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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What do you think about Barbie? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: What do you think about Barbie?
Christine
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I'm just curious -- especially from parents of little girls but I'll take opinions from anyone.

My daughter is 19 months old and is really too young, but she got a Barbie in a gift exchange. A cheap one who kind of looks like a scary hooker but that's neither here nor there.

I hadn't planned to get her any Barbie dolls and I plan to pass this one on since it's scary looking and for ages 3+ (there are plenty of charities still needing toys for Christmas...in my defense, we also donated nice toys!).

But for the future...is Barbie just some doll and I shouldn't make a big deal or does she reinforce unhealthy body images?

(Note: I played with Barbie as a child and have a terrible body image but I'm not sure if they're related. I am sure I want my daughter to think she's beautiful.)

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Samprimary
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I'm partially of the mind that girls aren't so amazingly frail that they should not be exposed to dolls with cartoonishly slim body figures that may promote poor self-image. you don't hear parents worried that G.I. Joe's ripped pectorals and muscly arms will give their boys poor body image. They aren't running around trying to find more porky or sinewy action figures to help their boys feel better about themselves. But with the girls, there's always that concern that barbie dolls will make them anorexic or something. It's such a strange divide.
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Elmer's Glue
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Get her a G.I. Joe instead?
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kmbboots
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I don't think that the contention is that Barbie by herself will injure girls' body image, rather that Barbie will be yet another straw in the enormous haypile of things that give girls the wrong message about their bodies.
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katharina
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No harm, no foul. She is clearly not human - she's about as effective a role model as a Teletubby.

I'm very feminist and very upset about unrealistic expectations in general, but Barbie doesn't bother me at all. She's as fantastic as a My Little Pony. I think it is fine.

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Raymond Arnold
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I'm with kmmboots - is it terrible? No. But girls are bombarded with enough bad messages, why add another one when there's plenty of perfectly normal looking dolls out there? (disclaimer: I have not actually checked the doll market recently and have no idea how easy it is to find perfectly normal looking dolls). G.I Joe isn't an issue for boys because they can look on TV and see plenty of positive role models of a variety of body types. Girls don't get that.

If she specifically asks for one when she's old enough, it's not the biggest of deals, but I wouldn't go out of my way to give her one before then.

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Sterling
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I don't exactly think she's all that's wrong with the world, per se. But there are a lot of better toys out there. Even putting aside body image, Barbie is such an icon of hyperconsumerism, both in her own "lifestyle" and in the thousands of other dolls, outfits, accessories, "friends", "pets", "homes", vehicles, and whatnot that her brand fiercely advertises to impressionable young girls.

One Barbie, especially to a pre-two, is not going to hurt anyone. But I wouldn't make it a habit. (And I'm the dad of a six-year-old girl who was is quite happy to overdose on pink, ponies, and dressing up her toys even without Barbie.)

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Christine
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Raymond hit on part of the difference between boys and girls -- the media is swimming with a variety of male body types whereas female body types are very limited.

The other thing is that I think girls are more in danger of linking their self image with their body image.

No, I don't think Barbie is evil incarnate and she is not going to be the ruin of my little girl. I just want her life to be full of as many positive images as I can manage and I definitely won't be choosing Barbie over other better toys -- even better toys in the pink aisle (that's what I call it). I'll take My Little Pony over Barbie any day.

I'm not sure if dolls are any better than they've ever been. Barbie is a fashion doll and aside from the body image concern, there's the fact that Barbie is historically a vapid female concerned with material things that will make her popular.

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Hank
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I loved Barbies growing up, and I will probably buy some of them and their stuff for my (potential future) daughters, but I do have some concerns. Both what Sterling described, and also the fact that it is extremely hard to buy Barbie clothes that aren't pretty suggestive. As someone who would prefer that my daughters be aware of how their clothing sends a message, I would prefer that mini skirts and tube tops not be considered the norm.

When it comes down to it, most of the games that I most enjoyed playing with barbies would be played just as effectively with a dollhouse, and with far fewer negative connotations attached.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I'm partially of the mind that girls aren't so amazingly frail that they should not be exposed to dolls with cartoonishly slim body figures that may promote poor self-image. you don't hear parents worried that G.I. Joe's ripped pectorals and muscly arms will give their boys poor body image. They aren't running around trying to find more porky or sinewy action figures to help their boys feel better about themselves. But with the girls, there's always that concern that barbie dolls will make them anorexic or something. It's such a strange divide.

