The Evolution of Strawberry Shortcake

Well, this little series is starting to feel like The Stepford Wives (1975, of course).

“Strawberry Shortcake!” my mother said. “Has it happened to her, too?”

It’s like that scene in The Stepford Wives right before Joanna stabs robot-Bobbie. (It’s happened to her, too!)

Anyway, I had one of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls when I was little–it was Lemon Meringue, actually, and it was one of those weird dolls that you can give a bottle and she almost instantly pees out its contents. But she smelled like lemon with an almost-everlasting lemon smell.

original 1981 (ish) Strawberry Shortcake poster

line up of the original (early 1980s) dolls

original Strawberry Shortcake doll

I think Strawberry Shortcake and friends were among the first toys to be cross marketed with TV shows and other merch: sticker books, etc.

The company changed hands in 1991 and there was a bit of a redesign:

1991 Strawberry Shortcake. Still very round, still child (even baby) like.

1991 cartoon Strawberry Shortcake. Definitely slimmer and taller.

Around 2002, Strawberry Shortcake changed hands again:

2002 Strawberry Shortcake doll.

But 2006 saw even further updating, with McDonald’s Happy Meal toys and a movie, for goodness’ sake:

How is it that designers depicting gardens and such never seem to have visited actual gardens?

2006 Strawberry Shortcake doll.

2006 movie.

contemporary doll (via

To sum up:

Then. And now.

Why does a fanciful, friendly rag doll have to be turned into a sexy, skinny pre-teen?

Are we witnessing the Disney-princessification of everything?

{You may enjoy the other posts in this series-of-sorts: The Evolution of My Little Pony, Candy Land, Morton Salt & Coca-Cola, and G.I. Joe}

13 thoughts on “The Evolution of Strawberry Shortcake

  1. Is every kids’ doll turning into Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver?

    And another thing that I find disturbing is actually in the original doll line-up: only one doll of color. “Hey kids! Collect all the dolls! You can start by making sure to own all 17 of the little white girls, and then you can buy the one African-American girl who brings up the end!”



  2. This makes me so sad. :-( Apple Dumpling was my favorite. I wonder if they changed him too or if the boy got a pass.

    • Huckleberry Pie was the boy. I think Apple Dumpling was a baby/little kid in the original series which means she came after the original gang of 4 or 5 dolls. Of course I’m probably older than you to remember that ;-)

    • Huckleberry Pie was the boy in the group. I think Apple Dumplin’ was a younger character than came after the original 5 or so characters. Of course I’m older than you so I’m probably remembering the 1st edition of these toys!

  3. Pingback: The Evolution of Polly Pocket « Eat With Joy!

  4. Pingback: Why It Matters Whether a Toy is Thin and Sexy (Or Not) « Rachel Marie Stone

  5. Pingback: The Evolution of Minnie Mouse « Rachel Marie Stone

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