Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barbie is my Role Model

I started out this whole mothering thing getting broken in by two boys.  While we certainly have had our trials, toys for them has been pretty easy.  Try to avoid too much senseless violence (no toy Glocks) and you're pretty much good to go.  They love blocks, cars, dress up, legos, all that stuff.  And I'm happy with their choice in toys too.  Very much focused on machines and building and adventuring.  Good stuff.

Now that my oldest daughter is starting to have definite toy preferences though, it is getting to be a trickier game.  The oversexualization and princessifying of girls is a real sticky wicket for me.  Vi is a total girl.  The kind of girl I never was and have rarely met in real life.  She's very affectionate, likes to clean, shop, loves to dress pretty and wraps people around her little finger with her big blue eyes any chance she gets.  A blonde bombshell who revels in pink and glitter.  She would make a perfect trophy wife some day.  Or a sexy zoologist.  Or professional wrestler.  Don't get me wrong, she's got brains and muscles too, but she seems to have a definite knack for girly things that has been with her since the day she was born.  And she definitely didn't get it from her football and hockey playing mama.  I am no girly girl for sure.

When we peruse the garage sale toy boxes she inevitably ends up begging for some sparkly monstrosity or stuffed animal.  Which is fine.  Sparkles are fun.  I like furry animals.

But as she gets older, her attention is turning more and more to fashion dolls.  She is a little fashionista for sure.  If you take her shopping and ask her what she wants to look at, you would expect a four year old to say "Toys!".  Oh no, not this one.  She wants to look at shoes or clothes every time.

It's kind of fascinating for me actually.  I was never that type and I guess I just imagined that while yes, my children would be their own individual souls, they would probably be kind of like me.  Hahahahahaha.  I just can't get over her some days.  It's very interesting watching a whole other kind of creature come into being.

But anyways, so I end up pretty torn about dolls.  I always kind of considered Barbie the Great White Satan personally.  But as I look at the choices that are out there for dolls and girls toys, I'm really rethinking my stance on Barbie.

I mean, yes, she has a ridiculous body shape.  There's no getting around that.  It's absurd.  But past that, she's a pretty rockin' chick.

I mean, there are worse dolls out there for sure.

Bratz are a hot item.  But how do they fare as role models?  They are teen girls who are obsessed with fashion.  Fair enough.  Nothing particularly wrong or out of the ordinary with that.  I'd prefer if they were obsessed with science experiments and community service, but hey, I can deal.  Their fashion, however, leaves something to be desired.  It's pretty stripperific.  Some of their signature items are midriff baring tops and skirts so short that they put their lady-flowers on display.  Both of these items are not only against our house rules, but they are also against the dress code of most of the schools in the area.  And these are supposed to be school girls.  Like Barbie, their bodies are pretty unrealistic, but they take it in a pretty freaky direction with giant heads and lips that have definitely undergone a series of collagen injections by the ripe old age of 16.

So, I'm not a big fan of Bratz.  In fact, they aren't allowed in our house.  Period.  Ick.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Fulla doll.  Have you heard of this one?  The Fulla doll is supposed to be like Barbie for Muslims. She is the epitome of a good Muslim woman.  She always wears her hijab when she leaves the house and her life is focused around family.  She is very modest, so no issues there.  I like her style and I had no idea a headscarf could be so fashionable!  However, she seems a little too one-dimensional as a role model.  She loves fashion, her family, music, and sports, but has no aspirations outside of the home.  They don't have astronaut Fulla and president Fulla to say the least.  Though she does come with a kickin' pink prayer mat.  I like a doll who is not afraid to show her faith.  So I wouldn't mind a Fulla doll around here, but they don't sell them at Minnesota Walmarts (but maybe at Egyptian Walmarts?  Does Egypt have Walmarts?).  And like I said, a little too one-dimensional for my taste.

So let's bring it back to Barbie.  She's as American as apple pie (you decide if that's a good or a bad thing).  She is definitely a fashion queen, but then again that's what Vi likes about her.  But she's more than that.  I had no idea how much more until I looked it up.  Of course she's been in touch with her stereotypical feminine side as a ballerina, babysitter, model, and cheerleader (yuck).  But she's also been a surgeon, special education teacher, paratrooper, UNICEF summit diplomat, firefighter, paleontologist, NASCAR driver, rockstar, bus driver, news anchor, clothing designer, and Starfleet officer.  Barbie has ambition and chutzpah, but also cares for others.  And Barbie graduates every single year.

Not only that, but she managed not to get pregnant until Ken "put a ring on it" despite his irresistable advances.  That is a feat not just anyone can manage.  And while she did have a c-section, she had an old old old school (medieval school) all-natural c-section with no drugs (at least there was none in the pregnant Barbie package I saw).  Props to you Barbie, props to you.

So, as I've grown, Barbie has grown on me too.  She's got balls, she's artsy, she's got a brain, a family, lots of friends, and a rockin' bod.  Barbie, I'm sorry I was so bitchy at you for all those years.  I was just hating you because you were beautiful.  You have my respect and admiration now.  And I would be proud to have you in my house for my daughter to dress and my sons to rip your head off and march around the livingroom chanting "Sac-ri-fice! Sac-ri-fice!".  Yeah.  Sorry about that.  Boys will be boys.


  1. Absolutely freaking hilarious. Great post!!!!!

  2. Dear writer... ;)
    I loved this!!! But I just have to ask... Why u gotta b hating on the girly aspects of Barbie?!! Cheerleader ICK? I don't say Football ICK, to each their own I guess, I just wish u wouldn't b so harsh on a fun sport that teaches strength & teamwork. But now I know what Vi's getting for her next birthday!!!

  3. Not hating on cheerleading in particular, just that whole list and how stereotyping it is. Girls are more than just that. I say ick to the stereotype.

    Though I won't lie, I have no great love for cheerleading, that wasn't why I made the comment.

  4. love it! I was never a really girly, girl either. however I have found myself blessed with a girl who is every inch of one. We have also settled on barbie (and profusely outlaw bratz!). At least barbie's got some ambition.


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