “ew, gross” at the idea of having to spend all that time plucking and shaving off dog hairs. …Because Clawdeen is a werewolf, duh! I think the girls would probably get the joke, and if you ask me, plucking and shaving isn’t something that ought to be frowned upon. It’s hygiene if we’re talking legs, pits, and mustaches, or eyebrows. I don’t see the damage, especially in this oversexed world that makes miniskirts for 4 year olds, and high heels for children who are just now learning to walk. This is all an attempt to take focus off the real problem when it comes to negative influences on children: parents.



  1. Um, no. I was inclined to believe you, or at least side with the “relax, it’s just a doll” crowds until this line:

    plucking and shaving isn’t something that ought to be frowned upon. It’s hygiene if we’re talking legs, pits, and mustaches, or eyebrows.

    Since when are men expected to shave their legs and pits for “hygienic reasons?” They’re not, because hairy legs and pits have nothing to do with hygiene. It’s pure aesthetic, attempting to pretend that women aren’t the same kind of animals that men are. The reason why female werewolves are so alluring, is that they don’t deny the animal essence of women.

    I really don’t have a problem with the dolls, but I do have a problem holding women to a stricter standard of grooming than men to make them more palatable to society.

    1. Tell you what, Allison. Change your diet around. Get your hormones going funky. And if you like, meet a few women with hormone deficiency, or cervical cancer. All people who have to pluck their face.

      And women are held to different standards of hygiene than men because, um, …we’re not men. Get over it.

      1. You don’t know me, annimi, so please don’t tell me what to do to my body or presume you know the intricacies of my grooming rituals.

        And as far as “getting over” the fact that women aren’t men? You’re missing the point, big time. I think it’s fair game to raise concerns about how women’s bodies are treated and manipulated by society. Women’s bodies are held to stricter standards about most things, including grooming, sexuality, reproduction, employment, and so on not just because we’re “not men,” but because the current patriarchical societal structure likes it that way.

        So no, I will not “get over” that. In fact, I consider it my life’s work to fight for gender equality. You can suit yourself.

        1. Sure. Promote gender equality, and in the mean time, complain about the appropriateness of children’s toys. Shouldn’t you be off protesting cosmetics, sperm, and the fact that men have penises and women don’t? Life as a woman is so -unfair-.

          1. Wow, you have serious problems. And for the record, I DON’T object to this doll. But I object to your disgusting, misogynistic comments.

            Cosmetics and penis envy are why it’s hard to be a woman? What planet are you living on? Cause in the one I’m on, penis envy is not a problem. Problems are things like double standards, fewer academic and job opportunities in many countries, regular and culturally approved genital mutilation in some, and a culture that is okay with raping women so long as they might deserve it, where I can tell police I’ve been raped and the first question asked in court is “so what outfit were you wearing that night?” You need to get a serious reality check if you think people seeking equality for women are complaining about things as miniscule as the ones that you list.

            It’s not surprising you think so poorly of women, though! Only the most self-hating women would be friends with you, so I doubt you know many impressive women, or impressive people period!

    2. I, as a woman, personally have no problem with shaving. I don’t see it as “gender inequality” because women shave. Plus, more and more men are waxing these days. Too much hair outside of one’s head simply isn’t attractive on a woman. Plus, hair traps odors and bacteria, so actually, shaving IS a form of hygiene.

  2. My roommate’s niece got this doll and she never even read the back, she ripped that doll open and played and played. She’s a child, she’s not going to care what the box says, or the supposed messages it delivers.

    At the store I work at the Monster High dolls are incredibly popular and sell out shortly after they hit the shelves, so clearly, the only one with big issues with the doll is the news, as usually.

    Personally I think the dolls are awesome, I wish I had them when I was a kid!

  3. Feminist here, I was never on a crusade against Barbie, but her critics have a real point. She wasn’t that only thing that reinforced unrealistic and unhealthy standards of beauty on girls, but she was part of it. It isn’t a conincidence that eating disorders are a major problem in a culture that has made beauty synonymous with only the most nymph-like of shapes and ridicules female celebrities at the first sign of cellulite or when the paparazzi catches them without their makeup. These things have consequences.

    Personally, I’m not overly concerned about the shape of Miss Clawdeen. Though unnaturally skinny none of her physical features (waist, bust, butt) is overemphasized. Hopefully children will recognize that her skinniness is cartoonish and not to be emulated. What does bother me is that despite the premise that she is a werewolf the only thing even remotely wolfish about her is her cute little ears, which gives her about as much in common with wolves as a cat girl. But 100% of her wardrobe would be compatible with a career on the street, not to mention her makeup. For all her flaws I don’t think Barbie ever managed the “come hither” look this doll has.

    You may not agree that any of this is an issue and you may not even see this doll as a hyper-sexualized female figure. But surely we can a agree that it’s viability as a werewolf is laughable compared to it’s viability as a Pussycat Doll.

  4. All the dolls in this toy line look like hookers. Regardless of what the show is about, they’re just the new Bratz dolls from a different company, and once again, the emphasis is on nothing but fashion.

    Barbie was not always a bad influence: even when her body features were really out of proportion, she was an athlete, a veterinarian, a teacher, a babysitter, and countless other things. Now, Barbie and just about every other doll revolves around fashion. To me, that’s a much bigger problem than body proportions! Kids should see dolls that seem to care about things other than looking good, otherwise we’re back to the 1700s where all you need to be doing as a female is shopping and attracting men.

