Worst toy of 2008: Barbie the cheerleader

Sex wins again, even among toys.

The results are in, as WalletPop is sure you've been waiting anxiously for them, for the worst toy of 2008 -- and the winner is a sexy Barbie doll dressed up as a cheerleader, complete with stiletto boots and halter top.

At least, this is what was voted Worst Toy in an online poll by the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, or CCFC, in its first TOADY Award, or Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children. It's theBarbie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Doll by Mattel, which retails for $79.99.

I wrote about this for WalletPop on Jan. 30, and have been waiting ever since for the winner. It's been a long two weeks.

According to CCFC's Web site, Barbie beat out four other entries for the inaugural TOADY by a vote of more than 6,000 CCFC members because it "embodies a host of harmful expectations about what girls are supposed to be like," according to CCFC's Director Dr. Susan Linn.

"When you combine two classic symbols of gendered stereotypes -- the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and Barbie -- you get one terrible toy," said CCFC steering committee member Joe Kelly on the Web site. "Do we really want to teach our young daughters that they belong on the sidelines, not in the game, and the way to get noticed is show a lot of skin?"

The doll wears short shorts, stiletto boots and a revealing halter top. Her impossibly long legs and dangerously thin body are out there for all to see in this skimpy outfit.

CCFC co-founder Dr. Diane Levin, said on CCFC's Web site that the Bratz dolls get a lot of negative attention, but the cheerleader Barbie doll contributes to the sexualization of young children and "teaches girls to focus on their appearance, to aspire to an eating-disordered body, and to play at being sexy before they're even capable of understanding what sexy means."

Sexy cheerleader Barbie beat out four other toys in the race for worst toy of 2008 with 40% of the vote, followed by : A Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade by Fisher Price with 21% of the vote, Smart Cycle by Fisher Price with 19%, Baby Alive Goes Potty by Hasbro at 10%, and Lego Batman Video Game by Warner Bros with 10%.

According to CCVC, each TOADY nominee was "selected for epitomizing one or more of the troubling commercial trends of the toy industry, such as marketing sex and/or violence to young children, promoting brands and screen time at the expense of creative play, and encouraging excessive and conspicuous consumption."

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net

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