Monday, October 26, 2015

What I Learned from Barbie

When I was a little girl, I had a Barbie doll. Mind you, I had only that one. I treasured that doll. Then one day, the dog chewed her up.

One of my sisters had a Barbie and she shared her with me from time to time, so I wasn't totally without Barbie in my life. A family friend had every Barbie imaginable  - and the playhouse! Imagine my joy when we played at her house. I remember wondering why she ever did any other thing besides play with those Barbies.

A few years ago, there was an uprising against Barbie because some felt she was too unrealistic to be a good role model for young girls. This confused me at the time, but I wasn't real motivated to say much about it. Today, however, I saw a commercial for Barbie that prompted me to write. It was an excellent commercial and hit on the points of how Barbie helped me in my life. Click here to see the commercial.

As a child, I never compared myself to Barbie. I never felt I had to measure up to her image. She
was/is just a doll and I knew it then as I know it now. I don't remember ever aspiring to look like her. My Barbie had long, blonde hair and I did not. I'm a brunette. I've always been short, so Barbie's comparable human height wasn't on my mind. She was pretty and to have something so pretty was what was important to me. She represented something I could hope to have because she showed me that something better, a prettier life away from violence and abuse, existed.

What was on my mind when I played with Barbie was what this commercial portrays.  It was all about what could be. What I could become. What could happen. Playing with Barbie was about the hope of something better. It was about thinking that I was good enough to own something pretty and something that didn't actually "fit" on our rustic farm.

Even when Barbie was being bashed, I still bought her for my daughters. A couple friends could not believe I would buy Barbie after all the negative news came out about her. But, I still thought Barbie was pretty and always wanted my girls to have pretty things. I also knew my daughters knew the difference between themselves and a doll, so they would not aspire to look like her. No one looks like anyone else, so the uniqueness of each of my daughters would not be compromised because they owned and played with Barbie Dolls. And, they wanted Barbie and I was so happy to be in a position to give them what they wanted every now and then.

Barbie Dolls were good for me as a child. Barbie represented hope and change and possibilities. Today, this is a relatively new thing for a toy company to represent, especially to girls, but Barbie has always represented this to me.

Thank you, Barbie.

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