Thank you for saying it.
neighbor gave 3yo DD Disney Princess set -- what would you do? - Page 2
Yeah that. They're just toys. I'm pretty picky about toys myself for various reasons. I have older boys and I've kept them away from the violent "ugly" scary Bioncle and fighting monster superhero this and that...but they still somehow know who Spiderman is after a neighbor gave my oldest a Spiderman pillow....sure enough they played "fight and dead" with it, never having ever seen a Spiderman movie etc. I have a 5 month old dd so I have been thinking about Barbie. I think it's no big deal if you keep it low key. Some people go all out with the cars and houses and every thing in the Disney collections. Just play with them with your daughter like you know nothing about Disney stuff. Just maybe read the fairy tales, the non Disney versions, and some play can be had from that alone. If you are really against it then you may have to fess up to your neighbor or if you can't do that maybe donate the toys.
I played with barbies and I honestly doubt my childhood or my feminist self was injured in any way.
I'd give her the gift. That was very nice of the neighbors to think of her.
I'd thank the neighbor. To me, the feelings of my neighbors are more important than a temporary toy.
I'd let her play with them. At age three, they will end up in the tub soon, the clothes will be lost, and they lose their attraction and mystery pretty soon. It's a hard toy for three year olds to play with. Which means you have to dress the same doll EVERY NINE MINUTES, because all the child wants to do is take the clothes off.
I say give her the dolls. It was very kind of your neighbor, and I think returning them on the sly has the potential for hurt feeling, which doesn't seem worth it. I've given up the struggle against the whole princess thing, despite being fervently anti-Disney. My DD uses barbies and princess dolls for all kinds of pretend play, it is not limited to the princess stories AT ALL. However, she can also make silverware at a restaurant have conversations, so that's just the way she is. I played with a barbie as a kid and never wanted to look like her, so I'm not worried about that aspect of it.
I think you should give her the dolls if it is something that you vaguely felt you wouldn't do because your mom didn't rather than something you are adamantly against because you genuinely believe that it will cause her to hate her body. I was raised with lots of Barbie in a fundamentalist church with a mother who was not a feminist until a few years ago when she started taking classes on it for college, and I still turned out to be a feminist and have always been far more liberal than my mom. I don't think that the presence of absence of a doll guarantees that your child will take in your values. I started out parenting being against Barbies, something my mother says all moms do (even she did), but they were something my dd really loved seeing in the store and she wanted one from the age of one, I finally got her one when she was three as a weaning present. It sounds like you are on the fence about Barbie anyways so if you don't give them I suggest writing the card then saving them just in case because the Disney princesses are a little pricey and it may be nice to have them if your dd does get wildly into Barbie dolls and you want to give her something that you know she will really like at that point.
Responding to this post because my 4.5 y.o. DD will receive a similar Disney Princess doll set from my IL's as a holiday gift. DD asked for it specifically after seeing it in a Target catalog while having lunch with them a few weeks ago. I rolled my eyes when I heard about DD's gift request, but bit my tongue. Yeah, I wish she'd asked for something else, but hey, at least she won't ask me to get them for her!
Though DD is interested in Disney Princess stuff, she also loves tarantulas, mud puddles, train sets, and lots of other non-princessy things... she's a pretty well-rounded kid! I think this is true of the majority of girls who own Princess merch.
what's the big deal with dolls and princesses anyway? my daughter is 4.5 and has been playing with all sorts of dolls for several years already. she is *not* into "princess" play like so many little girls are. this has nothing to do with how i've raised her (i don't think) -- she's just more of a rough-and-tumble kind of girl. she knows about princesses b/c so many of her friends love the princess stuff. but my DD loves Dora and Diego and their always on the go adventures.
her pretend play includes dolls and stuffed animals. she incorporates whatever "props" are on hand. she is veryvery creative in her approach to things, always pretending something is something else, for example she will take a scarf and fold it into a sleeping bag for her dolls, a bed, a car seat strap, whatever is on her mind. i love to see her playing this way! she entertains herself for hours when she really gets into it, and i think it's awesome! if i'm just putzing around, putting clothes away or straightening up while she's playing, and i act totally casual, sometimes i get to here her little "conversations" that she makes between the characters, and it's all so sweet and nice. i can't emphasize enough how awesome i think it is!
so to me the princess dolls are just another "prop" in her "toolbox" of toys. she has a similar set of princess dolls, like the ones you described. they are at the top of her closet. she has occasionally asked for me to take them out (i have to reach them, they and many of her toys are in ziplock bags up high), and has had tea parties with her oversized for the dolls size tea set. it's all innocent, and it's all good.
soon enough, too soon, i'm sure she'll be on to other things and leave this kind of pretend play behind. but i think it's really good for her, draws on her own imagination, and gives her a chance to act out her own values.
oh, and i played barbies with my friends growing up and i grew up to be a pretty confident feminist type. i have no regrets about it, it was a pretty big part of my pretend play too.
