July 20th, 2009

If Only Barbie Wore Sensible Shoes


In raising our children, we do the best we can to give to them all that we didn’t have and spare them the traumas of our own childhoods.    There is one particular injustice that runs deep in my family and is still the cause of great debate and sadness.

You see, as a child I wasn’t allowed to have Barbie dolls. 

This was not for all of the obvious self-image reasons you might imagine. No, I wasn’t allowed to have a Barbie because my mom didn’t want me to have a doll that had a higher standard of living than we did.  I think if Barbie had lived in an apartment, driven a Honda and shopped at TJ Maxx, we might have been in business. But when you own a toy that’s hosting a pool party that’s so exclusive you’re not even invited…. well, maybe that’s not the right plaything for you.  

My perspective, of course, has changed now that I have a seven-year-old daughter.  For all of the strife and melodrama it caused growing up, I now realize that, basically, girls who own Barbies are glorified personal assistants, slaves to their own toys.  They pick out Barbie’s clothes, clean her houses, arrange for lunches with Ken and Skipper and tip off the paparazzi if she’s going to make an appearance.

And for all of that work, what do they get?

Barbie: “Ugh - where is that girl?! I told her to bring me my Malibu Sporty Swim thong, like, an hour ago.”

Skipper: “Like, really.  Did you see what she was wearing today?  That headband?“

Barbie: “I know! Like, what does she think this is, some kind of American Girl party?  Boring!”

Skipper: “And, like, what did she do to your hair…is that a rubber band? Is she just like, begging for you to end up on Perez Hilton?”

Barbie: “And what was up with that party in the sandbox yesterday? Did you see who else she brought? Pikachu? And that goody-two-shoes Cinderella? Lame!”

Skipper: “You should, like, totally fire her.”

Barbie: “Totally.”

So, no Barbies for little Lisa.    

We do allow the Ladybug to have a few, but I insist that we dress them up in sensible pantsuits and make them watch “Whale Rider” and “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Like, totally.

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