Fashion dolls have been around for a very long time now. Its earliest incarnations were Bisque dolls made in France and Germany during the mid-19th century. These were created using unglazed porcelain. Fast forward to the present time, contemporary figurines are produced out of different types of plastic. Manufactured either as a toy for children or a collectible for adults, its reason for existence never changes: to be dressed in order to reflect fashion trends. One name that has long been the figurehead of the fashion doll market is Barbie. Designed by the American toy company Mattel, Inc., shehas been the brand that others try to catch up to, if not equal with for over five decades now. Unfortunately, recent numbers show a significant decline in Barbie sales with a loss of $11.2 million in 2014. And this turnaround all points to the monster dolls of Monster High. So, how exactly is this happening? Kids These Days The 21st century is a major reason for this. With its various technological advances come a change in relatibility, especially for the children who were born in the new millennium. Their tastes and interests slowly shift from the classic and analog to the hip and digital. Just how many 3-6 year olds today can we see tinkering and playing with their parents’ phones and tablets with know-how comparable to adults? In this media-saturated age, child values inevitably shift just like the trends that influence it, which can explain the recent triumph of Monster High over Barbie. Story Time! Launched by Mattel in 2010, Monster High’s franchise offers an expansive line of products. Aside from its flagship toy dolls, it also includes bags, stationery, accessories, TV specials, movies, webisodes, and video games. With these bevy of merchandise goes a whole linear narrative that the children can follow, and this could be an edge Monster High has over Barbie. Pop culture also has a hand in this. The physical appearances and backgrounds of each character were inspired by various monster and sci-fi movies, as well as horror and thriller stories. These details set them apart from other fashion dolls available on the market. And with the numerous media franchises proliferating today telling stories about love struck vampires and zombies, it’s no wonder why children seem to gravitate from the classic to the complex sense of beauty. Flaunt Your Flaws It can be said that the brand’s message of celebrating one’s flaws, whether related to looks or personality, is Monster High’s prime highlight and selling point over its long-tenured rival. Barbie has long been an aspirational figure of uber-beauty for the young little girls, and with this she also has been criticized time and again by that seemingly unattainable standard.
The main characters of Monster High have their own individual imperfections. Frankie Stein has stitches that loosen at the worst possible times; Clawdeen Wolf’s fur grows back swiftly; Draculaura can’t see her reflection in the mirror; Cleo de Nile is a monster who’s afraid of the dark; Ghoulia Yelps can only speak zombie; and Lagoona Blue’s skin tends to dry out fast is she’s out of the water for a long time. The Ghoulfriends stay as BFFs amidst these blemishes and they find ways to excel in Monster High, which could also be a timely reminder now that bullying is such a contested and prevalent issue within the youth and their educational systems.
With that, it seems that Barbara Millicent Roberts has a lot of thinking and reflecting to do. Will she make a comeback? Check out our Monster High Collection: Monster High Ghouls Rule Locker Vanity Monster High Dawn of the Dance Frankie Stein Thoughts? Comments? Come share them below.