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This Disney Princess Talk and View Camera has to count as something of a low point in terms of the years' and years' and years' worth inappropriate gifts we've received for the sprog, which is really saying something because it's competing in a playing-field that features a whole range of ghastly plastic electronic monstrosities that we've been given out of the V-Tech stable, not to mention a 'Dora the Explorer' dolly that came in the post recently, which looked about the face a bit more like something you might expect to purchase in a plain wrapper from one of those dodgy shops in Soho.
While the Talk and View Camera - which comes in one colour, which is silver and pink - is just as spine-chillingly awful as an X-rated 'Dora', it is of course dreadful in its own unique way. It's basically one of those toys with eyepieces that you hold up to the light, and on clicking a button, you see through the viewfinder - in this case - cartoon images of (urrggh...) various insipid Disney Princesses. There's Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast', Princess Aurora (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Snow White, Aerial the Little Mermaid and in what's presumably a belated bid for multi-cultural appeal, Princess Jasmine from 'Alladin'.
The worst thing about this Disney Camera, I feel, is that it also talks. You press a button and it makes such edifying observations as: 'how beautiful!' 'Oh, you look wonderful!' and 'You're as pretty as a princess!" It's got one of those total-security kid-proof covers over the batteries, so it'll take you ages of effort with a mini-screwdriver and two replacement AAA batteries to keep it spouting out nonsense of this type (as if anyone would really want to do something as stupid as that).
The camera comes with a little sparkly purple case with pink piping and a decorative beadwork tassel, which is I suppose quite natty apart from the godawful montage of useless simpering 'Disney Princesses' it's got on it. I'd say it deserves to be set on fire on principle, just for that. While I never got this camera out of the packet before selling it on Ebay, we were also sent a Disney Princess mobile phone from this range at the same time (though unfortunately I wasn't able to extract the phone from the sprog's hot little hand in time to sell it on Ebay before it broke.) The mobile phone case looked to be constructed in quite a similar way to the Talk & View camera case - and the string of beads on the phone case came apart relatively quickly. I mention this because of the beading on the Talk & View camera case: this really is a product not suitable for younger children, as if it's anything like the toy mobile phone the beads are not very securely attached, and could thus come loose and be swalllowed / choked on.
I don't think Disney princesses, which are all prime examples of stereotyped female passivity, are suitable role models for anyone, especially little girls. The packaging round the toy suggests it's suitable for children over the age of three only, which I think is still a bit young to be indoctrinating them with a sense of self-worth that relates only to their physical appearance.
I was horrified to learn that this pinnacle-of-ghastliness-reaching aberration costs £8 from Toys'R'Us, which would be ridiculously overpriced even for anyone who actually wanted to welcome such a plastic piece of nefarious-propaganda-indoctrinating clunky tat into their lives. £8! The relatives who sent us it was clearly robbed.