Barbie is on trial. Actually, Barbie dolls have been controversial since their introduction decades ago. Many mothers and feminists dislike their busty appearance and lessons about social conformity they may be teaching young girls. On the other hand, many girls like 'em!
I never had the opportunity to play with dolls. (Cue the sad music...) But, without going into that, I simply have to admit that I have no idea how dolls affect girls. You guys have the experience and expertise on that -- what do you think?
A feminist blogger whom I've never read before just posed this question and she comes out on the side of Barbie. She found playing with her dolls as a child to be beneficial to her. Here's her thought-provoking post.
I know most girls love her but I never quite got into the whole Barbie thing. I was never a 'doll' person!ReplyDelete
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I have to say me too. I played with Barbies in a very creative way, all the time knowing this wasn't how I was "supposed to" play with them and scorning the consumerist, air-headed, unrealistic "supposed to" world that my Barbies could also have existed in. I also sewed my first ball gowns for Barbie dolls...ReplyDelete
I owned (and still own!) a bunch of barbies and "Bratz" dolls when I was in Elementary school. I don't think that the barbies themselves made me feel as if I needed to conform to a certain look, but that the people around me did. I could control the barbies, so it didn't really matter what they looked like. I chopped off their hair and gave them "makeovers" with markers (and did a decent job, strangely enough). They were moldable, and I think I understood that on some level at the time. They could be whatever I wanted them to be.ReplyDelete
I think I enjoyed Barbie type dolls - Can't say it really moulded me in any particular way - either for good or for bad - For me it was fun just to dress them up and go to parties and to let them be popular.....It really was just fun and I sometimes think that now we kind of put too much pressure on ourselves and the next generation by over analysing everything from toys/games/reactions and topics of conversation - Sometimes kids just need to be kids - Wow - where did all that come from - I honestly don't know..??? :-) Lots of loveReplyDelete
I had barbies, but growing up I was way more interested in trying to learn to read and playing with those key-castles (kindof like this only no person figures). I also spent an inordinate amount of time playing dress up in costumes.ReplyDelete
I didn't really play with barbies until I was much older (mid-teens) and it was often to entertain my younger cousins who I often took care of. I never really put a lot of self-reflection onto the dolls. I think Barbies allow little girls to reflect and imitate their adult figures in the same way kids without them "play house/doctor/etc".
I grew up in a pretty not-normal household, my parents being big nerds who participated in LARPing, D&D, and scifi/fantasy conventions so I had a lot more imaginative fodder for my play than the average little girl. I am thankful for the fact that I had barbies to play with friends and family, but I am also thankful that they gave me something greater than that to allow me to grow.
Thanks for sharing my post with your readers.ReplyDelete
Seems like many people are in agreement, that the dolls became whatever we wanted them to be, and were positive or benign in shaping our confidence, instead of reinforcing negative ideals.
I've never been a fan of dolls at all. I suppose I was more of an outside kid. Probably a bit of a tomboy.ReplyDelete
I agree with the writer's statement that there are a myriad of toys and dolls that present unrealistic proportions and figures. Why single out Barbie?
But - on the other hand I do feel like some standards of beauty set forth by popular culture, mags, media are unrealistic and a bit exclusionary. It wouldn't be a problem if young women weren't so seemingly conditioned to find their value in their appearance.
I sometimes feel like shit that i'll never be a rail thin, 6ft red head. I usually quiet those feelings by eating cookies and pretending people with think i'm beautiful just the way i am :)
I never had barbies, instead I had the Sunshine Family (mom, dad, baby AND I had the grandma and grandpa ) I LOVED them.. they were more earthy, healthy kindof barbie-type dolls... my mom even made great furniture for them!!ReplyDelete
So funny cause I was just talking about Barbies to another mommy friend yesterday!ReplyDelete
I absolutely adored Barbies growing up. I had them in double digits including their dog, car, 3 story house the works. I admit I never had any major body image issues (besides the fact that I thought my legs were too skinny) so I feel Barbie never effected me in a negative way. It never occurred to compare my body to hers when I was 6-10 yrs old. I truly enjoyed all the clothes barbie had and shoes and accessories. Probably shows you even then I loved fashion. I have no issues letting my daughter play with dolls and/or barbies.
