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Monday, November 19, 2012

A steady diet of Barbie is good for no one


Mother Magoo raised me by herself. My dad lives overseas. This means she had to bust her ass to make life happen for the two of us. As such she had no patience for Barbie. The phony, sexist "here's a reward for being pretty!" ethos Barbie represented appalled her and she did not want that tiny trophy wife/debutante to be my plaything.

Keeping the pink Barbie disease from our house was not as easy as you might think, what with me being a tomboy and all. Little by little, the doll infiltrated my tender life via friends and school mates and popular culture. Eventually, I wanted one. Had to have one. I could not for the life of me understand my mother's position on the matter. Much like eating sugar until I puked, this seemed like a most estimable idea. We battled and eventually went our corners to sulk.

Mother Magoo's best friend sat her down and had a mom to mom talk, one of those you-ain't-gonna-like-this conversations. The harsh reality is that you can only shield daughters from bullshit social gender expectations so much. Keeping the pink pestilence out of your home will not make it go away. She looked Mother Magoo dead in her eye and said, "Either you let her play with Barbie or she's going to be Barbie."

The next day, I got my very own Barbie. I was elated. My neighbor brought her Barbies over and we ran out into the yard, all excited. Mere minutes later Mother Magoo hears something pelting the living rooms windows. She looks out to see what it is and there's Barbie, perfect hair disheveled and covered in dirt, flying into the window pane like a confused bird. My friend and I had fashioned little capes and were having Barbie superhero adventures which resulted into our beloved dolls slamming into the house and falling into the dirt over and over again. Their little stripper shoes nowhere to be found.

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2 comments:

  1. Aha...and Of course...and oh my...and of course again. And when does Baby-flails-a-lot whine for her first Barbi? It's not the toy, it's the power of the pretend that accompanies the moments with the toy that matters. Like this story much.

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    1. Fortunately, Flails isn't there yet, cause adult me hates those dolls. Right now she's into books and stuffed bears. Our next toys are going to follow her interests - tools and cars. I figure since her wardrobe is mostly sparkly and pink, she doesn't need any stereotypically girl toys.

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