Can we put Barbie to bed?
As an only child, I was always grateful for Barbie. I thought she was a cool doll. I enjoyed dressing her up, making her fall in love with Ken (and Dylan and Brandon) and helping her explore the townhouse Santa brought her for Christmas. When my cousins and friends would come over, we'd have Barbie parties - exchange clothes, make storylines, put on a fashion show - you name it.
Maybe those fond memories are the reason why whenever I see Barbie is getting a 'realistic' makeover, I cringe. I also get super angry and annoyed with comments from moms who are all "I love this, my girls will play with realistic Barbie because that's a better role model." Idiots. I'm sorry, but those moms are. Barbie is not a role model. Barbie is a toy. Cabbage Patch dolls don't look like 'real babies' because they are NOT REAL BABIES.
And, why stop with Barbie? Let's make SpongeBob more realistic - and take away his feet, arms and face, and let him just sit in a cup on a sink. Let's take away Batman and Superman's capes and give them a desk job and public transportation passes.
OK. Back on track.
What is the point of playing with a realistic doll? Isn't the whole point of playing anything to be creative and use your imagination? Don't parents want to foster that in children - especially girls - and teach them they can have dreams and fantasies, and come back to reality afterward? I mean, what's the difference between playing with a doll that resembles a real person, and playing with...a real person?
Furthermore, don't parents want to teach their daughters that role models are not plastic with synthetic hair - no matter what their measurements are? Play with Barbie, but don't let her play with you.
See...the thing is, I learned a lot from 'unrealistic' Barbie. I learned what the proper length of a dress should be, and how it should fit. I learned how not to apply eye makeup. I learned that Barbie and Ken kiss better if their heads are tilted (ooh la la). I learned how to braid hair, and I learned how to sew (after making Barbie's pants into shorts, and my grandmother handing me a needle and thread).
One thing I noticed about this new 'realistic' Barbie, is that she's not smiling nearly as big as the original Barbie smiles. Is she not happy? Is that reality?
That, to me, says a lot.