Mum slams trading cards for featuring baby dressed like ‘prostitute’

(Picture: Kennedy News)

A mum has blasted the makers of the children’s LOL Surprise! trading cards, claiming they sexualise kids after discovering images of children dressed ‘like prostitutes and wearing BDSM gear’.

Victoria Bianchi, 30, took the ‘offending’ card away from her four-year-old daughter Iona Bianchi-Overend after spotting the Lady Gaga-inspired ‘Goo-Goo Queen’ depiction last month.

The drawing, which appears to imitate the Oscar winner’s ‘Telephone’ outfit, shows a toddler-like character wearing a crop top, hot pants, fishnet tights, leather jacket and knee-high boots topped with drinks can hair rollers.

Drama and education lecturer Victoria argues the ‘problematic BDSM-infant’ images may lead to young girls wanting to dress that way and see themselves as sexualised from too young an age.

MGA Entertainment Inc said the L.O.L. Surprise! Range is a creative representation of inclusivity and diversity for girls and boys and that the ‘BDSM’ look was ‘OK’ as it showed everyone was unique.

Victoria, from Glasgow, Scotland, said: ‘It’s so wildly inappropriate for that image to exist but also the fact that it’s marketed to little kids – predominantly girls – too.

‘It’s definitely supposed to be Lady Gaga from the Telephone video. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lady Gaga but for most of that video she’s barely got any clothes on.

(Picture: Kennedy News)

‘It’s one thing to wear it if you’re a grown-up singer but that’s just not an outfit for little children to be wearing.

‘If you’re going to feature babies on these cards, at the very least just dress them like babies.

‘If you’re going to have them in a nappy, don’t also dress them so sexually in bondage gear.

‘In my years as a parent I’ve seen some things targeted towards little girls but that has got to be one of the most messed up ones I’ve ever seen.’

The image was found in a £1 pack of L.O.L Suprise! Cards Victoria bought at the Byres Road branch of Waitrose in Glasgow on 19 February.

Iona had initially asked for a magazine but Victoria, mindful of the cost and plastic, said no and suggested a small pack of trading cards instead.

Mum-of-one Victoria said: ‘Iona wanted a magazine but she can’t read yet so there was no point her having a magazine.

‘They’re so expensive too, I wouldn’t spend £4.50 on a magazine on myself, never mind a four year old that can’t read.

(Picture: Kennedy News)

‘She really likes the little cards and asked if she could get a wee pack of cards and picked these.

‘I’ve never got her the dolls so I didn’t really know what to expect I just thought they were little dolls for kids.

‘The trading cards were with the magazines and cost around £1, they’re cheap and at eye level where kids can see them.

‘I thought I was doing the economic and ecological thing not buying the magazine with all this plastic but when I opened them up I saw this and another dressed in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s outfit they looked slightly weird.

‘They look like toddlers but are dressed in fishnets and leathers or as a prostitute from a famous book, I just can’t understand it.

‘They’ve got big eyelashes, they look like they have makeup on and it’s super pink and super gender normative.

‘That’s a problem I know is harder to fight but in this case at the very least just dress them like babies.

‘I want to know what they were thinking when they made this baby dressed in fishnets, a crop top and leather.

‘How many layers of decision making did that have to go through before it appeared on the shelves? So many people must have signed that off.’

(Picture: Kennedy News)

Victoria took the Goo-Goo Queen card away as she didn’t think it was appropriate for Iona, explaining to her that the character was wearing an outfit unsuitable for children.

Victoria said: ‘When I saw these cards, which are targeted at very young girls with sparkly and brightly-coloured packaging, I was absolutely horrified.

‘I took that one off her and said she couldn’t have it, she wanted it because she liked the sparkles on it.

‘There are certain things that are difficult to explain to a four-year-old, so I just said it wasn’t an outfit that any little children should be wearing.

‘She mentioned it a few times throughout the day but she’s forgotten about it now. If she was a little bit older I would have explained the idea a bit more.

‘She’s pretty strong willed so I think in a few years I would have had a fight on my hands.

‘This brand is wildly popular with children and if you’re fed these images at such a young age, you don’t question them you just think ‘that’s fine’.

‘I think it also strengthens the idea of sexuality being something that starts way too young and it ties into the idea that it’s really sexy to be young and attractive – something that is so pervasive in our culture.

‘It will probably lead to young girls wanting to dress like that for one thing and probably see themselves as sexualised much earlier than they should and this is the kind of thing that will stay with them into adulthood.’

Isaac Larian, CEO and founder of MGA Entertainment Inc., said: ‘Our LOL Surprise! dolls are a creative representation of inclusivity and diversity for girls and boys. We believe, that just like real people, each LOL Surprise! doll has its own distinct characteristics, including personalities, styles and skin tones.

‘We purposely do not design our dolls to ‘fit a mould’ as we do not want our products to dictate how girls or boys should look and/or act because societal norms say so.

‘LOL Surprise! dolls show that everyone is unique in their own special way – and that’s OK!’

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