Saturday, January 24, 2009
Obama Girls are Real Dolls
(Crain’s) — The nation’s first daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, have joined the ranks of Barbie, Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake. Ty Inc., maker of Beanie Babies, released “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” dolls earlier this month as part of its TyGirlz Collection. Westmont-based Ty launched the line in 2007.
In our culture of celebrity, how can new First Lady Michelle Obama think her daughters will escape our American fascination? Yes, it’s celebrity by association but celebrity nonetheless.
Sasha and Malia Obama are cute enough for the genius who brought us Beanie Babies to name a couple of TyGirlz, “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha.” According to Crain’s Chicago Businesss, at first a spokeswoman “confirmed that the dolls were created to resemble President Barack Obama’s daughters.” The next day that changed to, “They were not designed to look like any living person.” Really? It’s not hard to argue who might have inspired the name choice. I’ll grant lawyer-mom Michelle that.
However, despite potential legal issues this is a bit extreme. Mom, pick your battles. There will likely be bigger issues with protecting the girls than this--more egregious examples that do warrant attention. The dolls are not offensive and if they inspire sales for a Chicagoland company, isn’t that helping the local economy?
Most of the folks at the Huffington Post disagree with me. I read one page of comments and found one sole TyGirlz defender who said her daughters liked the dolls. Of course, everyone else seemed to jump all over her. Maybe y'all should go after Dover Publications and others making money on the Obamas. I prefer to concentrate on real matters of national importance. Let us not lose the focus that lead to Obama's election as President by silly and distracting diversions like this.