At 5, I wanted to look like Barbie. Actually, I wanted to grow up and be Barbie.
But, I also wanted a pet unicorn and to work for the Tooth Fairy when I got older so I could have my own set of sparkly pink wings. I was 5. I had a fantastical imagination and fortunately, parents who let me dream REALLY big.
But Barbie also let me dream really big. She was a vet, a ballerina, a teacher, a doctor and a fashion designer. Not to mention well dressed and living in an exceptionally cool house with a pink Corvette. Barbie and her many persona's helped me to believe I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up.
What she did not do, however, was give me a skewed body image or unreasonable expectations of my own looks or self worth. I don't ever remember thinking Barbie's body was perfect or that I needed to have her measurements in order to "measure up" in society eye's. Maybe it was because I had parents who made me feel special, just the way I was. Maybe it was because I had enough sense to realize that old Babs was PLASTIC, and therefore, NOT REAL.
Those are just a few of the reasons why I think this proposed Barbie Ban is really bizarre. Blaming Barbie for a bad self image is like blaming Kirk when it doesn't rain. Barbie isn't in charge of our minds just like Kirk isn't in charge of Mother Nature.
As a step-mom to three girls, of course I worry about their fragile little self images- but NOT because Barbie sleeps prettily in her Dreamhouse next to them. I worry because, quite simply, they are little girls. They love to dress up and paint their nails and curl their hair and be pretty...just like all little ladies do. And as a dad and a step-mom, Jim and I work hard to make sure our 3 know they are awesome and beautiful and wonderful...just the way they are. We tell them their differences and unique qualities are what make them cool...and that those are the traits that count in life. And they don't care what Barbie looks like...as long as she sits still long enough to have a book read to her. :-)
Ultimately, I think the good that can come out of this silliness is that it has facilitated a conversation about self-image among girls and the importance of PARENTAL INFLUENCE. We, as parents, are responsible for these little lives. For how their minds are molded and what they believe and don't believe...a good, healthy self image starts at home. NOT in Barbie's Dreamhouse.
Waiting on the girls to come so we can play Barbies.....Lauren K.
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