So, do you love her, or hate her?
You know what I mean. Barbie inspires passionate responses from just about everyone. She's tall, blonde, has feet that were made for high heels, and hips that won't quit. And that rack...well, let's just say that if Barbie were a real woman, she wouldn't be doing much jogging.
But as many mothers can tell you, girls are fascinated by Barbie. Fascinated may be the understatement of the year. Girls LOVE Barbie. My daughter, bless her heart, thinks the sun rises and sets on this vision of femininty.
And me? I hate her. I mean, I hate Barbie with the fire of ten-thousand suns. I hate Barbie with a passion that seems remarkable, considering she's just a plastic doll.
Or is she?
She's really a liberated woman. They've made a Dr. Barbie, Air Force Barbie, and a Busy Gal Barbie (she carried a briefcase, naturally). Barbie's been all over the world --I found a Kenyan Barbie, a Korean Barbie, and a Thai Barbie, just to name a few.
But dress her up as you may, she's still...Barbie.
So it must be her looks. That impossible figure (they say she'd be over 7 feet tall with a 44-inch bust, a 17-inch waist and 40-inch hips). Truth is, unnatural proportions aside, Barbie is reality. Women are supposed to be pretty. I don't care if you're a doctor, a lawyer, or a stay at home mom. You're supposed to look good no matter what you do. And really, this is what ticks me off. Not Barbie. It's the beauty thing.
Now, I'm a normal-sized gal. Not skinny, not heavy, just normal. Taller than most, blonde (okay, dark blonde), and after a little plastic surgery, I have an average-sized bust. (Someday, ladies, we'll talk reductions. But no use going into that now.) But I HATED my body for most of my life. Hated my body as much as I now hate Barbie.
I worry about my daughter. She's never going to have Barbie's proportions. She's going to be tall, full-bodied, big-boned, and strong. She's also going to be smart, loving, and brave. But will she hate her body the way I did? If burning all the Barbies in the world would prevent that, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
My daughter loves Barbie. She thinks Barbie is beautiful. And how can I fight that? I tried banning Barbie from the house, but knew that would only make her want Barbie more. I've now allowed Barbie entry, but banned the Brats. (That's an entirely different blog--they've now got Trashy Barbies. It's horrifying.) I've tried to push her toward Groovy Girls, who are adorable but wonderfully sex-less. She's moderately interested, but her heart's still with Barbie.
I suppose its isn't really Barbie that's at fault here. After all, I never played with Barbie (I was more the stuffed animal type) and I had loads of body image problems. My sister, on the other hand, had boxes of Barbies, but seemed to escape body image disasters (she's also 5'11 and twenty pounds lighter than me, but that's still another blog!). So we can't blame it all on Barbie.
Women have made a lot of progress over the years. We've still got a glass ceiling to contend with, but the freedoms we've gained are remarkable. Love her or hate her, we've got a woman who could be our next president. We've got a woman Speaker of the House. We've got women CEOs, and women in every profession you can imagine. We can vote. We can make choices today previous generations could only dream about.
Now all we've got to do is get rid of Barbie.
What do you think? Like Barbie or hate her? Did you play with Barbies? Torture or mutilate them? (I've heard all about this practice, believe me!) Will you or did you let your daughter play with Barbie? Why do we hate her so much, anyway?