Monday, April 15, 2013

That's My Girl You're Dissin'

I try to keep this blog a-political, opting instead for unusual observations and embarrassing personal experiences. However, over the weekend I heard two separate news reports attacking an institution which I hold dear. And that is unacceptable.

That's right. I am here to defend Barbie*.

It seems that once again there are not enough serious issues out there to keep concerned parents focused. Consequently the new Mexican Barbie* is under fire.

Mexican Barbie* comes dressed in a ruffly pink gown and is holding a chihuahua. This has been deemed 'racist'. I can't really speak to the racial issue – I am neither Mexican nor a chihuahua owner. I am the mother of a girl and I can tell you this – little girls LOVE pink ruffly gowns and little girls LOVE tiny dogs.

And thanks to the brouhaha brought on by Mexican Barbie* the door was once again opened for the Barbie* Measurement Controversy.

People with way too much time on their hands in ratio to the superiority of their math skills took the time to figure what a real woman's measurements would be should she be proportioned like Barbie*.


Listen up MathWiz – have you taken the time to figure how big a man's chest would be with GI Joe's measurements? Or how much reconstructive surgery it would take to restore his 'smooth area' back to a more realistic proportion?

I didn't think so.

The fact of the matter is this. Barbie* is a terrible role model.

She is surrounded by vague and shadowy relationships. That dead beat Ken? I don't recall him every really having a specific job. Skipper and Tootie? Are they Barbie's* cousins? Her younger friends? Her illegitimate children that her invisible mother choose to raise as siblings?

She is unable to hold a stable job, jumping from secretary to airline pilot to veterinarian to pageant queen, masking her pain in Malibu Beach Houses, hot pink Corvettes and clothing and shoes with more glitter than is recommended by the FDA.

Oh, and SHE'S A DOLL!!!

I have played with Barbie* since I was four years old. The majority of my dolls were blonde. This NEVER caused me to run out and bleach my dark brown hair to nearly transparent gold. Sure my dolls had a fancy home but it took so much time to set up that by the time it was ready to be played with it was time to go to bed. In retrospect, this was the PERFECT way to prepare me for home ownership. My dolls did have wardrobes to die for. But many of those dresses were hand made by me. Just like my clothes were hand made by my Mom. That ability to design and create a one of a kind outfit has stayed with me into adulthood...for better or worse.

Never once did I consider following Barbie* down the path of multiple careers and illicit affairs with Johnny Quest. My life choices were influenced by my parents, who had the good sense to understand that a child can actually understand the difference between a plastic doll and the real world.

So what's my point here? I admit, we live in a scary world. We want to protect our children and send them off with a fair and balanced view of themselves and others. But give your children a little credit. They possess the ability to understand that make believe is just that. The message gets confused when grown ups start giving 11 1/2 inch dolls more power than their kicky pink pantsuits really hold.

*Barbie is the trademark of Mattel. No Barbies were harmed or deported in the writing of this blog.Malibu beach house, hot pink Corvette and glitter wardrobe and heels are still sold separately or delivered by Santa if you are really really good. 

Three of my favorite Barbies. Olympic Barbie (left) taught me to NEVER do a triple sachow off the dining room table. Malibu Barbie (right) taught me that surfing in the bathtub is really really difficult unless you use all the Mister Bubble. And PJ (center, and my favorite) taught me that if you go horseback riding with the SOB Johnny Quest your leg will pop off , he will pass out and Jane Quest will have to ride out from the bunk house to save you.

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