I actually got tears in my eyes the other day in the store when I walked by a display of Barbie dolls. Do not get me wrong; my girls had an entire box full of them when they were little...just like I did. The toy market, and all markets geared at kids, truly do take advantage of the state of insanity that the parents of young children find themselves in.
Even though we have convictions and healthy plans for the upbringing of our children before they are born, almost all of us find ourselves backsliding on all of the things that we promised we would never expose our children to. By the time my eldest were five years old cartoons were playing in the background most of the day, and their rooms were filled with toys I said I would never buy for them.
I consider my saving grace the fact that electronic portable devices specifically designed for toddlers were not around when my kids were still that little, or I am afraid that they would have had them, and the thought turns my stomach. I know that they are convenient, but when I see a family sit down in a restaurant and immediately plop their little one into a high chair and hand them a device, it just breaks my heart.
Back to Barbie: The last time that I was trapped in the toy section of Target while my kids looked around for a toy to buy with their gift cards, I was looking over the Barbies. I couldn’t believe how the evil little dolls seem to keep getting worse and worse, even though I do believe that the toy manufactures made a very public effort to give the character a more realistic looking body type several years back.
Observing a line of fashion model Barbies, I was actually noticing that the dolls had hemlines on their skirts that barely covered their non-existent vaginas. I will support the idea that a woman has a right to wear whatever the hell she wants all day long, but how in fuck’s sake could a doll with her skirt around her waist be an appropriate toy for a little girl?
Yes, adults are aware of the fact that if any human being actually had the proportions of a Barbie doll we would all have to work really hard not to stop and stare at their alien-esque proportions if we saw them out in public, but people are not good at informing their young daughters about how very important it is that they understand that detail.
I have even seen campaigns floating around calling for the marketing of a bald Barbie doll to help little girls who are losing their hair as a result of chemotherapy, and I am thinking jeez people, don’t they have it hard enough fighting cancer and all without having the pinnacle of anorexic achievement body images thrust into their arms.
If we were as progressed a society as we like to believe that we are these damn things would no longer exist. Yeah, blah, they are part of American history, whatever. Barbies promote eating disorders, excessive make-up, plastic surgery, thousands of dollars spent at the salon, and on beauty products, and deformed feet that are permanently stuck in the high-heel position.
There is no way that we can possibly erase the image that these dolls burn into the brains of our daughters. The only way that we can battle with the harm done is to fully inform the young girls in our lives how damaging this plastic icon is to our society in general, and to get the damn little dolls off of the shelves for good.