Bad taste: Voodoo fashion for teens

Sunday Mail (Australia), Dec. 2, 2002
By Education Reporter NHADA GOODFELLOW

A voodoo doll for teenage girls – sold with pins and “malicious” spells – has caused outrage among school teachers and principals.

The product, which has with it a set of instruction cards and 17 pins, has already been deemed “inappropriate” and confiscated from students at one of Adelaide’s most prestigious girls’ schools.

The $14.95 green doll packages – available from fashion retailer Sportsgirl – encourage buyers to cast spells on people they dislike.

As well as pins, the package includes spells such as how to ruin a party, break up lovers, make someone go away, or give someone bad breath.

To break up lovers, the buyer is encouraged to decorate the doll with a picture of each person and chant “I don’t ever want to see your face again” while “plunging the pins in the heart of the voodoo doll”.

Wilderness School principal Carolyn Grantskalns, who has banned the product, labelled the dolls “disgusting” and said they encouraged bullying.

“These dolls give totally negative messages – most of which would be misunderstood by young people – and are designed to make money out of children,” she said yesterday.

“At a time when we should be talking about peace and harmony, these dolls represent all that is wrong with the world.”

Ms Grantskalns said the dolls also fed a belief that young people could not manage their own life unless they used voodoo and witchcraft, and urged that they be withdrawn from sale immediately.

“It’s not appropriate for people to wish ill on other people and that’s what the doll is about,” she said.

“We are not going to create a better world by creating objects like that.”

She described the spells as “malicious” and said they would encourage bullying.

SA Primary Principals Association president Leonie Trimper said relationship issues were “critical” for adolescents, and this sort of merchandise was inappropriate for them.

“Adolescents need support and constructive ways of dealing with their emotions – not this nonsense,” she said.

“It’s hard to fathom the thinking of people who develop such items.”

Australian Education Union state president John Gregory said for some children, the doll would be “equivalent to playing with fire”.

“They are not mature enough to understand what they’re doing, and for a very small minority there’s a risk it’ll lead to anti-social behaviour and silliness.”

The spell to ruin a party involves sticking pins in the doll’s eyes and chanting “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”.

Adelaide representatives of Sportsgirl yesterday would not comment on the product and referred The Advertiser to the company’s Melbourne office.

No one in Melbourne was available for comment.

Wilderness boarders Fiona Graney, 15, Matilda Jackson, 16, and Catherine Pegler, 16, saw the dolls while browsing in Sportsgirl yesterday.

Matilda described the instruction cards as “strange” and “weird”.

“I think that some younger kids could be affected by it in a negative way,” she said.

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