Hello Kitty is a new favorite around here. Not quite sure what she adds to the conversation, but maybe our conversations are full enough. Hello Kitty: international, innocuous, silent. All very helpful as my angst plate is full over the slow infiltration of another Feminine Force:
That’s Barbie, for those reading from the Island of Mypos. To be exact, that is “Dancing with the Stars, Samba Barbie.” She doesn’t live here but soon she will live with my parents (Merry Christmas Mom.) When I was growing up I remember hearing rumors of girls not allowed to play with Barbies. I was shocked. Horrified, even. I mean, sure, I had been Dorcas for Halloween, but we had Barbies. And Skippers. And Kens.
But you know who we never did have? Jem. I’d think that I wanted Jem, and then I would get a close look, and back down. I can’t imagine why.
All that to say, that Barbie time is upon us and I fear myself becoming that Mom. That Mom who doesn’t want to enforce unfair body expectations through a doll that is anatomically impossible. That Mom, who wants bigger dreams for her daughter than after 52 years to marry the guy with the plastic hair and the red convertible.
But then I think back on my Barbie days and realize I never wanted to look like her. All I have ever wanted was to look ethnic. Did Barbie motivate that? As far as career goals, Mattel has really stepped it up. There is a complete Barbie “I can Be” line. “I can be…a Zoo Doctor.” “I can be…a Pancake Chef.” It’s inspirational really.
Could it be that I’m more threatened by Barbie now than I was ever influenced by her as a child?
If so, I can only be grateful that this other favorite line of my childhood is no longer around to taunt me:
Anyone else have The Heart Family? They were Barbie’s neighbors, “but not ever friends” according to a Mattel source. Umm…yeah. Can you imagine Daddy Heart and Rocker Ken hanging out, grilling? (Though Daddy Heart’s face was from the same sculpt as a 1970′s Ken. See how heavily I research my posts?)
The Heart Family was beautiful, blissful familial perfection. Great toys, but I could not handle them as my adult friends. Just look at that box. Clearly, they are transitioning to bunk beds, a transition we are about to undertake. How can it be that dreamy, even if I plan on wearing that dress? And the real kicker…look: they’re bilingual.
Okay, I need to know.
What toys do you dread/ban?
And who out there had JEM? (Please tell me you let her babysit for The Heart Family.)