Toys thrown out of pram as first lady accuses firm of exploiting daughters


FIRST LADY Michelle Obama, who has described herself “first and foremost . . . Malia and Sasha’s mom,” has criticised a company that has made Beanie Babies dolls called after her daughers. The dolls are called Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia.

“We feel it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes,” Ms Obama’s press secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, said in a statement on Saturday.

Ty recently released the 12-inch dolls in their collection called TyGirlz. The dolls have soft brown skin and big eyes. Ty’s website shows Sweet Sasha wearing two pigtails and a pink and white dress, with Marvelous Malia doll wearing her hair to the right side and a blue-green shirt.

The company, which is based in Illinois, has said the dolls are not made to be exact replicas of the first couple’s daughters and are not based on the Obama girls.

Since their father’s campaign, fascination with Malia (10) and Sasha (7) has grown intense, with websites devoted to photos of the girls, what they are wearing and what they are doing.

The girls have become fashion icons. Thousands of Americans have tried to order the J Crew coats that the girls wore at their father’s inauguration. Malia wore a blue coat with a blue bow, and Sasha wore a guava pink coat with a tangerine scarf.

Girls across the Washington area watched Malia and Sasha dance at a children’s concert at the Verizon centre last Monday. They have read about the sleepover the Obama girls had at the White House and the surprise visit by the Jonas Brothers. Children have written to the Obamas inviting the girls to join local Girl Scout troops, clubs and play groups.

Michelle Obama has said she is focused on making sure the girls are settled in their new life in Washington.

On Thursday, Jenna and Barbara Bush, daughters of former president George W Bush, wrote a letter to Sasha and Malia, giving them advice on living as “family members of a president”.

“Sasha and Malia,” the Bushes wrote in a letter published in the Wall Street Journal, “it is your turn now to fill the White House with laughter . . . It isn’t always easy being a member of the club you are about to join. Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love; a man who always put us first. We still see him now as we did when we were seven: as our loving daddy.

“Our Dad, who read to us nightly, taught us how to score tedious baseball games. He is our father, not the sketch in a paper or part of a skit on TV. Many people will think they know him, but they have no idea how he felt the day you were born, the pride he felt on your first day of school, or how much you both love being his daughters. So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is.” – ( LA Times-Washington Postservice)