Monday, May 16, 2011

my Barbie ban

Barbie dolls were very big when I was a girl. Barbie made her debut in 1959, when I was a toddler. But I always hated them. Several theories come to mind:

1. Being named Barbara, I never allowed anyone to call me Barbie. It sounded too girly. yech.
2. Barbie wasn't a doll, she was a mini-woman. A woman's figure. Woman's clothing. Woman's hairdo. And a boyfriend. yech.
3. She was so not cuddly. Dolls should be cuddly.

I was aware that my aversion to Barbie ostracized me during playdates. I'd watch my friends dress their Barbies, brush their hair and go out on dates with Ken. But all of it repulsed me! And when a Barbie would turn up naked, as they always do, I found it embarrassing for all concerned.

Truthfully, I wasn't hugely into dolls. I did have a Betsy McCall doll (anyone?) but my interests leaned to biking, building forts, bugging my brothers, cooking Creepy Crawlers (anyone?), reading books, and - ok I admit it - TV, which was superbly educational in the 1960's.

When I had my daughter Katie, I decided to influence her choice let her make up her own mind on Barbie. I never bought her a Barbie and hoped she wouldn't ask for one. Thankfully, American Girl dolls came to the rescue just in time. Beginning with Bitty Baby and moving on to Samantha, these were dolls I could embrace. Sweet dolls who looked like girls, didn't have boyfriends or breasts, and even taught a bit of American history!

If you played with Barbies, that's ok. You can still be my friend. Just don't expect me to buy Barbies for my granddaughters!


Anonymous said...

I fought the Barbie war with my girls . . . and I lost. Claire loved them, but she also loved American Girl dolls so I felt better about the vast array she accumulated thanks to well-meaning aunts and grandmas.
Maura didn't play with them as much. She mostly saw them as easy victims for her Pokemon figurines.

Barb said...

haha Kathleen that's funny, especially knowing your girls!

Bonnie said...

I agree, Barb. We never did the Barbie thing with our girls, but I can't say that remained true for all the granddaughters. Although we never bought or encouraged it, our youngest has had Barbies.

Anonymous said...

My sisters and I owned Barbies and Ken and played with them daily. As a mother, I have my reservations. The only Barbies Alexis owns are the princess ones-2 Ariel, 2 Cinderella, and one of each Rapunzel, Aurora, & Snow White. And they are all naked! The nakedness wouldn't bother me so much, but she insists on playing with Nathan's Iron Man & Transformers with the Barbies. Oh, well!