• Thu, Dec 12 - 12:00 pm ET

Polly Pocket Doesn’t Sexually Abuse Children – Sex Abusers Abuse Children

Polly_PocketsYesterday Jezebel ran an article making the plea to parents that if they don’t buy their children racist gifts, they shouldn’t buy their children sexist gifts for Christmas. It’s a nice thought and something I agree with, as a rule, but the article is so all over the place and misinformed at the end of it I just had a blistering rage headache. The article starts off with:

I call her Polly Prostitute, partly due to her fashion choices which includes boots, heels, and minis that barely cover her ass. Before you get mad at me for “slut-shaming,” this is a doll marketed to little girls.

And sometimes little girls wear miniskirts and boots, and this does not make them “sluts.” Or sex workers. And if a woman grows up to be a sex worker, that is a different issue entirely, and it in no way means these women don’t also deserve respect. I get that highly sexualized dolls are a problem. I also get that there are many alternatives for parents out there looking for dolls that aren’t wearing revealing clothing or with makeup painted on their faces. But this still doesn’t make Barbie or Polly a “slut” – and it doesn’t make a woman a slut either.

I grew up playing with dolls. I still like dolls. I let my daughter have almost every sort of doll. I consider myself a pretty militant feminist. My daughter and I discuss her dolls, what clothing they wear, but more importantly, I tell her that no one is ever allowed to treat her in any sort of ill manner because of the clothing choices she makes. I teach my sons that they need to respect women regardless of what they do or don’t wear. The article then goes on to say something I find even more troubling:

I’m here to tell you that these toys are not cute, nor are they a phase girls are ever allowed to “grow out” of. This focus on appearance never disappears from a girl’s life; it simply mutates. That, my friends, is dangerous. We wonder how and why girls get so obsessed with their bodies. Mystified, we conclude this preoccupation is “natural.” Kids keep getting sexualized and sexually abused.

The sad fact is, kids would be sexually abused even if there were no dolls in the world. To make a connection between the sexual abuse of children and the fact that some children’s dolls wear makeup or revealing clothing is beyond offensive because it comes pretty close to blaming children and what they play with for their own abuse. A child is no more likely to be sexually abused if she is playing with a doll or with a rock.

Parents need more choices for toys for kids that encourage open-ended play and foster imagination and intellect. No child should ever be sexually harmed, but to blame what a child plays with for their own abuse is amazingly disrespectful to these victims. The conversation about how soceity sexualizes children is an important one to have, but it’s not one that should include the connection that a girl who plays with Polly Pocket is, to paraphrase this entire shitshow of an article, “asking for it” just because Polly wears a little plastic skirt.

(Image: Wikipedia)

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  • NicknamesAreDull

    Does this mean if you buy your kid a chemistry set, they’ll become met kingpens?

    Sorry Kathleen, I didn’t mean to screw you over like that. I’ll start saving up for bail now.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      TERRIBLE MOM, you know what happens to kids who play with balls, right?

    • NicknamesAreDull

      They grow up to play with a different kind of balls. The hairy kind.

    • Muggle

      Or non-hairy kind, depending on the prference of I’ll just shut up now.

    • LiteBrite

      I hope that’s what it means because I got our son a science experiment kit and a book on how to do simple kitchen experiments, and meth kingpins can make bank.

      A six-year-old meth kingpin. Outstanding.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      I’m not usually into playdates, but are you interested in getting the kids together? Combining forces seems like a good idea.

    • LiteBrite

      Just think of the possibilities. I mean, our kids could do worse for careers, right?

    • NicknamesAreDull

      I’d rather be the parent of a precocious meth kingpin than a slut shamer. My only regret is that I can’t humble brag about how special my snowflake is, because I don’t have a Facebook account.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      brb, stitching this onto a pillow

    • Tinyfaeri

      “I’d rather be the parent of a precocious meth kingpin than a slut shamer.” <- That would make a great bumper sticker.

    • LiteBrite

      We could start our own Etsy shop with all the cool bumper stickers and slogans we’ve thought of in the past few months.

    • Tinyfaeri

      My meth kingpin can beat up your slut shamer any day!

    • LiteBrite

      “Proud parent of an elementary school meth kingpin.”

