The banning of the Eminem dolls

A series of three Eminem dolls ( Marshall Mathers- Eminem- Slim Shady) hit the stores in July 2001. The three dolls exactly look like Eminem. The New York based company, « Art Asylum » has created the dolls.

The Marshall Mathers doll representents Eminem wearing a D12 bandana with accessories like his doomed car.
The Eminem doll represents Eminem as a rapper wearing his white jacket. The accessories include Stan’s desk.
But the most controversial action figure is certainly the third one : the Slim Shady doll. Slim Shady, scarier as ever, brandishes his chainsaw and he is ready to break the picnic table.
Carlos Espada, the spokesman for « Art Asylum » said about the dolls :
« Eminem loves them. His management loves them. They actually have his branding. »
Eminem’s spokesman, Dennis Dennehy at Interscope said Eminem believed the dolls would be fun for his fans. And Eminem was right about it : his fans love them too.

Who would have thought that even the Eminem doll could cause some controversy ?
One of the biggest toy sellers in the UK, Woolworth, decided to ban the Eminem doll from their shop. In fact, the doll is seen as « visually controversial », particularly the « Slim Shady doll », because it had the all the tattoos of the artist and the chainsaw.

http://www.shine.com/new_music_beatbox.cfm?content_id=up_in_smoke

http://www.sohh.com/thewire/read.php?contentID=2401

People are shocked by the tatoo that is on Eminem’s right wrist, but they seem to ignore what is exactly tatooed on it. I found « Cut Here » in two different articles instead of « Slit Me ».
While Woolworth and Hamleys refused to sell the dolls, Tower Records found them cool and were ready to sell them :
“We think they’re pretty cool.”

Woolworth may have banned the doll, but they intended to continue selling Eminem’s albums, because appearently the doll is more « visually » aggressive than the lyrics. There is a big contradiction with the shop owner’s attitude as far as I am concerned : whether you ban everything or you allow everything.
You cannot sell Eminem’s albums as non offensive and describe the Slim Shady doll as offensive. The most intelligent attitude would certainly be a liberal attitude that would let the customer decide if he wants to buy the product or not rather than banning it from the market.
What is so terrible with that Eminem doll ? If parents allow their kids to buy an armed « Action Man », why should they forbit them the Slim Shady doll with a chainsaw ? It is ridiculous. Kids need a little bit of aggressivity around them. Boys in particular are fond of war games. Playing with the Eminem doll won’t make criminals of them. We should trust our kids, because they are clever enough to make a difference between a character and a real person.
Once I went to the cinema to see the Harry Potter movie and a mom whose boy was around 8 was afraid that the movie could shock her 8 years old son. Jesus ! How could she even think like that ? Kids even need to escape from reality from time to time and to dream about imaginary worlds like Hogwarts where monsters and strange creatures live. Danger and violence are components of our daily reality and the real danger is to hide them to kids as if they didn’t exist.
Kids need to be prepared to reality : our world is far from sugarcoated.

The selling of the Eminem doll has been debated on a website :

Relax a little : Eminem dolls are harmless. They won’t make big criminals of your kids. When my youngest son asked me for an Eminem doll for Christmas 2001, I have bought it to him with pleasure. He was only 6 years old, but believe me, he was able, even then, to make a difference between a doll and a real person. And if I allow him to play with « Action Man » why should I forbid him to have an Eminem doll.

9 thoughts on “The banning of the Eminem dolls”

