I signed my daughter up for indoor soccer this season. The coach called me to invite me to a meeting of the parents and girls to determine the team colors and discuss when and where practices would be. As an after-thought she mentioned the team’s new name would be “The Bratz.”
“Bratz, you know like the dolls.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Well, no, it’s called the Bratz.”
“Do we have to call them the brats?”
“Well, we have to have a name.”
“Well, can’t we pick something positive? I would prefer about any other name than the Bratz. I mean, do we want to be yelling to our preschoolers, “Go Brats Go, be the best little brats you can be? I mean, I don’t even let my daughter play with those Bratz dolls and I certainly don’t want to encourage her to act like a brat or be a brat.”
“Well, no one else has looked at it like that, we can discuss it at the meeting and talk to the commissioner about changing the name.”
Okay, so I was a little apprehensive about going to the meeting yesterday. I even thought it might be easier to not let my daughter play soccer than face that poor coach who got an ear full of my anti-Bratz propaganda.
Really, I was concerned that this fellow mother would hate me for making such a big deal about this. I was also more than a little worried that I would handle the situation very poorly and look hysterical and crazy because they wanted to brand my daughter a brat. Then who would look like a brat? Me. And all the other parents would band against me and decide that I was just the trouble-maker who wouldn’t let anyone have any fun at all.
So, I go up to this strikingly beautiful woman at the meeting and introduce myself and the baby. Of course, hoping that the cute, fat baby would endear me to her. I even start up a banal conversation about whether or not she has to wear heals to work. Stupid and awkward.
The meeting starts and she says, “Okay, who hear objects to the name Bratz?”
I alone raised my hand high. Everyone looks around and I feel like caving to avoid this confrontation with every other parent on the team.”
“Look,” I said. “I’m very uncomfortable with this name because I don’t think we should be yelling Go Brats Go, Be the best little brat you can be. Brats Rule. I try all week long to NOT encourage my daughter to be a brat. I don’t want her to act like those dolls and I don’t let her dress like those dolls and I don’t even let her play with the dolls. I’m just very uncomfortable with the name.”
I was so grateful that I avoided saying they looked like whores who grew out of their clothes, which is what I usually say about those atrocious little beasts. And I didn’t get into the symbolism of why their heads are so freakishly large – to fit their self-absorbed massive egos inside. Little battles for maturity inside myself.
Several people had warned me that I had better come up with a better name to substitute and I so wish I had. Frankly, the entire rest of the meeting was awkward with parents trying to think up a better name – I suggested Kickers but it wasn’t cute enough. Someone suggested the Shortcakes, and I was agreeable. Then I suggested the Pink Panthers, but then it looked like there were several other teams with pink shirts and so we thought we should go with purple.
Every now and then some parent would glare at me and say, “Are you sure you don’t like the name Bratz?”
And I would shrug and say, “yeah, I just don’t think that’s a great name for our girls.”
A few parents wanted to point out that they don’t let their daughters wear the make-up or dress like that – they’re “just dolls.”
But, I guess that’s my problem, I don’t think they are just dolls. I think they’re a negative message about who the girls should emulate.
In the end we settled, quite unenthusiastically on Butterflies. Okay, nothing great about that, but nothing horrible about it either. Butterflies are nice, they embrace change and they are pretty and all the little four- and five-year-olds like butterflies.
Of course, the girls weren’t as enthusiastic about butterflies as they had been about the Bratz. But, then I figure the girls are enthusiastic about what Matel, or in this case MGA Entertainment markets to them, which doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.
I did volunteer to arrange all the snacks for the season and we’ll see if the other parents will hold a grudge or cooperate with my efforts.
I have to give props to the coach however. She was very nice when I went up and thanked her for volunteering to change the name. After all I am only one parent and they could have just shunned me. Hopefully the season will be a good experience for my daughter.
I do feel triumphant, if a little embarrassed, for standing up for what I believe even though it’s hugely unpopular and I want my daughter to learn to do that.