Gauthier: Disney girls gone wild

Deborah E. Gauthier

Bratz aren't allowed in my daughter's home, and no, I haven't misspelled the word. I'm referring to well-endowed, sleazily dressed, heavily-made-up dolls called Bratz. My 6-year-old granddaughter has been asking for one for two years.

There will be no Bratz in this house, says my daughter, and she's the boss, even of me, when it comes to her children.

She doesn't want her three daughters growing up to think it's OK to wear skirts short enough to show the edge of their underwear and makeup so thick they'd need a trowel to remove it. "I won't allow my children to dress like whores," she says, and she believes that's the lesson taught by Bratz.

I understand her concern, one of the reasons I've restrained myself from fulfilling Sarah's wish for a Bratz, even two weeks ago when she was hospitalized and deserving of something extra special. I settled on Bratz pajamas instead.

However, I think my daughter overlooks something far more insidious that risque dolls. They are live and in color Disney girls - among them Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Vanessa Anne Hudgens.

Two of the three mentioned above are famous today, the third well on her way, but their talent isn't the first thing that comes to mind when their names are mentioned. They are most famous for their addiction to drugs, alcohol and nudity.

I watch some of the programs featuring children, and I wonder what those child "stars" will be like in five or 10 years. Will Jamie Lynn Spears, chosen to receive Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Award in 2006, follow the lead of her sister Britney? Or will she learn from her sister's foolish mistakes?

Unless you've lived in a bubble these last two years, you know former Mickey Mouse Club member Britney, now 25, married, had two children, divorced, and spends more time in rehab facilities, courtrooms and nightclubs than she does on stage. She fights for custody of her children, but at the same time wears a dress so short... Well, at least Bratz dolls wear underwear.

Grandson #1 enjoys the music of Britney Spears, but I'm compelled to give a speech on the dangers of drugs and alcohol whenever her name is mentioned. She's no one to admire, I tell him. She's allowing drugs and alcohol to ruin her life.

Lohan, in the Disney movies she starred in as a child and then a teen, has played a variety of roles but always came across as a mischievous imp, as in "The Parent Trap," or a determined individual with a flair for the dramatic, as in "Herbie, Fully Loaded."

My grandchildren enjoy her movies, but I drag out my speech about drugs and alcohol whenever we watch one of her films. She's constantly in the news, not because of her career, but because of her addictions.

She's no one to admire; it's important that you not follow her example, I tell my grandchildren. She is beautiful, talented, and successful, but she's made a terrible choice and thrown it all away.

Now I read that Vanessa Anne Hudgens, who played the role of Gabriella in Disney's "High School Musical" and "High School Musical II," posed nude. In her apology, Hudgens, who is 18, said it was a "lapse in judgment" and Disney says they will still negotiate for her to star in "High School Musical III."

What is it about Disney girls? Do they deliberately act out when they come of age to counteract the wholesome goody-two-shoes persona they play on screen? I suspect a psychologist somewhere would agree that's as good a diagnosis as any. High-profile Disney girls seem determined to live their lives far removed from the morals and ethics touted in the movies and programs they've starred in, and that's unfortunate.

They could be good role models for our children. They choose to be just the opposite. Britney, Lindsey and Vanessa are Bratz live. They're the dolls that should be banned from our living rooms.

Deb Gauthier of The MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News can be reached by e-mail at dgauthie@cnc.com.