To me, the timing is no accident. This is Scholastic sending the ALA a message: "Take a hike, ALA. Keeping sexually inappropriate material from children is neither book banning nor censorship. Others may be intimidated by you, but we are not."
- "Bratz Books Expelled from US School Book Suppliers; Scholastic to Stop Distributing 'Sexualised' Stories for Young Girls to Schools," by Alison Flood, The Guardian, 19 September 2008, and
- "Bratz Books Expelled From US School Book Suppliers," by Blake, LISNews, 22 September 2008.
"Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008
Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children.
Bratz books are a spinoff from the line of female dolls, which are often clothed in miniskirts, bikinis, fishnet stockings and boas.
In a statement released Friday, Scholastic said its decision to remove the Bratz books did not stem from the parental campaign but instead claimed that its offerings "change all the time."
The company admitted it had been the target of a "couple of thousand" e-mails from concerned parents, following an initiative by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in 2007.
Thousands of parents e-mailed Scholastic to complain that it was "marketing precocious sexuality to young girls in schools."
A report last year from the American Psychological Association said that "the objectified sexuality presented by these dolls … is limiting for adolescent girls and even more so for the very young girls who represent the market for these dolls."
"We're not interested in banning books," Susan Linn, psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood coalition, told the Guardian newspaper.
"What we think is that there should not be commercialism in schools and that when schools market a product to children it is particularly effective. First, because it's a captive market, and second, because it carries extra weight — even if children don't like school, they know it's meant to be good for them."
At the time Scholastic offered the books, the company had said the titles featured "strong, capable girl characters" and were aimed at children who didn't like to read.
MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the Bratz dolls, has previously said its line of dolls stand for "passion, self-expression and the importance of friendship."
Copyright CBC News 2008. Reprinted for Copyright Fair Use educational purposes.