There are few differences, though. G.I. Joe's build (at least from the ones I've seen) isn't unrealistic for a man in military special forces. I've known several men built like that (most of them firefighters, one of them an elementary school teacher), and any healthy young man who really wants to can achieve a similar physique.

I've never met a woman who was 7', 110 and 39-18-33.

Also, we live in a culture that praises men for intellect, skill, courage, and confidence, but praises women chiefly for beauty. A quick look at ugly or fat men who are famous actors vs. ugly or fat women demonstrates this. A short or poorly muscled man might think slightly less of himself for being so, but it's nothing compared to the enormous amount of pressure put on women to look a certain way.

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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
There are few differences, though. G.I. Joe's build (at least from the ones I've seen) isn't unrealistic for a man in military special forces. I've known several men built like that (most of them firefighters, one of them an elementary school teacher), and any healthy young man who really wants to can achieve a similar physique..

I have to point out that this is fundamentally untrue. There are many, many men in this world who will never have a body like GI Joe, no matter how many weights they lift or how hard they work out. My brother is one of those men. Not that he can't be fit and muscular, but he has a wiry build and will never be able to bulk to GI Joe standards.

Edit: For clarification I do know that there are many men who can achieve a body like GI Joe, I am simply pointing out that there are many who cannot.

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Juxtapose
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quote:
Raymond hit on part of the difference between boys and girls -- the media is swimming with a variety of male body types whereas female body types are very limited.
I'm going to argue that, outside of a fairly narrow range, the "variety" in male body types serve to provide the butt of a joke more often than not.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I'm not a big fan of Barbie, and I certainly wouldn't pay money for one, but I feel no need to ban it from our house.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
I'm going to argue that, outside of a fairly narrow range, the "variety" in male body types serve to provide the butt of a joke more often than not.
While this is true, I don't think it's nearly as true for men as it is for women.
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Yozhik
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Our objection to Barbie is that the dolls aren't sturdy enough to survive what my kid will do to them.

There were two Barbies in our church nursery, until Miss Toddler decided to find out if their arms would come off.

They did. All of them. Permanently.

So then there were these pathetic little double amputee Barbies in the nursery, until the new Nursery leader decided to toss them out.

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Hank
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When I was little, I once decided to give Barbie a haircut, but I couldn't get it even, so I had to cut it shorter and shorter. I distinctly remember my mom referring to it as "Chemo Barbie." It was years before I realized how inappropriate that was.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
quote:
I'm going to argue that, outside of a fairly narrow range, the "variety" in male body types serve to provide the butt of a joke more often than not.
While this is true, I don't think it's nearly as true for men as it is for women.
Non-perfect female body types are rarely even seen in the media. I'm not sure if it would be better if we could laugh at ourselves or not. I mean, you have a few real characters out there that will laugh at themselves and let us laugh alongside them...

I don't now. It's not a contest. I really do think women are judged more for their looks than men are, although I accept that we all get judged for our looks. For men the worst thing is probably being short, I think.

If it helps, I'm not fond of Ken, either. I always thought he was scary looking. Plus, I'm not partial to blond hair on men.

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DDDaysh
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I played with Barbies. I think most of use played with Barbies. Very few girls who played with Barbies grow up to be anorexic (largely because Barbie playing usually goes out the window long before adolescence when things like anorexia begin).

I think Barbies are far less to blame than Hollywood for any girls who are influenced. Barbie is a toy - Actresses are real. Most teens can figure that one out!

On the other hand, I never was particularly fond of Barbies. They took too much time and effort, and I'd usually get them all out and give up on the dolls halfway through the game and just make up the stories in my head instead. Barbies were just too difficult and stiff to really PLAY with for me. I much preferred stuffed animals and Cabbage Patch Kids. Thus, I've never actually bought a Barbie Doll for any other child, since I never thought they were much fun.

And yet, they're SO much better than those stupid Bratz Dolls. If you want to worry about bad influences....