    1. So dolls should be ugly and unfashionable? Boys and girls want their toys to look cool and pretty. There’s nothing wrong with that. Also, these dolls aren’t a bad influence. It’s not a doll’s job to teach children right from wrong, it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach them self-respect and morals. I played with Barbies as a kid and I’m a perfectly functional strong independent woman. Dolls have always and will always be fashionable and if the parents don’t like the doll’s clothing, then they buy a different doll. My goodness, I had a busty Baywatch barbie and I never ran around half naked, splashing in the waves – no, when I played with that Barbie I would pretend she was best friends with my mermaid Barbie and the two of them had magical adventures and rode on dolphins.

      There’s nothing wrong with the Monster High dolls, it’s a fun idea that triggers kid’s imaginations. Magic, monsters, and more. Woo! Also, as for the show, the first episode is about being yourself, about not changing who you are to makes friends. The main girl buys a magazine and tries to mimic the girls inside of it, but in the end she learns not to listen to others or to mags, to just be herself.

      1. “So dolls should be ugly and unfashionable? Boys and girls want their toys to look cool and pretty.”

        Uh, false dichotomy alert.

        Cheryl’s complaint was that these doll emphasize looks and clothing to the exclusion of everything else. What’s more she gave plenty of examples of dolls that had more going on than just their wardrobes, none of which implied ugly to me.

        Surely choosing alternative dolls that have been things like teachers, nurses and athletes does not mean you are choosing an ugly doll. Frankly I am disgusted that you would declare that once you eliminate dolls like this you’re left with ugly dolls. That’s an astoundingly narrow definition of beauty you must have.

        1. You’re putting words into my mouth, I didn’t declare any such thing. Obviously, that’s not how I view beauty and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that all dolls, no matter what theme they are, center around fashion. Have you walked down a Barbie aisle lately? A teacher, nurse or whatever doll isn’t going to be ugly, it’s going to be just as fashionable as the others.
          And the Monster High dolls are more than fashion, they’re monsters, which takes us right back to the whole imagination thing. Which is was kids want, it’s why most of the dolls at the store are of fairies, mermaids, vampires and so on. I haven’t seen a teacher barbie in ages, or a nurse barbie for that matter – kids don’t want them, they want these new magical dolls.

          1. Late response is late. I’m not even sure if you’ll see this. Oh well.

            “You’re putting words into my mouth, I didn’t declare any such thing.”

            I quoted you saying, “So dolls should be ugly and unfashionable? Boys and girls want their toys to look cool and pretty.” It’s the very first line of your reply to Cheryl.

            The problem with that statement (as I said before) is it sets up a false dichotomy. Either dolls look like the Monster High dolls or they are ugly and unfashionable. Perhaps my examples were not very good, but that isn’t really the point. As you yourself said, all of the dolls you’re going to find on the shelves are pretty. But not all of them accomplish prettiness with the methods we’re criticizing the Monster High dolls for.

            PS – On an unrelated note, would it be possible for the contributor posting an entry to sign it somehow? I know there are at least two of you contributing and it gets confusing when I can’t tell if the person writing an entry and the person responding to comments are the same person or not. I don’t want to chew off your ear for something someone else wrote.

          2. I sign all of my posts at the end, so if my name isn’t on it, it’s not mine.

  5. Ummm….. I never played with Barbie… it was My Little Pony. Now I do have a daughter and she plays more with dolls and likes to dress up. Was the “plucking and shaving” intended as a joke with Clawdeen being a werewolf? Then I wouldn’t worry too much. Is it meant as a subtle message you’re only beautiful if you look like this or do that? Then we’ve got a problem if an obsession over one’s own self image… body dismorphia I believe it’s called… becomes a true problem.

    Action Figures in the day of He-Man got blasted too for little boys due to a false image of what a guy looks like. To a point… they’re just toys… are they meant in characture or has it gone to far?
    I believe if we were in France, they don’t worry about shaving… shaving is something that prostitutes did. And in the U.S. or what would be come the U.S…. France used places like Lousina and Florida a penal colonies to send their undesirables.

    But I’ve thought about picking up Clawdeen just because she is a werewolf to add to my other Werewolf action figures I have.

  6. In my opinion, all oc this controversy is stupid. Its a doll. Barbie is much worse. As a teenager i can honestly say barbie made me feel like crap. Her beautiful looks made me feel so ugly. Barbie was perfection. Now came monster high. These girls showed their imperfections. Lile clawdeen having to shave all the time. Thats not something barbie had to do. She was too perfect. I love how mattel came out with these. Now girls can learn to deal with the fact that their not perfect. Watch the first minster high episode about how Frankies 1st day went… Barbie would never have gone through that.

  7. I concur with Skye, Monster High dolls make me feel like my hairyness makes me as cool as Clawdeen, If she wants to pluck and shave all the time, that’s fine with me. I’m just glad to see a character that talks about her flaws, that she isn’t perfect.

    Barbie hides behind the ‘white, blonde and blue eyed are the most beautiful’ thing, and that she is too perfect to shave and be like any other woman, a REAL woman.

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