I have something to tell you…… I played with Barbie as a child…..Gasp! Me? The one who created this blog? The one who wants equality for women in entertainment? How could I admit to enjoying such a destructive plaything designed to train girls for a life of being the pretty house wife with the handsome provider husband?
I admit that I played with Barbie and enjoyed it, because A) I feel the need to be honest and B) Yes, Barbie is a not so perfect toy, but why all the hate?
Like any toy or a form of entertainment, Barbie and her role is something parents need to discuss with their children. When I played with Barbie, she was a cool, independent lady (who I strived to be) who had her own cool job, awesome house (three story Barbie house: jealous?) and awesome friends.
I always had one Barbie that played the lead role in the story I was creating. I also had a low Ken to Barbie ratio which meant that most of the girls were Lesbians (I never realized how progressive I was, or how these interactions would speak of my current life…).
Yes, everything Barbie had was some shade of pink which caused the hue to be my favorite for much of my childhood, but the main point I am trying to make here is that playing with Barbie didn’t affect me negatively as an adult.
I think this was because I understood what real life was really like; that when you are older you don’t live in a dream house with a dream car and dream boyfriend. I even turned out to be a nerd girl (I believe it all started when I bought my first X-Men comic; Gambit and Rogue 4-evr).
I think that every girl and boy should have the choice to play with Barbie. Why not? She’s fun, has lots of clothes and she facilitates imagination. If parents talk to their children about real life expectations and make sure that their daughters see themselves in a positive light, I think that Barbie can be a suitable toy for either gender.
Barbie has her flaws; her perfect hair, body and life. She feeds into consumerism and gender stereotypes. But, at the end of the day, she’s a piece of plastic with no voice.
That’s where imagination comes in.