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forbidding barbie -- thoughts?

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
just keep telling her that mommy doesn't want Barbies in the house, but she's allowed to play with them at friends houses, as I can't control what she's doing there unfortunetly.
i am rather torn about it, about the barbie issue, i mean. i can't say i HATE barbie, but i certainly dislike them quite a lot. just not my cup of tea -- don't like their facial expression, don't like the way they look. and of course i read countless articles on why barbies are BAD for the body image and what not.

so for about a year i went through a phase of 'i will not allow barbies in my house'. dd is only 3, so it is all theoretical so far :LOL

since slipping into unschooling set of mind, i am relaxing a bit, thinking that if she really wants it, we can get one (ONE :LOL ). who am i to deny my dd a DOLL? :LOL

but i am also thinking that if she wants barbies, and we get them, then it is under some sort of my control, for lack of a better expression. i mean i can play with her. i can model to her. i can comment to her about barbie's looks. we can talk about things. i can model to her being critical of consumerism. things like that.

if i forbid the doll, it automatically aquires this special status -- something desirable, but unatteinable. like it is more special, than it actually is.

then there is something else -- she might get the message that things that are not allowed at home, are allowed at friends' -- what about alcohol and drugs later on? you can't have it here, but i can't control what is happening at your friends'?

if my teenage dd got curious about pot, and decided to try, i'd rather my dd smoked it in my basement, then in some other basement, who knows where and with whom, and kept it a secret, because mama does not approve of drugs, kwim? btw, i do not approve of drugs. but one day it will be her choice, and i'd rather it was a safer one.

just random thoughts.

what do others think?
post #2 of 94
Cool username! I call my younger daughter AnnaBanana!

Nothing profound to share, but I felt somewhat similarly about my DDs having Barbies, except that I grew up with them and am really neither nor there about their looks. I'm more about banning those ugly Bratz dolls.

But this past week, we happened to go down the toy aisle in Target and there was Barbie and her zillion accessories to go with her (gosh, Barbie clothes have gotten expensive!), and DD1 was in awe. She went on about how beautiful she was (but honestly, every doll is beautiful to her, no matter what the looks are), so I caved and bought a ballerina one, the cheapest kind with the least "stuff" that came with it. And unfortunately, in just a week, the collection has grown to 3 Barbies (or the store knock-offs). I won't buy anymore, and am really watching closely how my girls play with them. So far they are just walking around with them, and they are stark naked at DD's request. My DDs are quite young still (nearly 3 and almost 2), so many might say I got them WAY too early, but hey, try dealing with 1 toy that both girls want at the same time...

I guess I don't see them as such a problem because I grew up with a good amount of them, but I was never obsessed or even compared myself to them. They were always just dolls, just toys. I had neighbor friends who were obsessed with them and "needed" to have all the accessories and cars and crap that Barbie had, but I never had that desire. I had them in all different colors, too, and I remember my Eskimo Barbie sparking an interest in that culture. So it wasn't a completely bad thing to have Barbies, I think.

Good luck! Hope you get some good advice here.
post #3 of 94
Already at 22 months old my dd gets stars in her eyes when she sees a Barbie. :LOL

I can honestly see what the complaints are about barbie, and I agree 100% but I think we will be better off letting Flora play with barbies and explaining to her, in age appropriate ways, what our problems with Barbie are. I also worry about Barbie getting some sort of special status if we forbid it, and I've seen it happen with more than a few friends.

Another thing - I was a hardcore barbie addict until.. um, I was 14 or so! For me, esp. in later childhood, barbie was a very creative toy. I made her furniture, designed houses for the dolls, made her clothes, gave her punk makeovers. lol As bad as barbies may be on some levels, at least they tend not to flash lights and blink and they do involve 'active play', kwim?

My dh and I have considered customizing barbies to make them a little more palatable. One idea was to make them into otherworldly creatures/goddesses (I mean if they are going to look nothing like real women, let's make them something other than 'real women'!) It seems likea fun art project, yk? You can do a google search on "OOAK Barbies" or "One of a kind barbies" to get some ideas. I would have less problems giving my daughter goddess dolls to play with than regular barbies, I think.

