Back to Reality

I have to ask you this question: What did you play with growing up? Was it Barbie Dolls? GI Joes? Maybe you liked to dress up kittens and have tea parties. Regardless of what it was you played with the most; do you feel that it affected you personally and your outlook on the world? I, myself, played heavily with Barbie dolls. I also pretended to have a restaurant out back of our house, wherein I would serve grass that had marinated in rain water for several days as soup and I expected that our cats would enjoy this. I sometimes played with my brother’s Matchbox cars (but don’t tell him).

My next question is this: Do you feel like what you played with gave you a skewed interpretation of what you were supposed to look like/feel like/be? I braided a lot of Barbie hair. I never had the desire, however, to become a beautician. All that grass I served up to the kitties never made me want to work in food service. The Matchbox cars…I’ve never really wanted to own one like the ones in that collection.

All this arguing on-line about girls not being made to play with Barbie dolls because it gives them a skewed image of self is just nonsense. I never thought, “Oh! I had better look like Barbie if I am going to catch a man.” The point is that kids that age aren’t even really interested in boys yet. They don’t care how they look yet. Teenagers…sure…they care, but a ten year old? Not so much. It is just a doll. A child’s sense of self-worth should come from those around her. She should want to be healthy and eat well because she sees her mom doing that. She should admire her teacher because she is around that person all day long. Kids want to be astronauts and zoo keepers and policemen. They don’t want to be these things because they want to look pretty doing it….they want to be these things because those things interest them. I have a ten year old daughter at home. She plays with Monster High dolls. She hasn’t yet looked in the mirror then said to me, “Mom, why can’t I be blue like Laguna?” Or “How come I don’t have fangs like Draculara?” She has enough sense to know that what she is playing with is a doll. She likes to change their clothes and brush their hair. What does she want to be when she grows up? She wants to be a police detective. I have taught my daughter that she can be whatever she wants if she puts her mind to it. I have never placed her in a category based on gender. There is way too much focus on the dolls themselves and it needs to be redirected at the parents/guardians. If kids are taught by US that these things matter, then to that child they DO matter. Your little girl would never, on her own, look at herself in the mirror and say, “Man…I better cut back on the Girl Scout cookies…I’m getting fat.” No…she had to hear that somewhere. If you point out to her that the Barbie is unrealistic then suddenly Barbie represents something much more than just a cool doll to play with. Whose fault is that? I’m just sayin…

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