A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain, not inform.
Promotes "expressing yourself" through artistic pursuits (in this case, however, the artistic pursuits involve clothing design and decorating for a prom). Underlying message: for this crew of mini-fashionistas makeup, clothes, boys, and having fun are life's top priorities. Jade sums it up when she says that "doubting my own sense of fashion is like losing one of the five senses: seeing, hearing, etc." And, "a salon is the one place we always have fun."
Positive Role Models
These teen dolls animated as DVD characters are obsessed with their looks, shopping, and boys. Heavy makeup, thin bodies with breasts, big heads, doe-eyes, and the girls' movements have given rise to concerns about early sexualization. An effort has been made to include diverse ethnic identities, but in this first Bratz DVD, the differences are barely discernible. On the positive side, girls' friendship and loyalty to one another is admirable.
Violence & Scariness
To avoid a skunk in the middle of the road, the Bratz car swerves, careens down a hillside and lands in the woods. No one is hurt.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Other than some flirting and ogling, there's no overt sexual activity. However, the Bratz teens themselves are sexualized: they wearing skimpy clothing (including tiny bikinis and lots of bare midriffs), walk with exaggerated sexuality, and giggle and pout in the presence of boys.
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Products & Purchases
Cross-promotion with the entire Bratz franchise: dolls, toys, accessories, clothes, and even some home furnishings.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while Bratz: Video: Starrin' & Stylin' is directly marketed to young girls and tweens, the sexualized teen characters send a negative message to young viewers about how they should act and what is supposed to be important to them. Applying make-up, dressing-up, shopping, and posing for pictures are the Bratz girls' constant activities in this movie. The Bratz girls are drawn with doe-eyes, breasts, thin but curvy bodies, and large heads and they flirt when in the presence of boys. There's an attempt to be ethnically diverse, but the visual differences in this first of the Bratz DVDs are very subtle. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The animation is simplistic (the Bratz have no noses in this early effort); characters are almost interchangeable; and the story is uninspired and generic. There's very little plot and much of the time is spent on visual images of the Bratz in various outfits and poses while shopping in a mall, getting ready for the prom, and visiting a spa.
Taking advantage of many girls' developing interest in fashion, makeup, and style, Bratz movies are simply a hard-sell, skin-deep marketing tool. Later Bratz DVDs include confusing stories with some scary villains, dark magic, and danger. Starrin' & Stylin' is only mildly offensive in comparison.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.