Friday, May 3, 2013

Lay Off Barbie Already!

Barbie dolls are always getting shit on. People just love to make "real" versions of her and compare her to normal women like this site about eating disorders. Apparently playing with Barbies makes young girls feel bad about their body image. Apparently they've done studies and tests and Barbies are controlling the minds of tweens and younger!

Growing up, I loved playing with Barbies. I had many, many Barbie dolls and lots and lots of clothes. My friends and I had so much fun and would play for hours. Not once did Barbie make me want to diet. Not once did Barbie make me think I was fat. She was just a toy that I played with. Look at some of the other dolls out there today compared to Barbie.
Barbie, Bratz, and Monster High

They all look deformed. At the top we have World Barbies and then at the far right, a more traditional looking Barbie. At the bottom we have Bratz dolls and Monster High dolls. At least Barbie has a friendly face and doesn't look like she's got an attitude problem.

Cabbage Patch kids don't look like real kids. Not all of the Disney princesses are realistic looking either. Lalaloopsy dolls are pretty freaky looking. Polly Pocket looks kind of normal, but the eyes, head, and feet look a little too big compared to the body.
Lalaloopsy Dolls

The only realistic dolls I could find were ones of babies. Unrealistic looking toys are what children play with. Remember all that fake, plastic food we used to pretend to cook and eat? It hasn't gotten any more realistic looking. Maybe kids would eat more vegetables if they had realistic fake salad to play with?

Barbie isn't the problem. Barbie isn't turning our little girls into anorexics. It starts with moms and dads. Moms and dads should promote a healthy lifestyle in front of their kids and exhibit healthy eating and exercise habits. They should also watch what they say around their kids regarding dieting and poor body image. I hate it when Bob comments on other people's weight or appearance on TV. I don't want Tesla to grow up hearing that message from her parents. She doesn't know he's making a (rude) joke or being sarcastic.

Children hear things and internalize it without fully knowing what it means at the time. I was babysitting a girl, about 10, one summer and the song Short Skirt Long Jacket by Cake was really popular. She was watching the music video and she said to me, Hey I should be taking notes. She wasn't kidding. I was in high school at the time and didn't think to explain to her that one song does not define what every man on the planet thinks is sexy and shouldn't define how she feels about herself. Christ, I was still trying to figure that out for myself!

But I think kids with high self-esteem are going to be less affected by pop songs and sexualized dolls and whatever else demonic that's out there because they like who they are. One of the many jobs of parents is to help their kids feel confident and good about themselves and promote good health.

I like what Barbie promotes. She doesn't wear heavy make-up. She's well traveled and very adventurous. She loves girly things like clothes and hair, but she also very athletic and plays a wide range of sports. She's a professional, dabbling in medicine, teaching, and cooking. She loves animals. On top of it all, she happens to be thin and has ties to royalty.

The Bratz dolls "have a passion for fashion" and the Monster High dolls are freaky looking high school students that are actually monsters and live among humans? I know a 7 year old that plays with these dolls. That seems way more inappropriate than Barbie in my opinion.

If a little girl doesn't want to become Barbie, she'll probably wish she was a Bratz doll, or a Monster High doll, or a Polly Pocket, or a Strawberry Shortcake, or a princess, or a fairy, or a mermaid, or a witch at Hogwarts... I remember wishing and wishing that I could grow up and be a boy. I wanted to look like a boy and I wished for boy parts. I'm not sure what got fucked up in my childhood to make me think that way, but it worked itself out by puberty. Today I am proud to be a woman and I don't dream of having a sex change and my body image is totally normal. No eating disorders or cross dressing for me!

A boy at my daycare wants to be like The Hulk. Oh no! What if he grows up wanting to be a body builder?! How will he feel when he realizes it's unlikely he'll ever be that muscular and tall and green? What if he takes steroids to achieve his desired results? Ban all Superhero toys! Our boys' body images are at stake!

So stupid right?

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