Last week I made a somewhat precocious decision: at 22, with no prospect of getting married or pregnant in the near future, I decided that I will never buy my future daughter a Barbie. I am sure she will beg for one, and I will allow that real parents might say I don’t know what I am talking about (and maybe I don’t), but I just won’t buy a Barbie. And I’ll tell you why.
1) A real life Barbie would have size 2 feet. She would have creepy toddler feet and my daughter would want that for herself. My daughter would be self-conscious about the size of her feet FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE. She would always find herself hiding her feet that look like duck feet in comparison to Barbie’s pathetic little feet. Barbie feet are so small that if she was a real person she would actually have to move around on all fours.
2) Pink overload. Seriously, what the hell? Why is 80% of Barbie’s wardrobe pink? Her house is also pink. And her car. And most of her shoes and her lipstick. Why doesn’t she get sick of the colour pink? I bet if she was a real person you would see her in one of those shows about compulsive people who collect weird things. She would be a hoarder of pink things. Psycho.
3) Complete disregard for STRANGER DANGER. Right, so 90% of Barbie’s world’s male population is called Ken. So when one of them picks Barbie up in his (pink) car, why is she so keen to get in? Does she know all the Kens in her world? I sincerely doubt that. So how does she know she is not getting a ride with Stalker Ken, or Crazy Ken, or Smelly Ken, or Serial Killer Ken? Do we really want to teach our children that it’s okay to get a ride with a stranger if he’s called Ken?
4) At 5’9″ tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. I believe this is self-explanatory. I don’t want my daughter to want the whole “tiny in all the right places” thing. I want her to eat chocolate, and Starburst and all the cakes I am going to make for her birthdays. I want her to look healthy and I want her thighs to touch each other. THAT’S RIGHT, I WENT THERE.
5) Ken is unrealistic and has a stupid face and body. I guess this is obvious for girls and Barbies, but Ken is also detrimental to boys’ body image issues and even girls’ expectations of men. Which little girl doesn’t want a buff, six pack possessing, blonde, blue eyed boyfriend? And what little boy doesn’t dye their hair, start lifting weights and buys blue eye contacts? Okay, I guess that last thing doesn’t happen that often.
6) Ken is the most sexist male doll I know. Hey make your own sandwich, Ken! Let Barbie drive for once. Let her have a career and why don’t you raise the children and clean the house? Buy her different coloured clothing, for God’s sake.
7) Forcing a Barbie on girls only perpetuates the gender roles I have been trying to fight against. What if my daughter actually wants to play with a box or a piece of wood? Maybe she’ll want to be a mechanic in the future and she will love playing with Hot Wheels. What if her favourite colour is actually blue? I will let her choose her toys instead of forcing that blonde bimbo on her. Eurgh, pink.
8) And to top it all off, here’s what a Barbie would look like if she were a real person.
Guess what, future daughter? You don’t have to look up to Barbie or look like her. I guess if you insist that you must have one of these dolls, I will purchase the least pink, the most career-oriented, and least blonde Barbie doll I can find and I will lecture you on how beautiful you are and how you don’t need to have toddler feet for the rest of your life.
Photo by vaniljapulla / Flickr Creative Commons