Photo courtesy of takepart.com
In my home, Barbie is not allowed. Barbie dolls given as gifts will be exchanged or sold for other more suitable toys. I don’t find Barbie to be a healthy example, and with the thousands of toy choices we now have, I don’t see a reason to settle for a toy with a bad message. And Barbie has a dirty history, but more on that later in this post. For now, let’s focus on Barbie herself.
Barbie is marketed as the Every Day Woman/Girl. She is a teacher, doctor, cheerleader and vet. She has sisters, horses, cars, campers, houses and boats. And yet, she looks nothing like a real woman. I read a great article on TakePart.com about how a Barbie based on a REAL woman would look. The differences are very apparent. Take a look at the photo above. The REAL woman version looks a lot more normal. You can find the article, as well as other great picture comparisons here: Barbie in Real World Measurements. I loved that someone took the time to make a better version. If only we could get Mattel to sell it!
Barbie is an example of unattainable fake beauty. She would have to walk on all fours if she were a real woman. How attractive would that be? She is anorexic and has had some ribs removed. She must also have worn a corset every single day of her life to achieve that waist. So if Barbie looks nothing like a real woman, and doesn’t even look healthy, why are we giving her to our little girls as an example??
I keep reading articles and books about the images put in front of our daughters and how it is deeply affecting them. As a mother to a 7 year old little girl, I do not want to find my daughter in the bathtub sobbing about how fat her thighs are and how she needs to go on a diet…. And yes, that was a real life example in an article. This is REALLY happening to our girls. I don’t want my daughter to starve herself or throw up her food because she thinks she isn’t skinny enough. I have to contend with enough of that garbage being posted on magazines and on TV, I don’t need to have a plastic example in my home, sending that message every day.
I am really blessed, I have a little girl who is just that – a little girl. She doesn’t like boy bands, wear mini skirts, put on make up or wear bikinis. She doesn’t care about the latest trends, celebrity gossip, or watch meant for older kids but marketed to little ones. She is a normal little girl who isn’t motivated by what the TV and society tells her to do. She loves horses, animals, pretending to be a vet, reading books and playing outside. And she loves her body. She doesn’t see any flaws on her body, with the exception of wondering if we would all look better without eyebrows! :) And I want to keep it that way as long as I can.
I didn’t grow up in the healthy environment she had, and yes it did affect me negatively. As a parent my job is to take my negative experiences and work to provide better ones for my child. If I know something wasn’t good for me, I need to make sure I keep it away from her. It’s not rocket science, it’s good parenting. And for this reason, I don’t want Barbie dolls in my house. I grew up with body image issues and I am a woman with a thinner body type. So even the skinny girls can have body issues. I know what I went through and I don’t want my daughter to go through it if possible.
Oh, and did I mention that the Barbie doll is a rip off of a Lilli doll made in Germany FOR MEN and sold in SEX SHOPS. Yep, everyone’s favorite toy sweetheart is not only a rip off, but the doll is modeled after a character who wore tiny clothes and slept with men for things… How is that a good example for little girls?? And why would I feel comfortable having a doll based on a sex toy for men in my home?! Eww. You can find out the dirty history behind Barbie here: Barbie Who?.
I want healthy examples in our home that help my daughter love who she is and have confidence in who she is. I don’t want her focus to be on outer beauty that isn’t even realistic. And I surely do not want her playing with a doll that was modeled after a woman who thought sleeping with men to get things was a good way to spend her life. No, I want her time spent playing with animals and dreaming of being a veterinarian. I want her to spend time in creative play with all shapes and sizes of dolls and toys. I want to encourage her creative and healthy play so she grows to be a creative and healthy woman.
I’m sure some will see fault with my choice, I ALWAYS hear the, “I played with Barbie dolls and I turned out just fine!” argument from the naysayers. Most of them don’t know her history I’m sure. However, if that’s the case, good for you! I personally won’t even take the risk that m y daughter will get negatively impacted and that it will hinder her confidence in herself. We live in a day and age with a massive amount of toy choices, so for me I can find an alternative that doesn’t have the risk. There are so many options, I don’t feel the need to limit myself to just one. :)