My 11 year old girl and 8 year old boy are both feminists - both are attuned to, identify and object to the -isms: racism, sexism, agism, and are very attuned to advertisers' techniques. I wrung my hands about barbies etc when DD was younger, and had a few minor cardiac episodes during the princess phase. My approach was to raise her with our values and to not fight too hard about the dolls and princess stuff as I figured the forbidden fruit would be made all the sweeter. She had a couple of barbies, saw some of the princess movies, had some princess gear. She's now a kick @ss 11 year old with self-confidence and reasonable expectations. :)
I'd give them to her and remain neutral on the topic with her. When she's playing with them and dresses them up and asks your thoughts, "yes, that dress is very pretty!" but otherwise ignore them. The kids like Star Wars and that stuff - not my cup of tea, but I can show basic interest because it's what they're interested in.
aaaaaah mama this is a hard place to be.
i recall feeling your way when dd was 3. now that i have parenting under my belt for 8 years i am wiser and more confident about making some decisions.
so here is what matters to me. people matter to me more than anything. and i have seen the result it has had on my dd. i have allowed things to happen which were big NO NOs in my books - for that relationship. i allowed my 82 year old neighbour give my dd an ounce of watered down pepi si when dd was 18 months old. i tried really hard to stop it but i couldnt. i could have cut off ties but i chose not to and ignore the pepsi. neighbour moved when dd was 2 into a alzheimer's home. we never saw her agian. she moved far away. 6 years later my dd remembers her ''gma' very, very clearly and she still recalls the love she felt from her. it was truly magical. we see so little fo this kind of connection these days that i was grateful for that blessing. in fact because gma knew i didnt approve of pepsi, she sneaked it and i think that's the most important thing that dd remembers. i wouild knowingly ignore the pepsi.
with toys i did not encourage dd but didnt try to keep them away from her either. dd was going to dc so i knew there were too many influences out there. plus i was confident in a strange sort a way. i always felt what was more important was my actions - not other things. my dd got barbies. she played with them for a while and then was done. as another mama wrote it was exactly what happened. the clothes came off, they went into the bathtub and soon enough she lost interest. i have noticed with my dd though - even at 3, the best way to get a no reaction was to say yes. the moment i said no it became a big thing and she wanted to do it again and again.
so really this is crunch time. its time to figure out your philosophy. this is my favourite thing about parenting. do what you feel is true to your heart. if it really wrenches your heart to give your dd the dolls then dont. but if you dont see the big deal then give it to her.
you know one thing i have noticed - now that dd is 8 - what has a huge impact on her life - is my openenss and how i choose to live life. she truly gets the core issues. today i am still the biggest influence in her life. not toys, not commercials, not tv. me - not my words, but my actions.
Me, I'd give her the dolls and be happy I didn't have to pay for them. And on the upside, at least they're somewhat ethnically diverse nowadays and you can buy a good selection of Barbie-sized doll clothes on the cheap at garage sales and thrift stores. I'm not a huge fan of Disney or the Disney Princess thing, but I don't think they're inherently evil, either. My daughter always invents her own adventures for her dolls.
We were actually at my parents' today and my mom appeared with a box and said, "Guess what's in here that used to be Mommy's?" And of course it was a box of barbies and other dolls. And DD glommed onto them instantly. I was put out because I kinda thought she should've asked first.... for one thing, I just got DD a new dollhouse for Christmas and it isn't big enough for Barbies!
but mostly because I'd already decided I didn't want to invest in dolls who are so darned hard to dress just yet. Fortunately DD was satisfied to leave the actual Barbies with Grandma as long as I let her keep my old Strawberry Shortcake dolls, which also seem to have had a small wardrobe to play with (and are smaller and cuter, with kid-like bodies).
You'd be surprised at how long this play can last -- we had our neighbor's 11 year old son (going into 6th grade) spend a ton of time at our house last summer with my 9 year old ds. One of their most frequent games was: Stuffed animals! And this 11 year old is heavily exposed to media and video games that I'd never let in my house -- so it just goes to show that imaginative play is really very robust!
We have those dolls you are talking about along with a giant bin of Barbie's.
DD is 7 and sometimes plays with them. She likes to have them and is VERY drawn to princessy and sparkly pretty things.
I feel that discouraging this stuff would just make me have to say no all the more often.
She also has a box of Kelly dolls which I love. They are all little girls with different skin and hair colors. She has probably played them the most.
I dont have the problem with the Barbie's being too thin, pretty, or unrealistic. Doll makers make what sells. Pretty dolls sell. Children and adults are attracted to beauty. Who is going to make an unattractive doll? Dolls are fake; kids know that.
I played with Barbies. They are not what made me think I should have big boobs. The boys made me feel that way when they called me "mosquito bites".
DH grew up playing action figures who all had giant muscles and super powers. He didn't care if he had big muscles and I think once he was 5 he realized he couldn't fly.
I can kind of understand what the concern is but I don't think a doll is going to make a girl think that is how she is supposed to be shaped. I think our culture is going to do that whether we can stop it or not. I think if there is plenty of talk about the importance of being kind to others and our selves and healthy living .....about the inside of a person being what counts, that will be the best prevention against our DD's thinking they have to look like an airbrushed model.
Also, I would much rather my DD playing in her room with Barbies if that makes her happy and use her imagination, than watching all the trashy TV shows that her class mates watch.
As much as the princess nonsense irritates me, DD likes it. The dolls are pretty. She likes to look and be pretty. It's not going to cause her to grow up and think she is inferior to men or woman with big breasts.
There is only so much you can protect them from the way they are going to take in the world. Communication and guidance are important.
At 3, you can confiscate the dolls, but when they get older it gets harder.
I would write my neighbor a note thanking her for the gift, telling her you are going to save them for DS for when she is a little older, and then donate them. Maybe you would prefer to keep them until she is older. I don't think those dolls give a young child a healthy body image.
I loved barbies as a kid, and yeah, I really do think they warped my ideas of what a woman's body should like. Living in Los Angeles doesn't help.