Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Barbie Culture

Sad story... I took Haylie to the video store tonight so I could get the next installment of Glee Season 1 (Thanks Sar - I do like it). Well - they said I get a free kids movie so Haylie picked out Barbie in the Nutcracker (since she just started ballet classes). In the car she was telling me how beautiful Barbie is and here's how the conversation went from there:

Haylie: I'm not as beautiful as her
Me: Yes you are Haylie, you are very beautiful.
Haylie: No I'm not, I'm just a little bit pretty. Barbie is very beautiful.
Me: (Insisting that she is just as beautiful as Barbie and even more so)
Haylie: No I need a crown like her.
Me If you had a crown like her, do you think it would make you just as beautiful?
Haylie: No, I need pink lipstick too...dark pink
Me: Anything else?
Haylie: I need a heart necklace too.
Me: Anything else?
Haylie: No, that's it.

After that I went on to explain of course, that those things don't make a person beautiful and that to me she is beautiful in every way. I was so sad though - I don't know how to protect her from a culture that teaches women they have to look a certain way and have certain things to be beautiful. I admit I've felt that way myself before, which makes it even harder to combat.

One more even sadder story about Barbie. On the way to church one morning, we drove past a terrible billboard with a picture of a half-naked lady with huge boobs on it (it is an advertisement for a strip club). I hate the billboard and even more I hate driving past it every day. This particular day James looked up at it and said - Barbie! It makes me so sad that my two year old son is not only noticing that billboard but recognizing it and associating it with a character that my daughter wishes she was like.

As a parent, what do I do? Not allow them outside the house? These days girls are more insecure than ever, cutting themselves for attention and texting naked pictures to boys in order to feel sexy. How do we protect our children from these things???



Mindy said...

Wow. That's so sad! The impact that all of these things make on our girls starts so young...probably before we even are aware of it. But you go mama, keep encouraging her that's she's beautiful, because she is!

~april said...

man, sandy, i hear you. this is among the many reasons i did not think i wanted kids. so much pressure for kids to "fit in" and feel good about themselves by doing negative things to their bodies and psyches. i think it is worse for girls in terms of looks, but for boys there are so many pressures too: being good at sports, being popular, etc. put this on top of the fear that we will be bombed at any minute and our economy is going to h%*'s enough to make you want to stick you head in the sand. what do people who don't have faith in God do?

Kirk and Abbey said...

Wow! That is amazing how fast they picked those things up!

When I was little, my parents didn't allow me to have Barbies. I am sure there were a few times that I was mad about it, but it was a very tangible way that my parents taught me that she was not a good role model. I certainly wasn't deprived of anything! Especially because once you get a Barbie, you have to buy her lots of *things* - her dream house, etc.

And whenever I go over to someone's house who has Barbie dolls, all the dolls are lying around naked with their hair a mess. Have you ever noticed that they always end up naked? Thre are so many better dolls for girls that are more fun!

In college I took a class on "The Pop Culture of Barbie" (really!)and it really made me never want to buy one for my daughter.... Claire's getting Strawberry Shortcakes!

Dont' get me started on Princesses... I'll have to post on it... :)