3 articles Tag Barbie

Silent Sunday

Welcome, Barbara Millicent Roberts.

We’ve bought Sausage a Barbie.

If any of you remember this post, that may come as something of a shock.

was going to call this post “We Caved”, but actually we didn’t. Caving in would mean we put no thought into the matter and just blindly allowed our daughter to manipulate us with her childish covetousness. But this isn’t how it went down.

Sausage had been talking about Barbie for a while, she’s seen her friends with them and she’s quite a girly girl, so it was only natural that she wanted one. Husband and I had told her that Barbie was rubbish, in the hope that this would quell her desire for one. It was only after we saw her light up when a Barbie advert came on, then turn to us trying to hide her glee and say “Barbie is rubbish, isn’t it?” that we realised how selfish we were being.

A few months ago, around Christmas I think, a Barbie film came on the telly and I let Sausage watch it. It was actually quite immersive and I was just as gripped as she was. I didn’t tell Husband at the time, partly as I thought he’d be annoyed and partly because I was annoyed with myself. Then, during the February half term, I got a phone call at work from a very guilty sounding Husband who said “I just had to tell you…I’m letting Sausage watch Barbie”. I heard the film playing in the background and said “Yes, Barbie Charm School, the one where they get locked in the vault…”. DOH! Talk about dropping myself in it, but I should never have kept it from him in the first place. Turns out, we were basically on the same page on the matter anyway.

As I said, we’ve ummed and ahhed and reasoned with ourselves over whether to let her have a Barbie and we came to the conclusion that, yes, she can have a Barbie.

It makes her happy. All of the ‘unhealthy body image’ ‘Barbie is a bimbo’ ‘it’s too overtly feminine’ is stuff that we’re throwing into the game. We decided to just let it be what it is; a little girl wanting to play with a dolly. And I’m standing by that.

It also helps that, further to my previous post about Barbie aiming a bit higher, it’s now possible to buy the ‘Barbie…I Can Be’ range which includes a vet, an architect, a teacher, paleantologist, nurse, doctor, computer engineer and racing driver alongside ballerina, lifeguard, bride and movie star. Now that’s what I call progress!

Aim for the…stores?

I wanted to share with you some song lyrics from a book that was given to my little girl.

It’s a Barbie book, called “Barbie Dress Up Songs” and it’s one of those books with buttons at the side so that when you press the button with a corresponding picture to the page that you are on, a tune (albeit a hideous, 8-bit monstrosity of a tune) plays, and you can sing along.

It goes as such:

A shop, a stylish boutique, on a sunny street.

And it was deeply laden with pretty things for me.

There were dresses in the window and hats on display.

The slippers were made of satin and the boots made of suede.

Now, I don’t mean to come over all Germaine Greer,  but are we not trying, these days, to get our girls to aim a bit higher? Can women ever really expect to be taken seriously when we allow ourselves to be characterised in this way, and from such a young age?

There are other songs in this book too.  They’re all fairly rubbish and flouncy, but the final one is the one which really gets my goat. It’s the fucking Wedding March. And the lyrics go:

Here comes the bride.

All dressed in white.

With ribbons and cake.

On her wedding day.

THEY HAVEN’T EVEN TRIED TO MAKE IT RHYME!

So here’s what I propose. How about Mattel publish an ‘Alternative Barbie’ book. One where Barbie goes to Universtiy, gets a PhD in Chemistry and spends her saturday afternoons researching cures for cancer, instead of, like, you know, shopping and giggling?

Or maybe Barbie doesn’t marry Ken, and just lives a fulfilled life, by herself, instead of seeking the validation of MAN. Or maybe, just maybe, Barbie will marry KenDRA, not Ken!

I’m not trying to say that Barbie is the root of all evil, and I’m not doing the usual rant about Barbie’s vital statistics giving us all a warped body image (although for those who want to know, if she were real, it’s estimated that she’d be 6′ tall, weigh 7st, have a 19″ waist, 33″ hips, and a 39″ bust! That’s not warped, that’s SCARY!) All I’m saying is, I just want my daughter to aim a little higher than Barbie has.

If she decides she wants to spend her life going shopping and to sleepovers, I’ll stand by her. If she decides that she wants to get married, have 2.4 kids, settle down and dedicate her life to her family, I’ll stand by her. Just as long as she does that becasue she WANTS to, and not because society, and Barbie, told her that she couldn’t aim higher.