    • ninjalulu

      Didnt Regretsy do stuff where they made this crap and then donated to worthy causes? Could Mommyish start an Etsy shop and do that? I would totally donate supplies so the crafty people can do their shiz!

    • keelhaulrose

      I’ve seen enough Breaking Bad to know that playdate sounds like a good idea til someone winds up in the bathtub…

    • pixie

      She could always be a mad scientist who tries to take over the world.
      That’s what I would be if I could.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      I don’t think she has the drive for that. She likes to make daisy crowns on the soccer field. I think the person who takes over the world should be able to focus on the task at hand. Maybe when she’s older.

    • keelhaulrose

      I bought my daughter a card game. I guess I should start saving up to pay for her gambling debts now.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      I wonder if we could get a group rate on bail..

    • keelhaulrose

      I’d love to see the look on the judges face as we did in front of them and said “Your honor, we know we screwed our kids up with card games and science kits, but is there some way to get a break on bail? We spent all our money on wine sippy cups (and the drink to fill them) and mommy porn featuring Idris Elba and Tom Mison.”

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      …..making out shirtless.

    • keelhaulrose

      If such a picture existed my little darlings could stay in jail, my money would be spent acquiring any film of said event.
      I heard jail builds character, anyways. It would be for their good, really.

    • Kay_Sue

      It also helps them refine the skills they need to really build their respective empires long-term, I think.

    • keelhaulrose

      See.. we’re really doing them a favor by letting them stay in prison. It’s marketing and networking, really.

    • Simone


    • AP

      I had a toy slot machine as a kid! My parents had inherited it cleaning out a relative’s house, my sister and I found it in the attic, and spent many hours playing with it.

      We’d end up whining, “Mom! We put in 10 coins and it only gave back 2! It’s not fair!” and my mom would be like, “That’s how gambling works, house always wins. It’s not set up to be fair.”

    • keelhaulrose

      My grandma had one like that, too. When I complained I lost a dollar to it, she just smiled and said “Just remember this if you ever go to Vegas.”

  • CMJ

    Jezebel strikes again!! Ugh. You go in thinking maybe, just maybe…..NOPE.


  • Janok Place

    The Jezebel article brings victim shaming to a whole new level. Little girls are not molested because of the influence dolls have on their wardrobe. The way they choose to clothe themselves is not an invitation to be abused. They are abused because some sack of shit in their life is a pervert. I was a tom boy, 100%. People who didn’t know me assumed I was a boy. The boy’s in the neighborhood who I played with thought I was a boy for 2 years, I have a unisex name. I was molested for 7 years of my childhood, and being naive and you know… a CHILD I thought that maybe if I dressed like a boy he’d leave me alone. I was an elementary school child and this was my logic, it was wrong. She’s a damn adult, and not a very good one if she thinks girls are bringing this upon themselves. Barbie doesn’t make pedophiles, mental illness does.

    • Janok Place

      And I’d also like to add, what about little boys who fall victim of abuse. In all her wisdom, what possible logic does she have for that. Who’s to blame? G.I. Joe?

    • Sam Inoue

      I know right! Boys apparently aren’t influenced by toys like girls are according to the internet.

  • chickadee

    Her article had a really good point about the fact that girls’ toys often focus far too closely on appearance and tie imaginative play to appearance-based toys, but that sexual-abuse comment derailed her whole thesis with a big dose of WHAT??

  • pixie

    But Polly has the option to wear pants, too, doesn’t she?
    I remember when I was young I had the old-school type Polly Pockets, the one’s that came in little compact-type things where the doll was maybe an inch tall, if that, and you couldn’t change her clothes because they were painted on. When they started coming out with the bigger ones where you could change their clothes, I was kind of sad because by then I was considered “too old” for them. Luckily I have a cousin-type person who is 12 years younger than me and she had some for a while, so I did get to play with them. ;)

    • Kay_Sue

      I rocked those old school Polly Pockets too. They were the shiznit.

    • Kim

      Well the Polly Pocket in the picture accompanying this article is a pretty conservative dresser.

      I had the little ones too, I remember for, I think it was my 7th or 8th birthday my Nanna bought me this Polly Pocket mansion, it was a 6-storey house that you folded out, I remember my Mum looking at it and saying “That’s ridiculous, you can’t put that in your pocket”.

    • brebay

      Only lesbian Polly wears pants.

