Friday, June 5, 2009

Barbie Rant: Long Time Coming?

I vaguely remember playing with Barbie as a child. I had a couple dolls myself, but mostly I played with them at my friend Vicki's house. Even then, I don't remember it being one of our favorite activities. Playing house with her little sister as the baby, or school with her little sister as our pupil, or vet with her little sister as.... poor Melanie.

Since then Barbie has catapulted herself into toy mega-stardom. She's a doll, she's a clothing line, she's got the house and the car and the pet shop and the doctor's office. Bottom line: she's become the metaphor for the physically-ideal woman. (Which means most of us are pretty much screwed, but that's another topic.) After early promises to ban her from the lives our girls, I heeded the advice of a wise friend (Hi Coleen!), and chose with Jim to filter the Barbie influence instead. We buy our girls Barbies, but they are the ballerinas and princesses and professionals, not the "hooker Barbies," as I like to call them. You know the ones I mean. Their clothes could have come from Julia Roberts' pre-Richard Gere Pretty Woman wardrobe. And our girls love the Barbies they have. I must face it: to them, its just a beloved toy, not a political statement. So in this way, we have loosened up some. We probably have 8-10 Barbies floating around the house these days.

Then this week a friend told me of her frustration in looking for a summertime Barbie for gift, but only finding tiny bikinis. Not surprising really. A couple of days later I was in Wal-Mart checking out Barbies for Brynn's upcoming birthday when I spotted this. Meet Pajama Party Barbie. What do you think? My question is, pajamas? or lingerie? I know she's got the cute bubble gum pink color and the fun accessories, but isn't this a teddy? I don't know about you, but none of the girls at the slumber parties I went to were wearing anything like this. Am I losing it? It looks like some twisted kids version of a Victoria's Secret ad. Am I over-reacting? Because people must be buying these for their kids if the Barbie folks keep cranking this stuff out, right? I have to wonder if the downward spiral of Barbie's wardrobe over the years is what paved the way for something like the Bratz dolls to be marketable at all. (Do not EVEN get me started Bratz.)

I guess it boils down to me being really frustrated with how quickly the world wants my babies to grow up! I am convinced that our society's desensitization to the sexing-up of our little girls is partly to blame for how little these children value themselves as they grow up. It scares me sometimes, but then it motivates me to get off my butt, put my game face on and really parent my girls. It's the hardest thing in the world, but its so worth the battle, right?

I welcome your thoughts about this... even if you think I'm a crazed Barbie-hater.


Traci said...

Preach it, sista! I totally agree! I'm sick over the way our society is teaching our girls to be women by age 5. It's the only time I am glad I have all boys. :)
Hang in mommas of boys are praying for your sweet little girls, 'cause we need us some Godly daughter in law's to raise our precious grandbabies! Wow, that was a mouthful!
Love ya,

Anonymous said...

We have also sworn off Barbies in our household Lori! I never played with them as a child either, however, I don't remember them being this "under dressed." I am thankful that Reece's current idol is Dora, but have you seen the "new Dora" that is supposed to be unveiled in the fall? Oh, I am just about to loose it over that one. It is no wonder our children grow up with their minds warped and twisted about what true beauty is and how to have a strong sense of character. Like Traci said, we need to pray continually for our daughters AND our sons who are poisoned daily with sexuality and inappropriate role models in their toys. Sad, isn't it? Feeling disgusted with you.

Lori said...

Wow Kim. I had not read about Dora's Big Makeover. What's next? Diego wearing the jeans pulled down to show his boxers? I don't her new look is really trampy, but changing it just sends a message that something was wrong with the old look. And this doll is popular with toddlers! For those who may not have seen Dora's new digs...

Wanda Faye said...

Hey Lori, I just saw where you commented on my blog. So, I thought I would come your way. I enjoyed your blog about Barbie and I admire you for your stance. Keep your eyes open, God will reveal more and more as the years go by. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit is living in Christian parents to help guide and direct them. What lucky little girls to have you for a mother. Keep looking up!