30 June 2006


So when Ms. Four turned four a month-ish ago, it was princesses all around. Right down to the birthday cake, which this Mama-Lady managed, by some sort of honest-to-gahd, frikkin' miracle, to pull off by herself. Check it out:

No, I didn't get this from a store, and no, I didn't really intend for the dress to be quite so Pepto-Bismal, neon pink.

And yes, that really is a gen-u-ine Barbie wearing that contraption.

A Barbie that I bought of my very own volition with my very own money. Me. The very same Mama-Lady that, for just over three years now, has been actively forbidding all forms of grandmother to purchase Ms. Four any form of Barbie.

Why, you ask? Well, duh. Present femi-nazi dogma states that allowing little girls to play with Barbie with warp their poor little innocent brains into thinking they need to be six foot tall, blond, big-boobed, tiny-waisted, unnaturally curvy hipped bimbos. Right?

Well, maybe. Unfortunately, the femi-nazis forgot one very important fact, which I discoverd after we got home with Barbie and her twin (one of the grandmothers ignored the moratorium this time). Playing with Barbie is fun.

Lots of fun. Loads of fun. I had forgotten how much fun. Changing their clothes, putting on new shoes, sticking them into their jeep and taking off on an adventure. changing their clothes when they get back, sitting down and having a tea party, changing their clothes, playing with their hair, changing their clothes. Oh, and did I mention changing their clothes??

My great-grandmother, if you can believe this, made Barbie clothes for my Barbies when I was a kid. Made them. Herself! With a damn sewing machine! I don't remember much about them, except that they were hard to get on because Barbie's legs were sort of rubbery and that made fabric stick to her, so pants were a bitch to pull up. And my Barbie days were in the days before Velcro (yes, I'm really that ancient), so all the clothes my Grammy made had metal snaps that - after struggling for 10 minutes to pull on a sleeve or pant leg - were even more of a bitch to fasten. Maybe that's why I don't remember what most of them look like.

But I'll never forget that fur coat.

There were fights over that coat, if I remember right. Everybody wanted her Barbie to be the one to wear it. It was a wrap-around affair, so no snaps. And it was a winter coat, so it was roomy and not so hard to get on. And it had this great collar. Light brown fake fur, it framed Barbie's face and crossed elegently over her boobs. Barbie was just absolutely glamorous whenever she wore it.

You can't imagine how badly I wish I still had that coat, because as I was sitting on the living room floor with Ms. Four and trying to convince her that she really needed to play Barbies with me for just five more minutes, pleeeease!, I decided the femi-nazis are wrong. No amount of playing with Barbie is going to warp a kid's mind so badly they think they need to look like a doll. That's just silly.

I mean look at me. I spent countless hours playing Barbies. I plan to spend countless more hours playing Barbies (if I can convince Ms. Four to sit still long enough, that is). I have never, ever been in any danger of wanting to be tall or big-boobed (although I will admit to a bout of blondness once in a while).

So I don't think it's going to hurt Ms. Four much, if at all. And really, I just wish she'd let me swap the tutu on that one Barbie for something more comfortable for lying around the house.


Queen K said...

Hey! I don't remember that coat at all - did y'all ruin it before I got to Barbie phase?! Geeeeeez.

I agree that Barbie alone cannot possibly ruin a child's self esteem. I think Barbie in a vacuum MIGHT, but you'll be giving Katie good messages about her own body and self. THat's more important than anything. Unfortunately she'll get messages in media and school as she grows up that won't be so great, but she's got a strong personality (From OUR family - who knew?)and I can't imagine her sucking in all the negative crap and believing it. Here's hoping!!

Leslie said...

I went through the boy version of this with the whole gun thing. No guns, no swords - I forbade all grandparents from such things, I vetted all TV and books and games. Still, every damn lego set, stick, finger - even crayons for gosh sake - became a gun or a sword.

So I gave up. I gave in. And Nerf guns and water gun fights and laser tag and paintball are fun. Shooting BBs and 22s at the range is fun. And swordfights are fun (and we get to say "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." What could be more fun than that?)

And my kids can now build really cool lego things and draw awesome pictures with their crayons and not have to turn them all into toy guns because when they want to play with toy guns, they can.

So maybe Barbie needs a toy gun in the trunk of her Jeep. A pink one, of course...