  • brebay

    Pedophilia existed before toys, and will persist if you removed all toys, TV, media from the world.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter


  • keelhaulrose

    Would it be worth pointing out that there are little girls being sexually abused in areas that have never seen any of these “slutty” dolls? How about we just place blame where blame is deserved: on the bastards who victimize children?

  • Kay_Sue

    I really tried to grasp the author’s point when I read this post yesterday, but…there just wasn’t anyway I could.

    The concept that sexual abuse, of any kind, is the fault of anyone other than the perpetrator of the abuse is ridiculous.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      The pink ghetto. all I can say.

    • Kay_Sue

      I know. I really tried to sympathize with her, I did. All I got for my effort was a headache.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      It was all bad, she managed to offend moms, women, sex workers, child abuse victims, victims of racism , ugh

    • Alicia Kiner

      I haven’t even read the article and I’m offended enough that I don’t WANT to read it. How dare this person associate sexual abuse with TOYS?! I mean, really? What pedophile sits there looking at the toys children are playing with? Get real!

  • TngldBlue

    I wonder what she blames for boys being sexually abused? He-man?

    • brebay

      Erector sets.

  • Mystik Spiral

    I didn’t think it was possible, but this is even worse than telling rape victims their clothing made the rape happen.

  • Sam Inoue

    Why is it thst like once a week there is an article about something like this, but much less often is there ever an article about the way boys toys make them do this and that, aside from video games for older kids. They are just toys, if you have healthy conversations with your kids about clothing and their bodies it is all good.

  • EX

    So, aside from being offensive to victims, I think what she’s said is just flat out wrong. Pedophiles aren’t attracted to young kids because they’re sexualized. They’re attracted to them because they’re not.

    • Simone

      Well, yes. Often pedophiles find it difficult to maintain adult relationships due to their complexity and the other’s autonomy – characteristics children have in lesser quantities.

      In addition, true pedophilia seems to be a hard-wired neural characteristic, not something that can be activated easily by the choice of clothing made by a young person.

  • RayneofCastamere

    I once had a bunch of fairy toys that were all naked except for a few strategically placed petals and now I dress in as little clothing as possible because of what I was taught by my doll overlords.

    Oh, wait. No I don’t. Because my toys were my toys and who I became as a person had little to do with them.

    And FUCK THAT ARTICLE WITH A BLENDER for putting the blame for sexual abuse on ANYTHING but the abuser. Nothing causes abuse except for abusers. They already make pathetic excuses using anything for their own actions, THEY DON’T NEED MORE HELP WITH THAT! Little boys and tomboys get abused as well, and it isn’t any more their fault than it is the girlier girls.

    Slut-shaming on adults is repulsive enough. Can we at least leave children out of it? Please?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter


  • EmmaFromÉire

    Yes, and my polly pocket dolls are also the reason I’m a midget.

    That ‘article’ makes for horrifying reading, what kind of depraved human being do you have to be to link an innocent toy to sexual abuse?

  • Simone

    What is the writer’s argument? Check me on this.

    A. Females who wear sexualised clothing are more likely to be sexually assaulted.
    B. Polly Pocket dollies and toys come with short skirts and tall boots and are therefore sexual.
    C. Little girls play with Polly Pocket dollies.
    Therefore D. Little girls are more likely to be sexually assaulted if they play with Polly Pocket dollies.

    Is that it? I know there are technically a few link points between C and D but I’m short on time. Because if that’s the argument, it’s wack.

  • Eileen

    If I recall correctly, Polly Pocket was more about the cool stuff her little pod thing could do than the doll itself, anyway.

    Jezebel can be so hit or miss on these issues; it’s kind of scary.

  • DatNanny

    I’ve stopped reading Jezebel. Frankly, they have a consistently disturbing view on sexual abuse of children. It was apparent in their article regarding Chris Brown being raped as an eight year old. I refuse to give them any site traffic.

  • FF4life

    All of my daughters barbies are naked… Should I be concerned?

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    The rest of this idiotic article aside, I nerdraged for a minute about her lumping The Hobbit in with sexist movies. One, that “movie” is based on a BOOK, and for two while there may be more male than female characters in the LOTR series as a whole, the female characters featured were very strong women who have stuck with me throughout all the years since I first read them.

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