Over the course of my entire life I have owned exactly one Barbie. One. My older sister has always been the girly-er one so naturally she was the supreme overlord of all things Barbie. One particular Barbie that came with a color-changing one-piece bathing suit and a red inner tube sparked my interest at age 6. I remember being embarrassed to tell my mom that I wanted this silly doll for my birthday, and rightfully so. When I made my official request, she looked at me as if I asked if I had asked to drive home from kindergarten.
Barbie has changed dramatically since the early 2000s. Not only her body shape, but the message she projects…. The message that is relayed to young children every day. Yes, children. Boys can play with dolls too.
Now I’m really going to sound like the picky conservative that I am. Bear with me….
When was the last time you saw a Barbie dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants? Never never ever never. Noooo, she has to wear miniskirts and tight shirts. Seriously, who decided that? Why is this necessary?? Here’s a better idea: create a Barbie that grows leg hair and in order to wear a miniskirt or whatever you have to shave her legs! That’s true to life. This would teach kids that you have to work hard to look cheap…
But really, when a parent buys their child a Barbie, what kind of message is that sending? If “Barbie” were a real person, would you want her to be a role model for your kid? Come on people, she wears skimpy clothes and parties with Ken! While I salute the potential imagination factor this brings to the playtime table, the themes that coincide are too adult. Barbie drives a convertible and wears makeup and dates boys. For Pete’s sake, just let kids be kids! They have the rest of their lives to deal with all the setbacks of growing up. Don’t train them to thirst for intimate relationships and hate their imperfect bodies. Don’t let a doll raise your child.
Want to know what happened to my Barbie? 20 minutes after I got her I realized she was completely worthless so she went to live in the toy box. My siblings and I found her a few months later on a rainy day. Two hours later, we had cut her hair, ran her over with our bikes, threw her out a few second-story windows, and ultimately ripped one of her legs off and super-glued it to her neck with her head perched at the end. We had successfully created the world’s first Barbie-giraffe hybrid.
True, that’s probably a really sick and twisted thing to do, but it was fun. I’m NOT encouraging toy torture. Not at all. Toys are meant to be loved. Unfortunately, Barbies are usually idolized rather than loved. So I pity Barbie and all of her clones. I pity the parents who purchase them. Most of all, I pity the children who buy into Barbie and all of her plastic lies.