I love Barbie, She came to life in 1959 and changed female society forever. She has it all: perfect hair, great figure, gorgeous clothes,a pink Corvette, beautiful dollhouse, and a close relationship with her soul mate, Ken. She parties with friends, hosts sleepovers, and above all receives admiration from young girls around the world. Most of us at some time wanted to be Barbie.
Is she a little girl's role model or just a toy? This question arose today when searching for a Barbie book for my three year old granddaughter. I selected Enchanted Barbie and the Princesses. A cute story of Barbie and all the princesses of the world. Of course Barbie is close friends with all of them and they live happily ever after.
My daughter and I were in the kitchen, cooking, I and surprised her with the book. She asked "Does Barbie make Salmon?" I explaind that Barbie has been a TV Chef and the star of her own cooking show. In fact, Barbie has held myriad careers over the years. She has been a lifeguard, a Spanish teacher; and she even ran for president in 2008.
The next question is " How old is Barbie"? The only response I could
give is "Old, but she looks young."
Well, here is the painful truth. Barbie is a plastic doll and won't age. She will never gain weight, get wrinkles or out grow her clothes.You will always see her hair in style and makeup flawless. She pays all her bills on time and makes great career choices. There are some
things Barbie will never do, like Shop at Walmart or clean the cat litter,or take a bus. She lives in a bubble gum world like a Barbie girl.
Don't be jealous. Barbie has missed out on some great things in life.She will never learn what it is like to overcome challanges and find that strong person inside. What it is like to face a personal crisis and walk away with some lessons learned. Never being a mom, she will never understand holding her newborn for the first time or watch her little baby take their first steps. She will never hear the words"Mommy"from a loving little voice, or wave goodbye on the first day of Kindergarten or be Santa for as long as they believe. There will be no cheering during a dance recital or watching the first home run. Watch the years go by and shoot the prom night pictures in the living room.She won't know what it's like, helping select the perfect college and waving goodbye as they start their lives away. Oh,and don't forget all the advice and tongue holding along the way!
I want my granddaughter to grow up believing in herself. She will live in the real world of getting a first job, buying her own car, renting a first apartment and exploring life as a lady. Throughout her life, she will cringe at her wrinkles, cry and laugh at mistakes, and love the wrong man at least once.She will stayout in the sun too long, run out of gas, and cry at the loss of a loved one and at the loss of a loved one's love. She will be a real woman with issues we all share.
Did I tell her all of this? No way; she is only three, I smiled and handed her a cookie. Life has a way of going full circle.One day her granddaughter will ask about Barbie, and I wonder what she will say...
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