Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Must Defend Barbie!

I know Barbie is a controversial topic. I'm sure there are people out there who don't play with us because we play Barbies. I love Barbie. The first time I was introduced to this controversy was when I was working at a Montessori school and someone had donated 2 barbies and a few beautiful dresses with them. My boss, the Principal/owner rushed in and grabbed them away from the children playing them and she was furious and told me to find a bag and put them in it and give them back to parent who donated them. I stood there shocked. I didn't see anything wrong with the dolls. Maybe the way my boss did this was wrong. But she did explain to me at least "her" reason for not liking Barbie. Barbie is unproportioned and not the body image we want to show our children. She is unrealistic. Hmmm, yes, I see that Raggedy Ann is much more proportionate, she is the body image we want to model ourselves after. (I'm kidding) I love Raggedy Ann. I love all dolls (except those Bratz things)! I am a girl and I like all things girl. (except shopping, but that's another story) I just think that our children learn what they are taught. My girls have never used Barbie in a bad way. They use the bikini's they come in as underwear. They know that her waist is not realistic, come on, they said no one can have a waist that small. (I think she might measure a 1/2 inch around her tummy) Now, really!
Barbie has changed from when I was a kid though. When I was a child, I owned 3 barbies. One was a "real" Barbie and the other 2 were cheapie $1 ones. I wished I had at least a GI Joe for Barbie, but did not. I dreamed of having a Barbie house and 10 more Barbies like my cousin, but did not. I only had the original outfits they came in. Back then, most kids did not have tons of everything they played with (and we were fine). My mom would give me a piece of material, like above and a ribbon and I would make their own dresses. Sun dresses. I guess this is inappropriate now, but, it gave me lots of styles to play with. I loved dressing my Barbies. I would pretend Barbie was me, and I would mostly just dress her up and have singing shows.


Now, my littles play with Barbie, they set them all up (they have way too many, mom does garage sales) They love to dress them in beautiful gowns and then they have singing shows. It takes a long time to play barbies with my girls, EVERY Barbie has to sing. AND you have to make up the song!! I do try to sing some funny ones like "Feelings" and "The Rose"! "Some say, Love, it is a River...." Isn't that a fun one to sing? How about "Tie a yellow Ribbon around the old oak tree"?


Anyway, my point here is what is wrong with Barbie? She sings, dances, gets married, has children. I don't let them dress them inappropriate...yes sometimes the skirts are a little short, but it gives me an opportunity to talk about modesty with them at this young age. To talk about what is true beauty. They know she is just a doll and they love to dress her and sing and dance her. I guess it depends on our past and our experiences with Barbie.


Are there any Barbie lovers out there? I know Jill, you love her!! Anything you'd like to add?
Now, I did space for paragraphs, let's see if it worked....


15 comments:

  1. You are so funny!! I told you that my oldest and her stepsister played with Barbie, as did I. My daughter now used to have a few of them, but she really likes horses more than Barbie. It's not so much the body image, just the merchandising angle!

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  2. I love Barbie! My kids have in their pink tub several Barbies I owned.
    I was a lot younger than both my other siblings, so I rarely ever had anyone to play with. My Barbies were a huge outlet for me. I would invent huge stories with them. I would convert my living room into palatial Barbie mansions (my mom LOVES knick knacks, so Barbie had some pretty awesome statuary). I, also, used scraps of cloth to make clothes for my Babries. My mom thought I would grow up to be a designer, lol.
    Anyway, I don't have problems with Barbies at all. It didn't scar me as a child growing up to play with them. In fact it sparked my imagination. There are hours I spent playing with those dolls in which I could have instead been sitting in front of the TV or video games letting someone else create.
    I do have to agree with the Bratz though. I do not like those. I got rid of all of them that had once upon a time entered our house. They never had modest clothing, did they? LOL

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  3. I love how you think, Jamie! In college, a psych prof asked us to write about Barbies & discuss if they were bad for girls self image/esteem. . . It was about the time that the My Size doll was coming out. Well, I wrote that my Barbie's did quite a lot - they drove combines & tractors & kept house, too! She actually got a kick out of it and read that portion of my paper out loud. I do understand that the doll is out of proportion, but wouldn't we like to see GI Joe in real life (he'd probably scare us half to death!).

    On a personal note, it was great to see you this past weekend - even if only for a short time. Can't wait to see you later this month!

