Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barbie Dolls Part II

Thank you Tanya for you comment.  It makes me feel better to know that not everyone is against Barbie dolls, though I am having a hard time realizing that the first doll my daughter seems interested in is Barbie.  I guess I am not so against her having barbie dolls, I just hate the idea of the body image issues behind Barbie.

I guess the there are a multitude of things in our society that we have to protect or at least educate our kids about.  It's too bad that we have to worry about body image in our children at a young age.  I loved Barbie dolls as a kid as well as my baby dolls.  I definitely have body image problems, but I'm sure that playing with Barbie dolls was not the issue.  I was well aware that Barbie was not only an unattainable body to desire, but that it was also just not physically possible to have that big of a chest, that small of a waist, those hips, and those legs at least not without surgery.  Not only did I love playing with Barbie's, I loved playing with my baby dolls.  I was pretty much always a girly girl.  Did this make me into a meek superficial female ?  Not at all!  I have a masters degree and I have had a career as a nursing home social worker for 10 years before I had my kids.  Do I think as parents we need to be positive role models and talk about toys and goals and other life lessons?  Absolutely!  If I were honest, do I really think that toys by themselves are the devil incarnate?  No!  Do I sometimes have a problem with listening to others and following everything they say? Yes!  Should I start thinking a little more critically and start listening to myself?  Yes!  Can I let my kids play with Barbie dolls, baby dolls and other very gender specific toys and have them grow up to be balanced adults? Yes!  Actually, I think that it is positive for kids to be exposed to toys of both genders versus either only providing gender neutral toys or gender specific toys based on their gender.  I have never thought that providing toys that are marketed for the opposite sex would cause any gender confusion.  I have actually always thought that it would make a child into a more balanced adult, by letting them chose things that they are interested in.

There are many things in our society that we as parents have to talk to our kids about.  There are all sorts of images that make both sexes have issues with body image.  There are all sorts of things that we need to teach and be open with our kids about.  I guess, after writing this, I am leaning more to getting an age appropriate Barbie doll for my daughter as well as dolls and doll accessories.  That being said, I will certainly be offering these toys to the boys so that they can play with things other than cars and trucks and other traditional boy toys and I will certainly allow and encourage my daughter to play with the boys' toys if she chooses!

Ok, enough for my soapbox talk!  Thanks for letting me spill my thoughts out and for any comments that people have.



  1. Listen to your gut. It can be hard sometimes, especially if those around you have strong opinions and let them be known. But the bottom line is, you are the parent for your children, and you get to decide what you think is best for them. Period.

  2. I meant to comment about Barbies earlier, but we've been so busy that I never got the chance. Honestly, I have trouble thinking that little girls even notice Barbie's figure. I had dozens of Barbies. Never in my entire childhood did I look at Barbie and think I wanted to look like her or thinking her body looked different, better or anything in comparison to anyone else. I thought she had pretty clothes and pretty hair and that was that. I don't have body issues or at least I didn't until after having twins. Now I have a few issues but I don't think they are unrealistic. Just a healthy awareness that I need to get to the gym after school starts.

    I don't think toys influence kids self image to any great extent. What we teach them by words and more importantly by example will have the biggest influence in all aspects of their lives. If MOM wants to look like Barbie, then so will daughter. If MOM thinks Barbie is just a fun doll, then that's probably all daughter will think as well. Later on you can address the influence of friends and classmates, but I still don't think toys play to much part there, either.