Moab UT

Moab UT

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On making Barbie a better girl...

I remember when Fr. Justin and I first had Katherine, we decided then and there that we would not allow Barbies into her toy box. We both agreed that Barbie and her friends were no example for our daughter and future children. The shape of her body-unnatural. The cut of her clothes-to skimpy. Too much makeup!

Well, it's a good thing Katya doesn't keep them in her toy box...

In all fairness, we have not purchased a single Barbie. They have all been gifts from various people. I will never forget Katya's first Barbie. A parishoner's little girl gave it to Katya for her second birthday. As Katherine opened the big pink box and saw her first Barbie all glittery and smiley, I knew we were toast. She didn't even know what a Barbie was until that moment, but it was love at first sight.

At first I was wondering how I was going to give Barbie the slip without Katya noticing. Yes, there have been toys that have secretly disappeared in the night. One toy that stands out is the screaming, I mean screaming baby that cried very loud. Anytime she tilted one way or the other she screamed. She has joyfully been adopted and now lives someplace out of earshot. Anyhow, as you already know the end to this story, Barbie stayed.

So, as time passed and the Barbie collection grew, I decided that since we were clearly not going to give Barbie the boot, I would have to teach my daughters about proper dress, modesty and ladylike behaviour using Barbie as our example. I conveyed this thought to my husband and he just glanced up from his computer and sort of grummbled. "Look, all they do is dress and undress them constantly," I said. "They treat them like their babies."

My husband sat looking doubtful, kept typing and didn't utter a word.

So, I continued: "If Barbie came to our church, we wouldn't turn her away would we?" "I mean, just because she doesn't know how to dress modestly doesn't mean we can't teach her-and the rest of her sorority (because at this point we have about ten Barbies)...right?" "Further, maybe she (and all her sisters) regret having plastic surgery to augment their bodies!"

(You can just read the line above the above paragraph again for my husband's response.)

Realistically speaking, I never want my daughters judging anyone, for any reason, period. I saw an opportunity here to teach my daughters some valuable lessons.

Well, he just raised his eyebrows, and said "I see." I think he felt outnumbered.

Three years later, we work hard to keep Barbie and her friends well covered. I explain why Barbie has to wear pants under her short skirts, a sweater over her crop tops, and why stiletto heals are impractical-but on rare occasions are o.k., especially when Barbie is going to the ball.

I think Barbie and her girls are softening up a bit. Just today the girls and I were playing with the Barbies and someone suggested that they be baptized and chrismated. Why, Thea even thought we should make them little crosses to wear around their necks! My heart leaped! My mind began to race! For a moment, I (silently) thought that we could make them all little black cassocks and tonsure them monastics! Now we're getting somewhere! :)

I was a little nervous about trying to talk my husband into keeping Barbie and her friends. But, I have to admit they have brought my girls many hours of fun. And they have enabled me to talk about many important topics to my little ladies.

Would I recommend Barbies for little girls? Not necessarily. But sometimes you work with what you've got.