Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I don't like Barbie. I think I may be alone in this because judging by the amount of Barbie-related junk (move, books, hair clips, pens, bike, iphone apps, rubbish bin etc etc) there must be an awful lot of people out there who are happily buying into the vacuous blond bimbo. I, however, am not one of them.

I have nothing against dolls per se. In fact Eve has lots. She loves, and I entirely approve of, the Disney Princesses. They are feisty, clever, witty and often the prince is nothing but a mere sideshow. One of the latest films, the Princess and the Frog, was ultimately about pursuing your own dream to run a business - the prince and the princess bit was a bit irrelevant to the main part of the story. Here is someone who is an excellent role model for the modern young girl. Therefore, Eve has lots of princess related stuff, including the dolls, and I have no problem with it.

It's just Barbie. Aside from the fact that her body shape is utterly unrealistic (although I read recently that her boobs have got smaller over the last 10 years, that's OK then but she still wouldn't be able to stand up and would have awful back problems) her only real talent or appeal comes in being pretty and wearing nice clothes. In the 1960s Barbie started to have the odd job but they have always been traditionally female roles and, as I said to a male colleague yesterday, even Doctor Barbie wears an outfit more likely to have come out of his fantasy than mine. As if to refute my claim that "you'd never get a banker Barbie", he found one online. Of course she's not sitting behind a trading screen, but at the reception of a suitably pink branch.

Eve knows that Mummy isn't too keen on Barbie and, while looking at a picture in a Barbie book the other day (which I will allow in the house) she asked me why I don't like Barbie. I replied that it wasn't that I disliked Barbie but rather than I think women should be valued for their intellect, skills and talent rather than just how they look and what they wear. Her reply "But Mummy, don't you think her dress looks pretty?".

I'll try feminism again when Eve is five.


London City Mum said...

I can imagine your face when she uttered that immortal phrase!

And I loathe Barbie as well. I think we may have had this conversation at some stage in the past.


LottieP said...

Oh I couldn't agree more - there's a hitlist and Barbie is on it (she might even rival Hello Kitty to be first up against the wall come the revolution...).

However, Eve is showing signs here not, I like to think, of some sort of nature v nurture subservience to the Barbie "ideal", but rather that she has a fine sense of humour and knows which of Mummy's buttons to push.