I was out shopping today, while in a tiny consignment store I saw two little girls carrying around baby dolls and mothering them. The naive girls worried about feeding them and were picking out their clothes. Since I have a long-standing hatred for the toys, my heart broke for the children.
As you read the last two sentences that I just wrote, you are more than likely questioning what I have against the plastic propaganda trains. It is because they are nothing more than “mommy to be” training devices aimed at girls who don’t know any better. They smash the idea into girl’s heads that they must be mothers. Why would you want to be a mommy when you’re five? At that age you don’t know much: babies still come from the stork, you can grow up to be an ice cream scooper with a private jet and unicorns exist. We don’t see little boys running around with plastic babies pretending to be dads. When girls “play” like this, it reinforces the typical fifties style gender role for women. The girls that play with baby dolls are the ones who grow up to go to college only to find a husband. Or to be the 4.0 honor student who wants to waste her intellect and be a stay at home “trophy wife.” It is down right shameful what society is doing! Children need to be children before they worry about being parents. It is absurd!
On the other hand, there is a plastic doll that has faced large amounts of scrutiny, that I applaud. Not for her unrealistic body type, but for her success as a woman with a multitude of strong careers. She has been President of the United States, multiple doctors, an olympian, an astronaut, a teacher, an ambassador, a pilot, in every branch of the military and has had countless other high-profile careers. Barbie teaches girls that they can be more than trophy wives and mothers. They can be any thing that they want to be and there is no limit to women. I know that not everyone is a fan of Barbie, but she is a kick ass woman. Barbie gives girls something to aspire to be, not just the someone who can create a person with her genitals.
A child learns by playing, which is why we need to pay attention to how they play. Do we want the next generation of young women to be more like Snookie, or more like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem? The choice should be clear, don’t you think?
Photo Credit: StyleSizzle.com