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Sunday, February 1, 2009
The Extinction of Barbie
"Our culture, a culture that takes children and makes them grow up too fast, is also to blame. Tweens are bombarded with images of hip and cool--with adult-like images of themselves in movies and on television, and in popular music. Tweens, instead of wanting to be children, want to grow up immediately into little adults. They wear revealing clothing (short, midriff blouses and low rider pants) and makeup, they see PG-13 and R movies, and they listen to edgy music--and, for the most part, their parents let them! Naturally, they no longer see themselves as playing with dolls."
I came across the quote above in an online article titled, "Why do Girls Outgrow Barbie Dolls At Such a Young Age?" and I immediately said, "Exactly." You see after working with children for more than ten years I have personally observed the fact that our little girls are putting Barbie on the shelf a lot faster than my generation. I remember playing Barbies with my sister when we were both 13 years-old, the same year I got my first period mind you. Here we were in junior high school playing Barbie dolls. Today, the thought of playing with a Barbie doll past the age of 8 is unheard of in our society. Why do our little girls feel the need to put away their childhood? What's causing them to want to grow up so quickly? I think that our culture and the lack of positive role models are to blame.
It saddens me that in our culture being childlike is often associated with being dumb or "frail." I believe that this extends to women's femininity. We so often dissuade women from expressing their feminine side as if being a woman or being “girly” is a sign of weakness. I treasure movies like “Legally Blonde” where Elle succeeds while wearing stilettos and a neon pink dress. Why not? Who told our little girls to put down their Barbie doll? Who told them they shouldn’t wear their tutus anymore or have sleepovers? Maybe we’ll decrease the pregnancy rates if we’ll just allow our little girls to hold on to their femininity and purity a little longer. Why are we teaching our young women that to be strong and to succeed in this world they have to shun what naturally makes them who they are? If you are a woman, be proud! And if you want to buy a pretty Barbie doll go ahead! You'll make Mattel happy and you'll also remind yourself that there's nothing wrong with staying in touch with that inner child. Heck, I still own my Barbie dolls!