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Yozhik:
Our objection to Barbie is that the dolls aren't sturdy enough to survive what my kid will do to them.

There were two Barbies in our church nursery, until Miss Toddler decided to find out if their arms would come off.

They did. All of them. Permanently.

So then there were these pathetic little double amputee Barbies in the nursery, until the new Nursery leader decided to toss them out.

My favorite Barbie was also an amputee. Instead of hard plastic, she was made of soft rubber on a wire "skeleton". My sister chewed her legs off at the knee.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I'm partially of the mind that girls aren't so amazingly frail that they should not be exposed to dolls with cartoonishly slim body figures that may promote poor self-image. you don't hear parents worried that G.I. Joe's ripped pectorals and muscly arms will give their boys poor body image. They aren't running around trying to find more porky or sinewy action figures to help their boys feel better about themselves. But with the girls, there's always that concern that barbie dolls will make them anorexic or something. It's such a strange divide.

Seems in 1922 nerds everywhere struggled to be more manly. Unfortunately for them, in 1922 none of the staples of nerdism existed. Being a nerd then was terrible indeed.
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
No harm, no foul. She is clearly not human - she's about as effective a role model as a Teletubby .... but Barbie doesn't bother me at all. She's as fantastic as a My Little Pony. I think it is fine.

I agree.

Yet, I have a friend with a 6-year-old daughter who is dead set against them.

I loved them growing up, and while I'd say it's safe to say my own body image and that of other girls could always use improvement, I also had supporting parents who let me know I was loved and accepted without making a big deal about whatever shape I was. They were supportive, too, when I was trying to eat healthier in my mid-twenties, but it wasn't about image, it was about health.

Also going to throw in that my mangled Barbies were the best. I had one that was the victim of our pet rabbit. She lost both her feet, but I sort of made her knew feet out of masking tape and painted them with acryllic craft paint so that she could still wear shoes. The other fav was "Laser Eyed Barbie". It was a Ken doll's head on a Skipper doll's body, and it was the ONLY way my little brother ever interacted with Barbie dolls. He'd come into whatever room a friend and I would have all the dolls and clothes out, and the next thing you knew Laser Eyed Barbie would be crashing the party/wedding/camp out by murdering all attendees with her laser eyes. Heh.

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scholarette
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My almost three year old has no barbies. Tons of polly pockets though- she loves those little dolls. And little people. I won a huge auction on ebay a few years back for very cheap and so she has houses and boats and stables and planes and all sorts of furniture and toys for those. The little people and polly pockets often play together.

I think my reluctance to do barbie dolls comes from childhood traumas. Imagine if you will, a four year old waking up to find all of her barbie dolls decapitated and hanging from their hair around her room. Arms and legs and bodies are scattered all over the floor., some with "blood" from a red marker. And my sister wonders why our relationship was often strained.

Also, barbie was boring. Ooh- I change her outfit (which takes forever and can be difficult sometimes). They were also big and awkward. And they don't stand on their own. Hard to line them up and march them off to war. My little ponies worked well for that. And I seem to think that JI Goe's could ride them (one of the "boy's" toys did fit pretty nicely on them though).

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Brinestone
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I was not allowed to own any Barbies until I was six. After that, I loved making up elaborate stories about them with my sister and my best friend. They were essentially characters in our stories, and they did all sorts of imaginative things. I would say my own body image is fine, but who knows what effect they may have had? I almost think looking at real models and actresses makes me feel more insecure than Barbies ever did. I remember my dad telling me I was prettier than any Barbie, though.
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theCrowsWife
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The Ninja Turtles were perfectly sized to ride My Little Ponies. My little brothers used to steal my Barbies and Ponies and play with them, along with their Turtles.

I was never interested in dressing the Barbies in different clothes. I'd be more likely to take them out in their pink car and roll them down a hill until they crashed. Then they were lost in the wilderness and had to survive. Breyer horses were useful in this game as well. Every one of my horse figures had at least one leg that had broken off and was glued back on.

So anyhow, given that my 5 year old daughter has a similar personality to me, I don't worry about her getting the occasional Barbie. It's not something I would buy myself, but I don't care if others buy them (as long as they're reasonably dressed).