I wish there was a way to customize a barbie and make her fat, though. A venus of willendorf barbie would rock.
post #4 of 94
Just wanted to let know about our experiences with Barbie Dolls. My dd started pre-school when she was about 3, hence the discussion began about barbie dolls. I don´t like them also for the reason mentioned. Also where we live, the choices are very very slim in terms of dolls about 80% are barbie dolls which is fairly offensive we live in South America so its the whole marketing thing american cultural imperialism combined with cooping what beauty is ect...
Well when my dd started to ask for them I gave my reasons, lots of ways to look in this world and most people don´t look like barbies (thank god) and that they are everywhere and there are other dolls they are just as fun but look different, short, chubby, funny clothes, baby dolls ect..She looked at me and said. Mom sometimes you think I am you and your me and your not and you don´t like barbies but I do! Well I said your right you have you opinions but I can´t buy you barbies for the reason I mention I am sorry. She has a good variety of dolls and toys including some barbie and barbieish type dolls. Just one more antidote. She came to me with her new barbie with her hair all cut off and said see mommy now she looks like me!
I try to keep a balance with all of this it´s not easy.
ML
post #5 of 94
My DDs have Barbies. They got interested in Barbie when they were very young and now (they are 7 and 8) have pretty much outgrown Barbie.

I agree with pretty much everything you are saying about Barbies, but the bottom line for me is that I don't feel the need to control which toys my kids can play with. When I was weighing the decision, I had to figure out which of my parenting values was more important -- my desire to give my kids as much control over their own lives as possible OR my dislike for Barbie's unrealistic proportions.

Barbie at our house is an animal lover -- she has cats and dogs and horses. We have Barbies of different races. When she isn't training her animals or being vet, she reenacts fairy tales.
post #6 of 94
I'm posting as a person who has eaten her words - many, many times...

I said the same thing - "My DD won't have Barbies, they are unrealistic models of what women should look like, they encourage an obsession with clothing and thinness and makeup, they'll give her a negative body image, etc."

She got a couple as a gift when she was about 2. I put them in the closet, partly because I still felt Barbies were evil and partly because I thought they weren't appropriate for a two-year-old who would probably chew on their heads.

When she started seeing Barbies and wanting Barbies, maybe around age 4, I pulled them out of the closet (Barbie came out of the closet!!! :LOL ) and let her play with them. And you know what? She just played with them like she did with any other doll. Not once did I hear her say in her squeaky speaking-for-the-doll voice, "Oh, let's go to the mall and buy a sexy minidress with extra support for my huge breasts!" Okay, I'm being silly, but you get the point.

So she acquired some other Barbies over the years. The first one I bought was 1970's "Peace and Love" Barbie, who we nicknamed Hippie Barbie. She has about six or seven Disney ones and those are pretty multicultural (though Disney has yet to create an African-American heroine : ). We have the Happy Family with the pregnant mom, the dad (and we made it a mixed-race family because you had to buy each family member separately!), and the grandparents. She just plays with them. I don't buy her "Shopping Mall Barbie" or "Supermodel Barbie" or any ones that tell her that Barbie is about beauty and fashion, so she doesn't play with them in that way. Plus it doesn't hurt that neither I nor any of the women she sees regularly are "women who shop."

Man, I've participated in way too many Barbie threads. I need to stop repeating myself! :LOL
post #7 of 94
My mom refused to let us have Barbies when we were small. I think that my other family members must have known they were taboo, too, as I never received one as a gift from an aunt or grandmother. I did play with them at my friends' houses, but my mom just let us know that we weren't allowed to have them at home.

But then a friend gave me one for my birthday when I turned seven or eight. And then a year or so later, my neighbour decided she was too old for Barbies and gave me all her stash.

FWIW, I think we (my sister and I) started playing with Barbies a lot later than most girls, and I think we have good self-images.
post #8 of 94
I don't want to say that I won't allow DD to have Barbie. I agree in that you make something then some "forbidden fruit" kind of thing. I'm just trying to get her something else first to see if it will be ok for her. She's still pretty young & not around it much. Not so much because I have forbidden Barbie, its just that her main play friends right now are boys who don't have any Barbies.

