Babes in Stripperland

by Eliza C. Thompson

Just when you thought children’s toys couldn’t get any weirder, a mysterious photo surfaces and pushes the boundaries of taste to whole new levels. This week, we give you the Pole Dancer Doll, a toy that is er, pretty self-explanatory. The baby-faced doll comes outfitted in a sparkly green dress with pole and light-up flashing stage to match. Unfortunately, it seems you’ll have to provide the riff-tastic soundtrack yourself (Warrant’s ‘Sweet Cherry Pie,’ anyone?)

The grainy photo above (via Gizmodo) is the only one that seems to exist of the doll, and it’s a little unclear where one actually purchases this angelic dancing diva (a quick eBay search produced slightly more — ahem — explicit results). Regardless of the doll’s origins, though, the idea of a pole dancing doll is certainly controversial: parents all over the Internet are already freaking out, and for what seems like good reason.

While the Bebe Gloton toy outraged some, it did seem to have (arguably) good intentions: teaching little girls about breastfeeding and naturalizing an act still frowned upon by many adults. But there don’t seem to be any such positives about the Pole Dancer, whose sole purpose is apparently teaching young girls how to work it up on the pole. Personally, I believe pole dancing is a totally legit profession if pole dancing is your thing (and no one’s forced you into it, and you enjoy it, and you’re over 18, etc.), but what about little girls who are too young to know the difference between objectification and sexual confidence? I’m all for sex positivity, but where’s the line between teaching little girls to be comfortable with their bodies and teaching them to appeal to a lowest-common-denominator stereotype of male heterosexuality?

Then again, there’s always the possibility that the entire thing is a hoax, given the lone cell phone photo and complete lack of information on the toy company allegedly producing the doll. But even if the doll does exist, does it really send a message little girls aren’t already receiving from every other direction? Check out tween idol Miley Cyrus’s performance on the Teen Choice Awards, or that popular YouTube video of the toddler doing the ‘Single Ladies’ dance, or pretty much anything you see on reality TV (I’m talking to you, Taya from Rock of Love Bus).

Granted, most of the sexed-up stuff you see on basic cable supposedly isn’t meant for under-18 eyes, but I knew how to get around my parents’ MTV ban as well as any 11-year-old probably does now. Even if the Pole Dancer Doll IS about to hit a Wal-Mart near you, is it really that big a deal? I don’t have kids, and if I did I probably wouldn’t buy them this, but why trash all the ladies out there who do make a living pole dancing while we’re in the process of trashing this doll? Some of those confident, independent women might make better role models than say, whiny, boy-obsessed Bella from the Twilight novels, but you don’t see too many people trying to pull those books off the shelves. What do you think, ladies?

photo courtesy

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