  1. I believe the toy is not appropriate for children. Believing that all
    children have the kinds of parents that will discuss any discrepencies in
    behavior with them is unrealistic. I dont believe any toy, as violent as
    the Slim Shady doll should be marketed to children. Other toys, such as
    the wolverine, do not have the same effect, violence-wise, as the Slim
    Shady doll, and this is becuase children can see that the child lives in a
    make-believe world where animals fight crime and always come out the hero.
    However, the Slim doll is an actual depiction of a human containing human
    emotion and dealing with human issues. This doll lives in the real world.
    Children are already plagued with violent and hyper-sexual images on
    television every day. While marketers may believe that this doll will
    surely make large profits, simply for its radical hyper-voilent image, it
    ignores the fact that childrens minds are succeptible to these images.
    The messages we send our children should not be
    violence towards women (it is a well known fact that the target of Eminems
    rage is his ex-wife), and uncontrollable violent behavior. Instead
    children should be able to live their childhood without being thrust
    prematuraly into the “real” world. Childhood is a short and precious part
    of human existance, as well as a very critical growing time, mentally.
    Exposing the human brain to images before it knows how to appropriately
    categorize those images puts the child in danger of having a distorted
    view of what reality and adult interaction should and does encompass.
    There is a great reason for making a movie rated R or a toy inappropriate
    for children, because a child’s mind is not ready to cope with and sort
    out the “right” way of thinking and behaving. Children deserve a lot of
    credit for their intelligence, understanding complex human emotion comes
    in stages. Because an adult with a child can see that the doll is just
    funny and different is not reason
    to assume that their child sees things the same way, no matter what the
    child says.

    Lets not push “the real world” on our children before they are effectively
    and conceptually able to sort it out. Childhood is a delicate time in a
    persons life, the ability to conceptualize happens in different
    devolopmental stages, not at 6 years old. What may be appropriate for an
    adult is not for a child because their brain lacks this ability. The
    likely result of over-stimulation can result in an adult who lacks the
    ability to sort out between what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior
    in their own lives and to those lives around them. All parents are
    concerned with their childs well-being and educating their children, yet
    many adults raising these children do not know enough about childrens
    needs and abilities. Taking a childhood development course at a college
    or studying up about it online is a great way to better understand why
    children can not handle certain massages at certain ages. A great book to
    also read is ‘The Other Parent’ by James P. Steyer. Parenting is more
    than feeding, and clothing a child, and it is not about treating them as a
    mental equal. I think some parents do not realize this though. I hope
    you do not take this email the wrong way, as a parent you are entitled to
    raising your children how you feel appropriate, but I do hope you can see
    the value and importance in preserving such a short stage in their lives
    and how much of an important growing stage it is. What we teach our
    children now, especially how their parents endorse it, leaves an imprint
    of how he or she should see and react to the world as adults.

    Thankx.

  2. Wow!!! So much theory about kids. Did you read that in a psychiatrist’s book. Please, get a sense of reality? Do you have kids?

    I can tell you that both of my kids whop are both big Eminem lovers are balanced. I don’t hide reality to them and they are grateful to me for that. Listening to Eminem or playing with his doll hasn’t endangered them nor changed their behavior…
    Stop reading too much theory and be closer to reality, try to have a good common sense.

  3. i think that the doll is totaly harmless its perthetic banin it from shops if people want 2 buy them they should b able 2 i’ve been after 1 for ages but couldnt get hold of 1 coz they wanted 2 ban them i’ve finaly managed 2 get hold of 1 but it wouldav been alot easyer if they didnt ban them. kids can make up there own minds wot they like and wot they dont and if parents dont like it then tough i think the doll is wicked i love it.

  4. sup………… in wa u cant find ne eminem dolls u assholes use r lucky 2 have dem if i cud find 1 id buy 1

  5. ahahahahah det aint even ma real email is ma frenz lol wtf was de doll gon do? teach dem 2 b gay u dumbasses dun ban it i want it n ima get it sooo fuk off n do yow petition sum were else eminem is ma fuking dawggggggg n he deserves respect n de doll

    2 ma Dawg eminem i luv ya
    4 rizzzle peace out

  6. Well, i would love to have a eminem doll just because i love eminem. And if people dont like them then they dont haft to buy their kids the dolls duhhhhhhhhhhh. So please dont ruin other peoples dream. They got dollz of wrestling people and the olsen twins and nsync and also the backstreet boys and also the rappers. so dont ruin it for others like me and other million people in the world.

  7. Oh,common.I really love the Eminem toys.But I have 2 but 1 never came out.Now I’m having broken toys because they were thrown around so much.So basically,I’ve been ripped off by eBay.That stinks man,it really does.I wanted the Marshall Mathers figure so badly.It the picture made me laugh.Please put them back in stores so I can get them without them breaking so easily.I’m a die-hard Eminem fan.
    The biggest Eminem fan,
    JJ

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