Say “NO!” To Barbie

Posted on May 21, 2007


Week 31

Baby’s Length: 11.5 to 18 in.

Baby’s Weight: 3.5 lbs.

Baby’s Size: Barbie Doll

My mother swore up and down that there would never be a Barbie doll in our house. “They’re too sexy looking!” she told everyone. And the poor thing, she tried so hard to shelter me from even knowing what a Barbie doll was. That didn’t work out so well though…

When I was about 3 years old, my mom and dad brought me to the beach. We always went to the beach and I loved swimming. This time was different though… As I was happily playing with my buckets and little plastic shovel in the wet beach sand, making amateurish sandcastles, I noticed another little girl about my age, playing with a small doll in the water about 15 feet from me. She looked like she was having so much fun making the doll walk on the beach and swim in the ocean waves… I was mesmerized.

After watching her for about 10 minutes, she noticed I was staring at her. She smiled brightly and came over to me. “Do you want to play with my Barbie?” she asked me. Oh, did I ever! How different and special this new shaped doll seemed. I accepted the Barbie from her and she went back over to her where her parents were and got herself another toy to play with. I didn’t notice what it was though… I was too happy to be holding this fun, new toy!

I played with her Barbie on the beach for hours, making it dance and walk in the sand like she did. It’s hair was so soft and shiny and it was wearing such a cute little swimsuit. Why had I never seen one of these before?!

When the little girl was ready to go home with her parents, she came back over to me to fetch her beloved Barbie. I gently handed it back to her, regretfully, wishing that I could keep it for myself. She smiled and said goodbye to me and walked away with her parents. I turned to my mom and said, “I want one.” She looked disgruntled and said, “We’ll see.”

By the time I was 6 years old, I had collected over 60 Barbie dolls, had a suitcase full of their clothes, as well as the official Barbie swimming pool, the Barbie traveling van, and so much more. I even had a three story Barbie apartment building with an elevator. It took up 1/2 of one wall in my large bedroom. I had special plastic containers with labels on them to separate Barbie’s boots and shoes from her handbags and hats. I kept everything super organized, just like all my other toys. Barbie’s weren’t a hobby or another toy for me. They became an obsession.

I played with my Barbie dolls until I was about 11 years old. Then I packed them all up myself, into clear plastic containers. I made sure that each one was dressed in her Sunday best and that their hair was neatly brushed. Then I told my mom to put them away for me so I could give them all to my daughter someday. She did.

Now it’s my turn to be a mother and I can’t help but have a different idea. Although I loved my Barbie dolls very much, I can look back and see that encouraged my unhealthy obsession with fashion, clothes, glamor, and shopping.

I can only hope I can get my own daughter to her teenage years without her laying eyes on a Barbie doll… And if I can’t completely avoid Barbie dolls altogether, I at least hope that she doesn’t become obsessed with them like I did.

*long sigh*

I might be one of those naive mother’s that thinks they can somehow help prevent their child from turning into themselves. Just another musing from my little brain…

Filed under: Memories , Pregnancy



4 Comments

  1. Barry says...

    Correct me if I’m wrong, as I’ve never played with Barbies myself, but watched my young daughter play with them without ill effect… but I don’t imagine becoming obsessed with clothes/fashion/glamor/shopping isn’t something that absolutely has to happen as a result of playing with Barbies.

    Being a guy, I went the action figure route – specifically Star Wars men. I had a ton of them, had the playsets and the cases, etc. I love the fact that I kept them and passed them on down to my son who played with them too.

    The difference is a) what values you put into it. Playing with dolls/action figures should involve imagination. Making up pretend battles and adventures stimulated my young imagination and cultivated a life-long interest in fantasy, sci-fi…just stories. It was, I believe, very healthy and fruitful. The same I would imagine could be applied to playing with Barbies – let your daughter’s imagination flow, and the results will be fine.

    I think you’re more worried you’ll not do what your mother didn’t do – did she play with them with you? Did she encourage you to be creative and to use you imagination? Or in her neglect, did you assume their only worth was mimicking adult fashion of the day (dictated by Saturday morning cartoon commercials, of course)?

    Have confidence in yourself, once again, that you are NOT your mother and are your own unique person. Give the dolls to her, lovingly, play with them with her and teach her how to properly play so she can develop her own imagination in a healthy way.

    You can do it – I know you can :)



  2. Cindi says...

    This is my perspective, here goes…

    I played with Barbie’s all the time when I was a little girl, I loved them, and I can truthfully say that it has had no ill effect on me. I don’t believe that Barbie alone can exert anywhere the kind of influence (good or bad) on a child that a parent can.

    I would agree with Barry that playing with Barbie doesn’t automatically mean anything one way or another. My daughter plays with Barbie, dolls and her stuffed animals. She loves to play make believe. She is an avid reader and loves to draw. I encourage her in all areas, as they stimulate her sense of creativity and imagination (something I feel is taken from children at too young and age)and allow her to be a kid, as it were.

    Having said that, just because Barbie come to mean one thing to you, doesn’t necessarily mean that it would come to mean the same thing for your daughter. Just as you are not your mother, she will not be hers. With your guidance and God’s grace, she will become the woman she is meant to be, Barbie or no Barbie.

    Love to you…..



  3. Hula Doula says...

    Although I was not opposed to Barbie Dolls HG never really got into them. She got into her Easy Bake Oven hence the burn mark in the carpet the brownie that I still can’t get out of the nubs and the melted spatula. (yes that little lightbulb can do some DAMAGE!)
    I am however opposed the the Bratz dolls. They are just plain skanky. Give HG a Barbie over a BRATZ doll. She isn’t into them (thank heavens) but still….whew



  4. Shelly Franz says...

    Hey, sweetheart, you’re back!
    Missed you, sorry you’re frustrated. If it helps you, I weighed about 90 lbs. when I got pregnant with Melora. About at the same stage in my pregnancy as you are now, I passed a full length mirror and burst into tears..”I look like a WHALE!!” I wailed. (no pun intended). Hope things go the way you want them to, hon. Love and hugs, Shel






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