Confessions of a Non-Barbie Girl Living in a Barbie Worldby Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
I’m a little concerned about my daughter’s extreme love for Barbie. I know what you’re thinking: this topic has been talked to death. That may be true but it hasn’t been talked to death by me and well, I have a column due, people.
Here’s the thing, my kid has a ton of Barbies and it’s really becoming an issue. For one, Barbie and her band of spin-offs (all of whom seem to have little in common with original model) are taking over my house. They have overflowed the toy room’s colorful fabric boxes, filled extra boxes in her room and now they've even begun setting up alternative housing in her closet.
It’s like a Mattel micro-city in my house. There are Barbie cars, a Barbie pool (conveniently, there is also a separately purchased Barbie lifeguard stand and of course, the requisite number of bikini-clad Barbies to hang around the pool -although they all seem to lose their bathing suits in record time), many a sparkly dress-attired Barbie, a Barbie dentist’s chair with dental hygienist Barbie (I really hope she attended an accredited hygienist program) and more. The only thing we don’t have is the Barbie camper because seriously, when is the last time you met a tall blonde in loads of make-up and six-inch heels who had any interest in camping?
Since the Barbies obviously outnumber family members, I’m concerned that they may start petitioning for more rights in the house. Maybe they’ll start forming a little Barbie government with Barbie bylaws - like no one can leave the house without being properly accessorized or everyone must wear pink. It’s possible the Barbies have already been doing this and are very strict with their laws... because I’ve come across a few headless ones lately.
I’m not so upset with the sheer numbers, but sometimes I have to question why my daughter likes them so much. The other day she brought one over to show me that she has fully developed breasts.
“Mom, how come she has grown boobies if she’s a kid?” Elby asked.
It was a very good question. Why does she? The question goes beyond the ones asked by moms all the time, like "Why are they all so anorexic? Why are they mostly blonde? Why are there so few Barbies of color?"
Those are all good questions too, but I think if we could answer the first question it might clear a lot of things up. Why the heck is Barbie an adult? Once Barbie is a grown-up, then I suppose she has to have breasts, and with breasts come boyfriends (Hi Ken), pool parties and poser friends.
Oh my God. I just did a little Googling and found Barbie in a catsuit wearing Christian Louboutins. Okay, in that case, maybe we should be happy that at least Barbie's an adult. An adult who can make her own decisions on how to spend her cash - whether on breast enhancement surgery or Louboutins? Because on the other hand, look at those slutty Bratz. Do you really want your child emulating a pre-teen that dresses like a walking Amber Alert?
The Bratz consist of six scantily clad, self proclaimed fashionistas with deep philosophical interests like “blueberry pancakes.” If you go to their official website you can check out all the kewl merchandize. They used to sell a Bratz Big Babyz doll, decked out in skin tight boy shortz and a belly shirt. Yeah, that’s an appropriate outfit for a one-year-old. An eighteen-month-old in a micro mini and teeny tank makes perfect sense - but a one-year-old? That’s pushing it. I hope they offer an official Bratz HPV vaccine.
I guess it’s all a little depressing but I’ve decided not to make myself too crazy about it.
I had Barbies as a kid and I don’t believe I have to look like a Barbie doll to be a worthy person or to be loved. I just liked putting their outfits on and off and trying to make their knees hyperextend. I also need to look on the bright side: The other day Elby insisted on purchasing an entire Barbie wedding set with her own allowance she’d saved up. It was a box containing a groom, bride, maid of honor and a flower girl - plus a cake and some gifts.
I have no idea why she wanted this so much. My husband and I had the most low key wedding ever. But here’s the cool thing: Elby’s been playing wedding with her dolls nonstop but the ones who are getting married are…bride Barbie and maid of honor Barbie. And it’s not an accident. Elby explained to me that “ladies can marry ladies and men can marry men.” That’s right my friend - my little Barbie lover is all for equal rights. And so with values intact, she has my blessing to play with whatever dolls she wants.