--Mel

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by andi330:
I have to point out that this is fundamentally untrue. There are many, many men in this world who will never have a body like GI Joe, no matter how many weights they lift or how hard they work out. My brother is one of those men. Not that he can't be fit and muscular, but he has a wiry build and will never be able to bulk to GI Joe standards

How old is your brother, how many hours per day does he work out, and what sort of exercises does he do?

I didn't say it was easy for any healthy man to achieve such a physique, or even worthwhile, but I still think it's possible. I think if your brother got with a personal trainer, started doing varied exercises, weights, and switched up reps to maximize muscle confusion, and worked out 3 or 4 hours a day, he could probably look like G.I. Joe in 3 years.

Other men just get that build naturally - I've got a friend like that who works out maybe an hour a day, and does mostly crunches/pushups/pullups at that.

But I say this because one of the guys I mentioned (the school teacher) was very skinny growing up, and never put on muscle. He actually spends quite a bit of time planning his workouts and meals, takes 2 different protein supplements, and is quite dedicated to his body building. He treats it like a science, researching which exercises to do, and how to pair them with other exercises to optimize muscle growth.

But all that's moot, since the sinewy-yet-strong body type is a well respected alternative to the G.I. Joe look. Just look at all the girls who enjoyed LotR because of this guy.

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kmbboots
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*sigh* I was hoping for Aragorn.
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Dogbreath
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I'm sure he got some lovin too. (from old women, that is!)
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kmbboots
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Hey!
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'm not a big fan of Barbie, and I certainly wouldn't pay money for one, but I feel no need to ban it from our house.

While I used to be more negative about them, this is where I eventually got to as well.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'm not a big fan of Barbie, and I certainly wouldn't pay money for one, but I feel no need to ban it from our house.

While I used to be more negative about them, this is where I eventually got to as well.
I'll probably go this way as well.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'm not a big fan of Barbie, and I certainly wouldn't pay money for one, but I feel no need to ban it from our house.

While I used to be more negative about them, this is where I eventually got to as well.
That's probably the most sensible approach, really.

I'm still pawning this one off at Toys for Tots. Mine is still too young for it and hasn't completely stopped putting things in her mouth. I don't see any reason to save this for when she's old enough, especially since there are other kids who could use some presents.

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ketchupqueen
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We don't allow any fashion dolls, even the "little kid" fashion dolls, in our house. Period. We allow baby dolls of all shapes and sizes and colors and attire (well, probably not a Bratz Babiez wearing a thong...) because they are dolls that you take care of. The whole point of fashion dolls is to dress them up in fashionable clothes. We are not into that. Plus they have lots of little pieces that get lost and we have enough other toys with lost pieces.
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malanthrop
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Barbie was beefed up a few years ago. The Barbie of my childhood had a figure equivalent to what resulted in Chinese foot binding. Her figure now could at least be possible, although not common. Especially in a nation that has our obesity rate. As with anything, we should aim for the middle ground thus represent the average. Barbie should be a bit chunky, like the kids who play with her.
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DDDaysh
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Hmm, I never thought about that KQ. I always thought Barbies were for playing with sorta like Action Figures for girls. Maybe that's why they never worked well in my play, I wasn't doing it right!

Do other little girls really sit there and just dress them up and change their clothes? That doesn't seem like much fun at all. Is that really what they're for? (I'm asking this seriously, because that never occurred to me before!).

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malanthrop
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Mattel just needs to be more diverse. If I were the CEO of Mattel, I would make slim, chunky and obese barbies...let the parent choose. Not really different than their decision to begin making ethnic Barbies. Unfortunately, the Morbidly Obese Barbie probably wouldn't be a big seller.

I worry less about Barbie than what my daughter watches on television.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
I'm still pawning this one off at Toys for Tots. Mine is still too young for it and hasn't completely stopped putting things in her mouth. I don't see any reason to save this for when she's old enough, especially since there are other kids who could use some presents.

Makes perfect sense to me.

quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Do other little girls really sit there and just dress them up and change their clothes? That doesn't seem like much fun at all. Is that really what they're for? (I'm asking this seriously, because that never occurred to me before!).

