Barbies will ruin my future daughter’s life, and here’s why

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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.

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Photo by vaniljapulla / Flickr Creative Commons

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14 thoughts on “Barbies will ruin my future daughter’s life, and here’s why”

  1. I don’t know if I agree. I think a lot of kids know the difference between a toy and a person. You certainly shouldnt force Barbie on a little girl just because she’s a girl…but I think if my son or daughter decides they want to play with dolls or action figures, then that’s not a battle I would choose to fight (we can only fight so many battles, after all!)

    When I was a kid, I used playdough to give my barbie implants. Seriously. My mother has double Ds, and as a little girl my mom was was what I thought a beautiful woman should be, period. I never for a minute thought people around me should look like my barbie–I wanted dolls that related to the people around me. The things my barbies did around the “house” were very reflective of what I saw in my own home and life.

    Not to mention, I should add, that my brothers and I often played with the dolls together. Sometimes, my brothers played with them without me there. Having something to act out imaginary situations is not a bad thing, as long as the messages kids are getting from their true role models are positive.

    It sounds like if you ever have a child (whatever the gender), they will have a good enough role model standing right in from of them with you as a mother. 🙂 I wouldn’t worry about them trying to become their dolls.

    1. This is a lovely reply. In truth I just wanted to make fun of Barbie, because I am sick of beauty standards! Also I like hearing from other people and how they grew up with gender roles. Obviously it’s different for everyone so I am happy that your brothers and you never let gender stand in the middle of playing!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

      X

      1. Making fun of Barbie is definitely a good call 😛 I don’t know if I have contacted you on this yet, but you should consider submitting something for my next “Taboo Tab.” I think you might have some interesting things to say on the upcoming topic. I’m considering submissions until the 15th: http://shaunanagins.com/the-taboo-tab/

  2. At first my thought was: “Really? It’s just a Barbie”, but then I thought about it a little bit more. I grew up with Barbies and although I loved playing with them I, never believed that she was a body image that I should follow. I think it was mostly because of my parents. As long as children are raised well they should be able to differentiate between make believe and real life.

    But then I think about society. There are girls out there that do aspire to be tall and thin like her. That is where I agree with you. Not all girls are lucky enough to have mothers that would take the time to encourage them and tell them that they are more beautiful than any Barbie in the world 🙂

    1. You’re right, it’s really about parenting! I think there’s many ways to look at it, but ultimately body image is an extremely important issue that children have to deal with. And this subject must be debated, even if it is through a tongue in cheek post like mine 🙂

  3. This is a really clever and witty post! I like it a ton. I also like that you know you are “precocious” for stating that at 22 years of age you will never do something in the future. Ahhh, there were so many things that I said I would “never” do as a parent, and you know what, i’ve done almost all of them!! Pacifiers, co-sleeping, yelling. . . But I think it is important to raise a child with a healthy sense of self, and that is one thing all parents should do, so you are so on track. Values, morals, love, etc all start at home, so if you have those things, I don’t think that a Barbie or Ken can thwart your child”s upbringing. Great post!

  4. My first Barbie was black. And, I am ashamed to say, I was kind of disappointed. I wanted the same dolls my friends had! But looking back on it now, I see all these little things (my next doll was white, but not blonde, I wasn’t allowed to go to Brownies, the girl version of Scouts, and learn how to cook for old ladies) were my mum’s way of saying I didn’t have to conform to other people’s ideas of what it is to be a girl. But that real-life Barbie is still freaky as.

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