On Monday the charges flew: They were called little "stripper dolls" that encourage children to "engage in eroticized play."
By Wednesday, Hasbro's planned release of "The Pussycat Dolls," a line of toys based on the all-female pop group of the same name, was canceled.
Hasbro, Inc., famous for such innocuous toys as My Little Pony figurines, isn't saying much. In a statement, the Rhode Island company said the older age group targeted by the recording group meant that making a doll line was "inappropriate."
But for critics, the move is a major victory that could renew efforts by parents and other consumer advocates to challenge products they say devalue girls and women, even in the face of billion-dollar marketing machines.
"It's really important to know that corporations can be stopped; it really underscores the importance of people working together to stop commercial exploitation of children," says Susan Linn, the cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which spear-headed a letter-writing effort with the national nonprofit Dads & Daughters. "[The Pussycat Dolls] was a ratcheting up of the kind of precocious irresponsible sexuality that is being marketed to little girls."
"Pussycat Dolls" designed for young girls and modeled after the music group, with their risqué style and smash hit "Don't Cha" that includes the lyrics, "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me; Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?" seems a world away from the unblemished bubble of Barbie's Dream House.