What the hell happened to Strawberry Shortcake? It wasn't enough for Dora the Explorer to hit puberty in 2009 and ditch the backpack and sneakers for earrings and mane of glossy hair, the toymakers have now decided to glam up Strawberry Shortcake too.
She's now longer and leaner, wearing tighter clothes and has plumper, pinker lips. Her hair, just like Dora's, is a long shiny mane, only for some bizarre reason completely unrelated to strawberries (which are RED), Shortcake's is HOT PINK. Freckles are out. Eyelashes are in. And in slyly re-launching an old favorite as shinier, skinnier, more glamorous, and more girly, young girls inevitably absorb all of these messages regarding appearance and desirability.
What kind of market research goes into these decisions I wonder? Does anyone actually ask 5 year old girls what changes they would like to see? I'm pretty sure that a research panel of 1st graders didn't give them the idea to trade Shortcake's cute kitten companion in for a text-ready cell-phone.
The marketing corporations have a lot to answer for.