Every year there are lists of warnings for the year's worst toys, but I'm sure this year, there is hoopla over a pair of innocent children's toys. The irony is, people criticizing these toys are asking the manufacturers, "What were they thinking?" We know exactly what critics are thinking, and it is quite perverted.
"VIDEO GIRL BARBIE"
Barbie has always been the subject of many controversies over the years, from claims she promotes anorexia and sexuality to the fight over her "decision" to dump Ken and be single. No controversy is more asinine than the recent news story that "Video Girl Barbie" can be used for... wait for it... Production of Child Pornography! In fact, the FBI actually created a press release just to warn parents that Barbie could be a mule for child pornography pictures. "If we pair the doll with someone familiar to the child, a babysitter or a friend, then you have something that is fairly dangerous at play," stated forensic psychologist Dr. N.G. Berrill. The justification is sexual predators could potentially take hidden video of kids using this toy.
There are a few problems with this line of logic. First, the same argument could be made for video cameras in general, including webcams and cell phone cameras. Second, the camera cannot be run in secret. Video Girl Barbie is not a spy camera that can be run by remote control. Third, are we supposed to believe giving this toy to a little girl will compel her to take off her clothes and pose for Barbie? Somehow I find that hard to believe. Perhaps people assumed this toy is as complex as cameras costing hundreds of dollars, with delayed recording functions. However, I doubt this toy, even at $50 MRP, is that complex.
What's next? Maybe we'll have "Voyeur Barbie" complete with trenchcoat, puppy, and the Barbie Malibu Resty Van, with a "Kidnapping Ken" doll sold separately.
Who would have guessed a vibrating broomstick would cause such a fuss? Reports abound online that the Harry Potter vibrating broomstick was causing a lot of "problems." Consumers were reporting their children were becoming "addicted" to the toy, playing with it "for hours."
Apparently the toy was pulled off the shelves within weeks of its 2008 release. No word on whether these toys were ever sold in Alabama, where sex toys like vibrators have been banned for years.
Jelly Bracelet Sex Game" hoopla of the early 2000s (and supposedly making a comeback). While undoubtedly there are a small number of individuals who misuse a product, the amount of fear-mongering we devote to isolated incidents have been staggering. It is nothing new; after all, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the Dungeons and Dragons board game in the 1980s. The main difference is these days, we fear sex more than murder.
The bottom line-- at what point do we draw the line between genuine concern and witch hunting? Does a few isolated incidents equate to an "epidemic?" Many Americans seem to think so. Why stop there? Lets ban bicycles. They vibrate between a kid's legs when you ride them, and don't forget about roving bands of "smegglers."
So, this holiday season, watch out for Pedobear Santas bringing sackfuls of bicycles, Harry Potter vibrators, and Video Voyeur Barbies. Or, you can simply ignore the fear-mongers and just enjoy the holidays.