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Jeanne Beker is a Bratz Doll

March 31st, 2008     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

I’m going to admit right here and now that Jeanne Beker is a bit of a hero of mine. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of fashion, and ever since I was younger I admired how the Canadian television personality, author and newspaper columnist could glide effortlessly into a runway show and chat up every Vogue editor and designer as if she was their best friend from high school. For the fashionistas among us, watching Beker have a casual chat with Valentino or Betsey Johnson is simply a joy to behold.

Beker’s got a pretty amazing professional history. She launched the ground-breaking music magazine show The NewMusic the same year I was born, was honorary chair of Toronto’s annual Fashion Cares and Gilda’s Club, and she was honoured with the prestigious Crystal lifetime achievement award by Women in Film and Television. She’s covered fashion and lifestyle news for Citytv, FashionTelevisionChannel and The Globe and Mail, and regardless of what you think of fashion as an industry, you have to admit she’s certainly a well-respected journalist in her field who is consistently doing groundbreaking work in mainstream women’s media.

And now she’s a Bratz doll.

On March 19 at Diesel Kids’ premiere Toronto runway show at Nathan Philips Square, Jeanne launched her highly anticipated second book Passion for Fashion: Careers in Style (Tundra Books). She has also partnered with BratzT to bring her book to an entirely new audience of young fashionistas - the Bratz doll fans. Jeanne and Bratz unveiled the new Bratz Fashion Reporter Doll which was inspired by Jeanne and comes packed with a copy of Jeanne’s new book. The doll’s name? ‘Jeanne B’ of course.

The Jeanne B doll is the first ever Bratz doll inspired by a real-life celebrity. I have to apprehensively ask - could this be a positive thing? Despite my contempt for Bratz dolls and the way they completely sexualize, minimize and limit the identities of young women and girls, could this new doll be a step in the right direction? Could it even be empowering young girls through a doll that represents a successful, smart and respected female role model?

Or, does Beker’s association with the line of dolls actually belittle all of the work that she’s done in her field by turning her into a characture? The fact that this entire partnership was ridiculous was my first reaction, and then I was surprised and offended that such an important, and in my mind, feminist woman has been (or agreed to be) turned into a doll. I’ve written about strange partnerships in the past, and my love for Beker is certainly making me try to see the good in a “professional Bratz doll,” but my contempt for the Bratz message means I just can’t get on board.

The next real-life depiction venture for Bratz Dolls? A new line of America’s Next Top Model Dolls.

“‘America’s Next Top Model’ is more than about being beautiful. It’s about being your best and fulfilling your dreams, which isn’t necessarily to be a top model,” (CBS) said. “These dolls, like the show, are meant to inspire young girls and to nurture their dreams.”

Guilty pleasure or not, I’m gagging.

Tags: news flash

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