Our girls are bombarded daily by the media, especially magazine covers in checkout lanes, reinforcing the message that women who aren’t thin, tall, or beautiful don’t matter. Turning that around can be very difficult, especially in the middle school years when girls often become more body-conscious due to puberty changes. I would love to see more programs in the schools and youth groups in the late elementary years to address this…..here in the south many girls are often worried about being attractive by 3rd and 4th grade. Unfortunately a negative body-image theme often creates much larger self-esteem problems in the upper grades, and again when dating begins.
I am an English teacher, and guess what their presents are every birthday and holiday? They get a book. Nowadays, it’s usually an ebook. They don’t have a n eReader, but thanks to me, my sister now has the Free Kindle App for PC. I try to buy them age appropriate books, and when they have both turned 14, I will be buying them books about the Holocaust because my sister wants me to wait. her kids, her choice. They were into Barbie, all things pink, Ariel, the Little Princess, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast as little girls. I always talked to them about much more substantive matters. Whenever they asked what i was up to, I always told them about the lessons I was teaching my High School students. Things just slightly above their current levels. A big one with Middle and Lower High School students, is, “If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?” it;s still one of my favorites, and I start the year off with it because it let’s us as a class dive right into learning, and makes kids dive right into what they already know. What I am constantly working on as a teacher is wait time. We really do need to slow down, and let people think before they blurt things out….
Thank you for this fresh perspective and an important message. I did not grow up with pink or barbie dolls and I do not expose my daughter to these things intentionally, but of course it’s there. My daughter enjoys dressing up and I cannot help gushing when she puts on a pretty outfit regardless of how well coordinated it looks. Sometimes she is breath-taking and sometimes she combines several patterns at once. But I do celebrate her enthusiasm for looking pretty as much as I celebrate her wonderful drawings, kicking of a soccer ball, or climbing up a tree dirtying her new dress (yay thrift stores). It is important to emphasize brains, creativity, athleticism, social responsibility, but also feeling beautiful on the inside and out. Thank you again for a great story!
2005 All Creatures Great and Small Barbie & Ken Adventure Set: Barbie and family move back to the States. Welcome home Barbie! Set comes complete with 2 dogs, 2 birds, 2 reptiles, 4 fish tanks, and a dream house full of teenagers! So many things to do, busy Barbie, ! Taxi driver, referee, child psychologist, animal trainer, housekeeper, tutor, chef, mother, wife, and lover extraordinaire. She’s an all-around domestic goddess! The fun never ends! All-night slumber parties? Early morning sports camp? High School Algebra homework? 24/7 teen-angst management? No worries! With a long-life lithium battery, Barbie can keep going non-stop for years!
I think these girls need a balance of both. When I was growing up my daddy told me every day that I was beautiful. He still does. He told me I was beautiful when I woke up in the morning, if I was dressed up, and if I ran in from the backyard with my “grass, dirt, and worm salad”! I loved dresses and dolls and barbies and I loved riding bikes with my brothers and yes I loved mud like a little pig. Mud and I were best friends. However, I was not allowed to 1) paint my nails 2) wear any sort of make up 3) dye my hair 4) listen to indecent music 5) watch any TV shows besides PBS or Veggie Tales.
Amazing! I have a 5-year old niece and these are exactly the same thoughts that come to my mind when I am with her. She is obsessed with fairy tales, princesses and girly games like dress-up games. Lately she started to tell people her name is Pinky. Hehe. Thanks for the idea about the green color. From now on, I will tell her my favourite color is green. I simply loved your writing. Perfectly Neat!
The second strategy is to segment the market. Adapting Barbie for the older, savvier girls, however, is tricky, not least because of competition from cosmetics, music, fashion and—to a lesser extent than for boys—electronic games. Mattel knows full well that it can only stretch so far the Barbie brand beloved of little girls to their older sisters. One variation, launched recently, is “My Scene”: this groups three dolls, Barbie being one, but has a hipper look. Mattel expects to develop perfume, cosmetics and music under this brand.
If Barbie appeals because she embodies an American ideal, however, it is the nature of that ideal that so exasperates her critics. They fall crudely into two groups: the “Barbie is the face of wicked American imperialism” camp; and the “Barbie corrupts young girls with shallow messages that promote style over substance” lot.
An industry has even grown up to deconstruct the meaning of this pint-sized piece of pink plastic. Students can enrol on sociology courses in America with such titles as “From Barbie to Superman: images of gender in popular culture”. There are shelfloads of books and essays about the toy doll, full of insights such as this:
Part of Barbie's appeal is that she has become, according to Christopher Varaste, a historian of Barbie, “the face of the American dream”. Barbie is not a mere toy, nor product category: she is an icon. Quite how she became one is hotly debated among the Barbie sorority. Some think she answers an innate girlish desire for fantasy, role-playing and dressing-up. Others that Mattel has simply manipulated girls' aspirations to that end.
OF ALL the forces against which resistance is futile, Barbie ranks right up near the top. Any poor innocent who assumed that this piece of anatomically challenged plastic, devised in 1959, had been left on the toy shelf beside other relics of the era is evidently not the parent of a pre-school girl. Cult-like, Barbie draws her flock with a heady mix of marketing, magic and the colour pink. “So you think that if you can keep your daughter out of a pink tutu, she'll have more chance of becoming a brain surgeon? Just try it sometime”, wailed the novelist Allison Pearson recently of her failed effort to withhold the doll from her daughter. She went on:
The first Black Barbie debuted in 1980 though some say it was 1979. With the loving title "Black Barbie" and was made with the Steffie face mold. She word a red two piece the quickly transformed from a fashion savvy office woman to bathing suit. We can't over look the uncanny resemblance of the doll to Felicia Rashad. The Cosby Show was doing wonderful things in the 80's. It's would be suspecting to model the first Black Barbie after a women every little African American girl wanted to be when she grew up, "Claire Huxstable". The Black Barbie has had many facial, skin tone, and hair changes. The colors of the Black Barbies now cover the entire spectrum of African American women, not to mention ethnic women world wide. The beauty in the change of they eye color, lip shape, cheekbones, chins, short hair, long hair dreadlocks and so much more. Each doll is beautiful in her own way, just like the beautiful women of color.
LisaBloom! hey!I just read—” Here’s to changing the world, one little girl at a time.” n tht of sharing dis one–
my niece born n brought up in US visited india i toook her evrywhere for sightseeing n shoppping along with my sis in law. she would jump seeing pink n insist dat she wanted it…let dat be just pencil / eraser/band… i was taken back!! while we were still on the outings spree i took her to cross roads n shoppers stop n asked her to buy anything in my account as gift for her ( for free) she got excited but….i added it has to be either skyblue…or garden green !! she looked @ me sharply n lost excitement .. but i told her she has to choose her gifts on her own n it could be anything in those colours / any toys except barbie MY !!! she was mad… but had no option . but i remeber well! during her next trip she nade it a point to wear those blue n green dressses n books to read!!!!! i was damn happy i could change her perspective …