Although she might be chasing a ball of some sort type! :)
I always loved Barbie and still do. When I was a child I loved that she could who ever she wanted to be. A Doctor, a Teacher, etc. I think that was really helpfull for me when I was a kid.ReplyDelete
And I still have my first barbie. She is now about 20 years old :)
I loved Barbies. I think they helped me develop my later interest in high fashion. I loved styling outfits for them, and like poet mentioned, I sometimes made my own clothes for them.ReplyDelete
I didn't like playing dolls when I was a kid (I loved lego when It went to playing) but I can't understand what harm barbie can make. hell, it's just a toyReplyDelete
Inside and Outside
ok, let me get this straight: you're a tough biker who rides with a Panda, you relax by dressing and putting on make up and looking like a pretty lady and you have a wife-y, you talk with the guys about the chicks and chat with the girls about nails, you're a handsome guy with legs I'd like to have, and you do some serious insightful writing, is that all correct? Well, in that case Ralph, I like you. And you've got yourself follower number 102: a 42 yo mom and teacher who dresses modestly and lives conservatively, a church-goer too. That's it. Nope, nothing interesting about me. Except maybe for this little thing in my heart that makes me like people who is not like everybody else, just like you, colourful people in a grey world. (I'll be around but I won't write much. But I'll be reading you)ReplyDelete
I posted this comment over there too but thought I'd repost here. Glad to have read such a positive post on my fave childhood toy. :)ReplyDelete
I have to wholeheartedly agree with you. I openly admit it, I played Barbies til I was in the 7th grade, long after most of my friends gave them up. I had several dolls and clothes and accessories, but we couldn't afford the Dream House and all the fancier stuff (though I did get a Barbie Ferrari for Christmas one year)...so what did I do...I made my Barbie house out of bookshelves. Starting from a bare slate, I had total control over what each room of her home looked like. I sewed clothes, comforters, and throw pillows for her; I drew tiny art prints to hang on her walls. My mom was finding little tape roll-ups on the walls of that room for years afterward from where I had hung things up for Barbie. To this day, decorating is one of the things in my life that brings me lots of joy. As is writing/making up stories; each doll might have a completely different life on any given day, and making up those stories fostered so much creativity in me. I was also entranced by their hair, makeup, and clothes, and still am that way as an adult.
Honest to God, I can clearly remember feeling bad about myself as a middle schooler if I looked at models in magazines, but never once did I even consider comparing my appearance to Barbie's.
Welcome, katty! I'm glad you like what you see. Yes, I am an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, surrounded by a riddle. :)ReplyDelete
I was never into dolls as a kid; I distinctly remember ripping the heads off my Barbie dolls, in fact (not really sure what that says about me...). Personally, I think kids are smarter than most people give them credit for. Never once as a child did I look at a Barbie doll and think, "That is what an adult human female is supposed to look like." I saw it for what it was: a toy. I suspect most people who end up with body image issues don't get that way because of toys; in most cases it probably begins with the cruel things that other kids say, is substantiated by well-meaning but insensitive remarks by adults, and is finally cemented over the course of years by the constant barrage of unrealistic beauty standards set by things like advertising, music videos, and magazines.ReplyDelete
I didn't have Barbies... I had the Sunshine Family, then Luke and Leia 12" dolls.ReplyDelete
But Freeda had a Barbie when she was little. She chopped all the hair off, then was so upset that I *acquired* a Barbie wig for her doll. I take the 5th on how I pulled that off....
I had the Cindy and also the Barbie dolls. Tons of them. I still have a few, I must admit :)ReplyDelete
It never occurred to me that I had to look like Barbie.
when i was younger i used to strip down my parties, cut off their hair, and then chop off their heads and keep them dangling on something..umm..I know that doesn't sound healthy. Especially since i would always try to part the dolls legs from side to side, but they would only move front to back. Barbie dolls did nothing for me. I enjoyed destroying them rather then playing with them.ReplyDelete
Cabbage patch dolls was another story. Those i loved. Begged my mother for one, and I actually had one that looked exactly like me, and her adopted name (which was always by chance before they allowed you to choose your own name) happened to be Melanie :-) I loved that doll