Part of me would like to just ban Barbie, for a ton of reasons. However, I'm not doing that right now because I want to be realistic. That, & I want my kid to be an independent thinker, & she may then not think like me! I'm just trying to find an alternative.

Thanks for the input. Its a good discussion!

L
post #9 of 94
I loved Barbie when I as a kid, and I honestly don't think it screwed me up. I do understand all the arguments against her though.

To be honest though, its WAY better than Bratz!! I just hope if I have a little girl, she chooses Barbie over Bratz.

XOXO
Beth
post #10 of 94
I did not want Barbie in the house. I have never bought a Barbie. When DD turned 2 she got one as a gift. She also got them as gifts at 3, & 4.

DD gets all excited when she sees the new Barbie. We have to open it immediately. She plays with Barbie for 2 days. Barbie is in a box collecting dust. DD could care less.
post #11 of 94
You know, a lot of posts are reminding me of one aspect of the Barbie culture (and basically the toy culture) here: no kid just has one Barbie, like we did when we were kids (3 girls, 3 Barbies). Everyone has a collection of these dolls stuffed somewhere, naked Barbie dolls stuffed into plastic bins under beds!!

Some of Delia's friends must have 30 of them. It really makes me ill, the waste that that implies...And how can a child learn to care for her dolls lovingly when she has so many that cleanup time is just "get out the bulldozer"?

I REALLY didn't want Barbie in the house, mainly because I was nailing down the windows and doors trying to keep the marketers from exploiting my child's childhood. But it did seep in...preschool and other friend's houses...So I compromised. I really don't see the point of a Barbie for a 3 year old, who just doesn't have the fine motor skills to put the clothes on and off, so I told dd she could get Barbies when she was 5. Family members who had been hoarding them waiting until the day got her her "collection" of Barbies. She has 6, including a dad and toddler boy and some of the Kellys.

I think that my way really worked for us. I got to make my points (and believe me, I DID ), I got to say "yes, but", and Del got her Barbies. They didn't take over the house, she played with them for a few years pretty regularly.

But no Bratz in THIS house!!!
post #12 of 94
We we're going to be a barbie free home too. At some point before dd's 3rd b-day she saw a barbie cake in a bakery and fell in love. She still didn't know what a Barbie was and thought it only came in a cake Then at the park there were some older girls playing with barbies - and she was awed.

Before her birthday she kept telling me she wanted the 'park and cake dolls'. I tried to trick her by showing her every other doll option in the world but none would do. Finally in a toy store she marched up to the staff and asked where to find the dolls "with the big big boobs and long long legs."

We were directed to the barbie aisle and it was game over for me and my barbie free zone.

This year it was disney princess.
post #13 of 94
Well I had like 20 barbies and I played with them regularly till I was 12 or 13 or so . Then we stored them in a secret paper bag in my best friend's closet and whenever we got "bored" we would pull them out and brush their hair and change their outfits. Probably till we were in our twenties.

I think that if I want to influence what my childrne play with it is to encourage them to play with toys I think are creative and open ended etc. . . We sit down and play blocks and puzzles. But it is not my job to decide that they cannot play with something. (although I did have a gun toy ban with my oldest years back) but hopefully if they have it, and they want to play with mommy and mommy gives the message that blocks are more fun than barbies etc. . .
I dont like the cultural messages either really. But in my experience they were great for role playing and imaginative play.
No forbidden toys here, just toys that are more encouraged and toys that are not encouraged.

joline
post #14 of 94
if it wasn't for Barbie I would have spent far less time playing outside and in creatively and imaginatively and far more time watching TV. and I have a good body/self image! I had tons of other kinds of dolls and toys but Barbies were my and my sister's favorite and I have extremely fond memories of playing for endless hours.....
post #15 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaMom
I'm posting as a person who has eaten her words - many, many times...

I said the same thing - "My DD won't have Barbies, they are unrealistic models of what women should look like, they encourage an obsession with clothing and thinness and makeup, they'll give her a negative body image, etc."

