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.

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