That and play house with them, pretty much.
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malanthrop
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My daughter is bugging me to remove her barbie ceiling border and is obsessed with Mustang's. Despite the fact that we treated her and surrounded her with girlie-girl things, she is a Tom-Boy. Go with the flow and let your child be who she is. If she wants a barbie or a crescent wrench, does it matter? Mine once was obsessed with Barbies, now she hates to wear dresses. I don't think a toy can influence a child's development unless that is the only toy the parent lets them have.


My girl asks me why she is left handed. I tell her, we let her choose. How many parents still influences left/right dominance without even realizing it?

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Shanna
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When I was a kid, my mom gave me a box of her used Barbie Dolls from her childhood. I remember loving their "harsh" looking makeup and dark hair.

I had one blonde barbie who pretty much spent her entire life in a blue tu-tu. I went through a ballerina stage and used to have her put on productions for my audience of stuff animals. Eventually, I got a Rollerblading Ken but he disappeared after my brothers succeeded in setting the carpet on fire with his light-up skates. And I had the bust used for hairstyling but after I gave her a short hacked pixie haircut, she lost all of her fun.

My mother never gave into my requests for the Dream Car or any of the huge accessories. And that was the responsible call for her to make. A few years ago she revealed her rule for Barbie outfits which was "If my daughter couldn't wear it, then Barbie can't." So I had alot of jeans and dresses for my Barbie, but nothing revealing or trendy. My favorite outfits were the costume ones anyway. Barbie was a way for me to play at being a ballerina or a teacher or a Indian or a mermaid, etc.

But its been awhile since my age was in single-digits so I don't even know Barbie has fun outfits anymore or if its all about "fashion" and all of that nonsense.

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CaySedai
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My sister and I played with Barbies, too. We lived in a small town and there was a lady who sewed Barbie clothes and they were sold at the local hardware store. So I had cool homemade clothes for my Barbies.

An egg carton made a good Barbie bed. We had a sort of wash tub that we used for a Barbie pool in the back yard, filled with water from the pump.

Now I play Sims 3. (Kind of like Barbies for grownups [Big Grin] )

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Hmm, I never thought about that KQ. I always thought Barbies were for playing with sorta like Action Figures for girls. Maybe that's why they never worked well in my play, I wasn't doing it right!

Do other little girls really sit there and just dress them up and change their clothes? That doesn't seem like much fun at all. Is that really what they're for? (I'm asking this seriously, because that never occurred to me before!).

When I went to my friend's house and played Barbies (she had a ton-- fashion dolls weren't allowed in my house either as a general rule growing up) we changed their clothes so they could:
-go on dates with Ken
-go to parties with the other Barbies
-have sleepovers with the other Barbies
-drive cars and do "teenage stuff"

That was pretty much it.

I'd much rather have my little girls practice changing diapers and feeding bottles (though actually, usually their "babies" get sippy cups or are "breastfed"-- they only get the occasional bottle, when with the "babysitter") than going to parties and on dates. There'll be enough of that in their teenage years for my tastes. I think the diapers will be more useful in the long term. [Smile]

(I was once given a Skipper by someone who didn't know my mom's rule, for my birthday. I had it open before my mom knew so I was allowed to keep it. However because I had no other similarly sized dolls for, you know, going on dates and to parties with, she first was beheaded as Mary Queen of Scots, then we lit her hair on fire when we read about chemical chromotography. Then my mom took her away.)

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malanthrop
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There are other dolls my wife refuses to buy for our daughter...can't remember the name. They are hooochie momma looking dolls. Barbie might be thin, but the the options are trendy hoes.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
Mattel just needs to be more diverse. If I were the CEO of Mattel, I would make slim, chunky and obese barbies...let the parent choose. Not really different than their decision to begin making ethnic Barbies. Unfortunately, the Morbidly Obese Barbie probably wouldn't be a big seller.

I wouldn't buy an obese doll, but I could see buying a chubby one.
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
There are other dolls my wife refuses to buy for our daughter...can't remember the name. They are hooochie momma looking dolls. Barbie might be thin, but the the options are trendy hoes.

I refuse Bratz. Those fit what you are describing.
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katharina
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I actually like the fashion doll idea. Like anything it can get out of hand, but learning how to be well-groomed is vital life skill. It would be nice if it never mattered how one looked, but I'd rather my (theoretical) kids prepared for the world they have to live in that the one I might wish for.