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  4. Whomever has issues with Barbie, probably has their own body image issues. My kids have oodles of dolls, including barbies, barbie guys, mock barbies, and my mother's and my own vintage barbies. I was more a "set the stage" girl, where I'd set them up in positions and decorate the room my parents built for them - then I'd leave. And of course if other kids came over, I'd get mad if they messed up my set design. On the other hand my kids just spread them out and role play. They go camping, shopping, bake, take care of the many barbie babies, etc. It's not the doll, it's how you play with it. IT's JUST A DOLL! (I like and agree with your rageddy ann comment!)

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  5. Just one more thing - I did have a Ken doll which I inherited from my Aunt. Ken had been in an accident before he came to live with me, and he was missing his left hand. That sure didn't stop him from doing everything he needed to do, though. In fact, it enabled us to make up lots of stories about how he lost his hand . . .

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  6. Barbie lover here! I never gave the disporportionate body thing a thought as a child. And (as far as I know!) I have no 'damage' from having spent the greater part of my childhood playing Barbies with my sister. Barbies, to us, were a way to act out life. The Barbies got married and had a ton of kids every time we played. We dressed them, set up house, had the weddings, and had the babies. My daughter now does the same. In fact, I saved all my Barbies from childhood and she now plays with them. I also had a 'house' of sorts that she uses. We haven't had to buy many things for 'Barbieland.'
    Good to hear from another Barbie girl. I know it can be a hot topic.

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  7. We are not Barbie lovers or haters. They are what they are. I grew up with boys so I am more of a tom boy and now I see my little girl following in my footsteps with her brothers. She does not have a sister to play with and I never really played Barbies either.

    So no Barbies in this house and no Bratz either. Lots and lots of Littlest Pet Shop animals.

    fun read Jamie!

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  8. I love Barbies and neither I nor anyone else I know have been "warped" or such from playing with them.

    That's just silly.

    Gretchen
    www.simonpeters.org

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  9. if someone seriously doesnt want to play with you guys cuz you dig barbie then they are seriously mental!
    i agree with bratz. hate those creepy things.
    and i am a lyric natzi...it drives my husband crazy but i just have to say for the rose it is 'some say love it is a river' (not sometimes love)
    i know, what a jerk i am to correct you but i have to. you dont understand i mean i have to...i will lose my mind if i dont. ask anyone who knows me, it isnt personal.
    hate me forever if you must ;)
    r

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  10. Oh, my gosh, Regina!! I stand corrected!! I fixed it! I know the correct lyrics, I just typed it wrong!! Thank you!

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  11. Jamie-I love your honesty! My sister has the original Barbie with 1955 stamped on her rear. My girls all played with them and received tons of handmedowns from a cousin. Now the 3rd generation plays with Barbie. I agree that it's a form of make-believe which fosters imagination and creativity.
    Rock on! Nerm

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  12. My Peach plays with Barbies -- she goes in spurts, sometimes it's babies, sometimes it's Barbies or Pollies. I played with Barbies (I was a young girl when they first became popular) and I'm like you -- I think I turned out o.k. I don't mind them as long as they are dressed modestly -- and no Bratz here either. We have a problem with brothers who like to pull their dresses over their heads!

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  13. Barbie is fine - I even had the Dream House (from a garage sale, as was everything else we had growing up!)
    I loved to dress them and play, although Pete wouldn't cooperate and play with them! :) They weren't as cool as his Transformers or baseball cards!
    I don't, however, like the "new" Barbies that they are trying to market to look like the Bratz ones with the big makeup and slanting eyes.
    Noelle loved all things Barbies (she has 6 or 7, mostly hand me downs), but now she loves Polly Pockets almost exclusively, with a sprinkling of Barbies or babies mixed in.
    Thanks for the fun post! Have a wonderful, warm and sunny day today!
    Love,
    Sarah

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  14. http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii168/storybooklady/VintageBarbies-okmostly1980s.jpg

    Dug 'em out... This link's to a picture of my barbies, mostly from the 1980s. One is now handicapped, some are hair style challenged, and there's one grandma - my mom's doll from around 1954-60s. They've been well loved.

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  15. I knew when I saw the title of this post that I had to come back and read it when I had more time. What a delight you are. You are so...you. My girls would love a bunch of Barbies if only I'd get off my rear and get them some. Garage sales are totally the way to go, too, so if and when I find some we will have to get our girls together for American Idol (the Barbie Version).

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