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Monday, September 08, 2014

Why Is There Always a Fashion Girl?



Why does there always have to be a "fashion girl" in every poorly developed marketing plan aimed at young females?  I don't think they have any idea who girls are these days.  I feel like they're just following tradition.  I have two daughters.  I've seen a lot of birthday parties.  I've seen them and their friends play.  I've NEVER seen them doing anything close to designing outfits or matching clothes or sewing or anything like what they think.  Sometimes they put on princess dresses, but that's it.  And that's not what I'd call coordinating outfits.

Claudia in The Babysitter's Club.  Jade from Bratz (and probably a ton of others).  Prize Popple.  Stella from Winx Club.  Rachel from Animorphs.  Clawdeen from Monster High.  Rosetta from Disney Fairies.  They have all these personality quirks to distinguish themselves, but I can't tell one fresh-faced white or semi-white teen from another.

I've got a Lego Friends book, where the five friends try to get Andrea ready "for a show"... for the one song she wrote.  Everyone makes posters or food.  And of course, the fashion girl makes her an outfit.  And says things like "it's so you" and "you look and sound great."  In "Barbie: I Can Be... A Rock Star", there's, of course, one of her friends who makes her outfit.  Can you tell me which scene they make the outfits in School of Rock, This is Spinal Tap, A Hard Day's Night, or Walk the Line?  Or did that end up on the cutting room floor?

There's a few aversions -- Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she was meant to be an antagonist.  The Fashion Club in Daria, also meant as a oppugnant.  And every once in a while, a girl in a sitcom, usually on ABC Family or The Disney Channel, makes some comment about "those orange pants with a blue shirt?  As if."  But these are one-shots or well-developed characters -- they had some thought put into them.  More than some stuffed shirt marketing team.


The one exception to this is Rarity, from MLP:FiM.  She designs and sews dresses, she's obsessed with how people look, but it's more than just "this is a thing females do apparently".  She's determined to make people happy, even above what she knows is better.  There's a whole episode where she's caught between using her expertise and pleasing her audience.

Also, she's the only creative person in the lot.  Most fashionistas are also obsessed with shopping and shoes and matching and combining outfits.  Rarity is actually trying to channel creativity into her designs.  She makes her stuff.  She doesn't rely on the creativity of others.  Somehow, Lauren Faust was able to turn this memo from corporate into a full-fledged character whose ambition revolves around fashion.

But all the rest of you?  For shame.  Shame for not understanding what girls like, how to appeal to them, for not taking five minutes to talk to a girl to actually find out what they like.

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