Friday, April 8, 2011
Barbie sucks. She just does. I actually don't remember a time when I liked her. Lucky for me, my parents were hung up on spending their hard earned cash on 'educational' toys only, so Barbie and her many outfits, accessories and houses were never on my Christmas or birthday list. I did have a doll at one point called Sadie or something, but I seem to remember she was like a frumpier, geekier version of Barbie. Barbie would never have hung out with my doll...without giving her a makeover first of course.
Anyway, I spotted this article in the Huffington Post, and just had to share it on The Mauve Dinosaur.
I've read Barbie's 'real-life' stats before, but this hideous over-sized form really brings the freakish reality to life. This was a genius thing to do, and I applaud this girl for doing it.
If anorexic Barbie isn't enough to make you think twice, would you buy the Slumber Party Barbie for your daughter? The Get Real Barbie Fact Sheet reminds us that Slumber Party Barbie was introduced back in 1965. That little gem of a toy came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled "How to Lose Weight". The directions inside stating simply "Don't eat." Great message for your daughter, if you're looking at promoting an eating disorder. (Insert sarcastic eye roll).
I'll say it again, Barbie sucks. She is a glamorous, glittery model for an unhealthy, unachievable image. Children's toys and playtime blur the lines between fantasy and reality all the time; that's what makes it so fun, but in a world where young girls are already bombarded with negative media images about their shape and size, maybe we really need to take a look at what we're encouraging them to play with and what's shaping their ideas about themselves and the world.
We can't control everything they see and hear, but we can choose not to get sucked in to a Barbie culture, and we can choose to protect our daughters from it.
Next time you're at the toy store and you're buying a toy, for your child, or a friend's child, or a niece or a nephew, just stop for a minute and think. Think about the message the toy you're choosing projects...consider what cultural values it carries and what stereotypes it supports.
Take a walk down a different aisle; step away from the Barbie and for god's sake, buy some Lego instead.