You know how adults get all het up and worried about the negative images little girls will absorb by playing with Barbies? This article made me realize that this is all bunk, really. Because no matter how frozenly pretty they made her or how many “careers” they gave her, I never thought of Barbie as some kind of role model or image of adult womanhood. Because Barbie is, you know, a doll. The whole interesting thing about grownup women, when I was a little girl, was the wide range of stuff they were able to do, like choose their own bedtimes and drive a car and talk to strangers and manage employees and boss me around and apply eye makeup. Whereas Barbie literally could not even stand on her own because of the way her feet were made. It never occurred to me to wish I would be her or look like her when I grew up, because she was just the opposite of a grownup. Grownups are in charge of themselves and you. Dolls are not, except in some very specific childhood nightmares you might have had.
Was this not true for all of us? Did you ever play with, say, Day To Night Barbie in her cool-ass Home & Office studio apartment with the Murphy bed and think “Yeah, this, I’m gonna be and have this one day”? Or were you just like “Ooh, pink. Now I have posed you several ways and you keep falling over so I’m gonna go play on my roller skates, yet another of the several thousand things I can do which you cannot, Barbie, you poor ignorant plastic thing.”
All that said, I will admit there is more than a small resemblance between Barbie’s ‘work from home’ setup and my own home and office situation. Also, the other night I dreamed I was wearing the dress worn by my very first Barbie, Peaches ‘N Cream. So…there are two sides to this debate, I guess.