I have a Barbie complex. I hate them. I didn’t play with them when I was little, and so of course my daughter loves them and is a real “girlie-girl.” I have embraced my inner princess when it comes to the girlie stuff (loads of nail polish, glitter, pink fluff, pink, and oh yes pink). But Barbie makes me gag. The ‘free-range‘ parent in me sits on one shoulder saying, “Get over yourself! It’s just a freaking doll with boobs!” And the grossed-out parent in me sits on the other shoulder saying, “It’s a freaking doll with boobs!”
I feel like we’re all assaulted with images of women that are gratuitous and unreal, why on earth would I give my daughter (or my sons, for that matter) a doll who looks like that to play with? I struggle, because Barbie and her friends are so much a part of the pretend play that little girls engage in at this age. I am aware that my adult eye see “hooker” and my daughter’s 5-year-old eyes see “doll with breasts like mommy.” She has no frame of reference to connect Barbie’s body with hers. Yet I just can’t get past this aversion. We’ve encouraged pretend play with baby dolls – trust me, my Shayna has plenty of dolls, doll accessories, doll everything. She loves it and she spends literally hours either by herself or with friends playing with these dolls. Yet every. single. time. we go to Target she asks for a Barbie. All her friends have them, and I know even at 5 this is an issue for her (a total girl thing. my boys were not aware of this kind of social stuff for years. and clearly, based on their lack of desire to shower, still aren’t).
*sigh* – any advice from veteran parents of girls out there?