Not teaching them how to be well groomed is like not teaching them how to handle money. It would be great if money didn't have to exist, but since it does, I'd rather not confine them to a lifetime of poverty and crappy personal finances by pretending it doesn't.

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The Rabbit
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When I was kid, Barbies were our avatars for two kinds of games.

1. Roll playing games that generally centered on dating and other aspects of young adult social life. That might also involve "playing house", but more commonly we played carefree young adults with the Barbies.

2. Dress Up. Unless you happen to have access to an elaborate costume closet, its a lot easier to play dress up with Barbies. At one point, when we were learning to sew, my sister and I designed and made dozens of Barbie costumes. We even started a little business selling them.

Both those games involved in part, imagining that we were grown up, beautiful and glamorous. Barbies seemed pretty and glamorous, even though we'd make fun of how unrealistic they were at times. I'm pretty confident that Barbies had little influence on what we though was beautiful and glamorous, they simply conformed to ideas we already had. If you look at Barbies over the years, its clear they have changed with changing fashions. If Barbie had been chubby,I doubt we would have had much interest in playing with them.

I really don't think Barbies are a cause of anything. I don't think they even contribute in particular to poor body image or obsessive concern about clothes and boys. They are made to appeal to girls who are already concerned about those things and changing Barbie isn't going to make those concerns disappear.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

2. Dress Up. Unless you happen to have access to an elaborate costume closet, its a lot easier to play dress up with Barbies. At one point, when we were learning to sew, my sister and I designed and made dozens of Barbie costumes. We even started a little business selling them.


I recommend providing children with an aunt that is in theatre and who also raids second hand shops for bridesmaid and prom dresses so that they always have excellent dress up clothes. My nieces and nephews were well supplied. Also, cheap costume jewelry and Mardi Gras beads make great "treasure" for princesses and pirates and dragons.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

2. Dress Up. Unless you happen to have access to an elaborate costume closet, its a lot easier to play dress up with Barbies. At one point, when we were learning to sew, my sister and I designed and made dozens of Barbie costumes. We even started a little business selling them.


I recommend providing children with an aunt that is in theatre and who also raids second hand shops for bridesmaid and prom dresses so that they always have excellent dress up clothes. My nieces and nephews were well supplied. Also, cheap costume jewelry and Mardi Gras beads make great "treasure" for princesses and pirates and dragons.
How do you recommend one go about providing children with an aunt who is in theatre?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

2. Dress Up. Unless you happen to have access to an elaborate costume closet, its a lot easier to play dress up with Barbies. At one point, when we were learning to sew, my sister and I designed and made dozens of Barbie costumes. We even started a little business selling them.


I recommend providing children with an aunt that is in theatre and who also raids second hand shops for bridesmaid and prom dresses so that they always have excellent dress up clothes. My nieces and nephews were well supplied. Also, cheap costume jewelry and Mardi Gras beads make great "treasure" for princesses and pirates and dragons.
How do you recommend one go about providing children with an aunt who is in theatre?
Shouldn't be hard, I find all girls to be somewhat trained in theatrics.
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The Rabbit
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But it isn't the "theatrics" that are important, its the well stocked costume closet.


Did you think about this before you selected your wife? Did you check to make sure someone in her family was collecting and hoarding dress up clothes for your kids? If not, you best make sure any unmarried brothers, marry women with a good costume closet or you will be stuck yourself with providing a proper dress up wardrobe for your daughter.

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Amanecer
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quote:
But its been awhile since my age was in single-digits so I don't even know Barbie has fun outfits anymore or if its all about "fashion" and all of that nonsense.
My niece (aged 4) LOVES Barbie and has many fun outfits for Barbie. While she'll dress her Barbies up and play house, I haven't noticed any difference in the way she plays with Barbie and the way she plays with other adult dolls/ figurines. They're just another way to play pretend.

My niece also loves Barbie movies. I reluctantly watched a few and was shocked by their quality. They're not Disney, but they're far better than most kids' movies.

If your kid has a personality that likes barbies, I don't see a reason to fight it.

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