She got a couple as a gift when she was about 2. I put them in the closet, partly because I still felt Barbies were evil and partly because I thought they weren't appropriate for a two-year-old who would probably chew on their heads.

When she started seeing Barbies and wanting Barbies, maybe around age 4, I pulled them out of the closet (Barbie came out of the closet!!! :LOL ) and let her play with them. And you know what? She just played with them like she did with any other doll. Not once did I hear her say in her squeaky speaking-for-the-doll voice, "Oh, let's go to the mall and buy a sexy minidress with extra support for my huge breasts!" Okay, I'm being silly, but you get the point.

So she acquired some other Barbies over the years. The first one I bought was 1970's "Peace and Love" Barbie, who we nicknamed Hippie Barbie. She has about six or seven Disney ones and those are pretty multicultural (though Disney has yet to create an African-American heroine : ). We have the Happy Family with the pregnant mom, the dad (and we made it a mixed-race family because you had to buy each family member separately!), and the grandparents. She just plays with them. I don't buy her "Shopping Mall Barbie" or "Supermodel Barbie" or any ones that tell her that Barbie is about beauty and fashion, so she doesn't play with them in that way. Plus it doesn't hurt that neither I nor any of the women she sees regularly are "women who shop."

Man, I've participated in way too many Barbie threads. I need to stop repeating myself! :LOL
:

I could have written that post myself! My girls love Barbies. I always hated them, even when I was a kid. But now I find myself getting excited about playing with them because of how excited my girls are about it! But I will not budge when it comes to helpless princesses that have to be saved by Prince Charming in order to live happily ever after....
post #16 of 94
I will not forbid Barbie. Luckily, no one has given one as a gift... yet (DD is 3.5). I think that most friends and family know that its just not our style. But I'm sure in a year or two, DD may be asking for them. She made a comment just last week that her friends at school have Barbie, so she knows what it is. Also luckily, most of her friends we visit in their homes are boys!

I won't buy or encourage Barbie, but if it happens it happens. I too do not want to elevate to some kind of special status.

As far as image of women, body image, etc etc goes. I wield MUCH more influence in this sphere than any 5 inches of molded plastic and polyester hair. I try to remember that when I'm standing in front of the mirror and getting dressed!
post #17 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
:

I could have written that post myself! My girls love Barbies. I always hated them, even when I was a kid. But now I find myself getting excited about playing with them because of how excited my girls are about it! But I will not budge when it comes to helpless princesses that have to be saved by Prince Charming in order to live happily ever after....
lol... I was a creepy child. I had one barbie that I chewed the limbs off of. My older sister started calling her 'amputee barbie' and it stuck. She did all the rescuing though.
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlindeliasmom
You know, a lot of posts are reminding me of one aspect of the Barbie culture (and basically the toy culture) here: no kid just has one Barbie, like we did when we were kids (3 girls, 3 Barbies). Everyone has a collection of these dolls stuffed somewhere, naked Barbie dolls stuffed into plastic bins under beds!!
Of course not. If you only had one, who would Barbie have sex with?

Or am I the only one that's going to admit that's how she 'played barbies'? : :LOL
post #19 of 94
IMO, forbidding a tiny doll just doesn't make sense to me. No one here will be suprised to hear me say that though lol. Barbies are thin, but so are real women (my Dd for one!). Barbies can be anything & go anywhere only to be something else "next time". One day she is a doctor saving lives in the ER, another day she is an marine biologist in some far away location, next she is a mama of 3, then perhaps she is a construction worker or an architect. She can have that long blonde hair, or a short bob cut. She can even have a mohawk with green streaks in it. (Permanent marker lol!) or a tattoo. She can sing Opera, help the poor, and travel the world. I think she's pretty cool.
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey
Of course not. If you only had one, who would Barbie have sex with?

Or am I the only one that's going to admit that's how she 'played barbies'? : :LOL

:LOL Nope. I wrote in the Bratz thread that mine had GI Joe, the bad boy. I think dolls, even barbie dolls, can help children work out certain issues. Um, if your Barbie is making out with Ken in the Barbie van, while GI Joe is on one weekend-a-month NG duties, chances are you're not having sex. Too busy playing with dolls.
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