So, about Barbie... - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This winter we have joined our local YMCA to get out of the house and get some exercise during the winter months. At first we never took DD to the daycare, but DP and I wanted to workout together, so we gave it a try. We were told that there was a craft room and a kids "gym" We came back and she was playing with Barbies. This is a kid that has mostly wooden toys, art supplies and musical interments at her disposal all the time. Never Barbie.

So, I am writing a letter to the head of the daycare at the Y to address the distaste for Barbie ad present evidence for my case against her. But......what to think about Barbie.....I don't want Barbies in our house. I feel like the damn daycare is throwing my front door wide open to an unrealistic, heavily marketed, made in china nightmare. Granted, I like the socialization DD gets there. We are in the gym for about an hour and a half.She is playing with her peers, but .....any thoughts?

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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I guess I would start with whatever harm you think is going to occur with her playing with a Barbie once a week for an hour, or however often it is. Personally, I am not anti-Barbie, and if I was, I can't see restricting any exposure via friends or daycare -- that seems extreme, to me -- so I can't help you there b/c I feel so differently. But really, I suppose you could address it with regards to how it might negatively impact your developing child. I'm not sure they are going to be convinced to throw the Barbies out, but I suppose they might keep them out of your DD's reach, if they want her there badly enough.

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gee Thanks.

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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The barbie issue has been discussed quite extensively on here. It would be worth your while to search. There is a ton of really good information and opinions and ideas on how to handle barbie and the whole disney princesses thing. Some people allow it all and some allow none and some everything in between. I have boys so I get the whole gun thing to deal with {Sigh}
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info lucyem, I'll continue to research. Best Wishes..

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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Just because she plays with a toy elsewhere, why does that mean you have to have it in your house? How do you plan to handle it when she plays at other houses with other mainstream toys you find objectionable?

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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I don't think our YMCA childcare has Barbies, but I'm not sure. It certainly has lots and lots of plastic, made-in-China toys. I think that if you want the Y to ban a toy you do need to provide some compelling rationale, and that they probably can't afford to ban all plastic, heavily-marketed, made-in-China toys. I suppose if you feel very strongly about it, you could offer to help them raise funds for new toys.

FWIW, I wouldn't use a letter of complaint for this. I think it would be better to talk to the childcare workers who are there when you drop your dd off, and ask them if they could please put the Barbies away for a little while. If you want a change in policy, I'd try to talk to the director face-to-face.

Gently, I'd like to suggest that you take a little time and inspect the childcare area on a visit w/o your daughter and decide if you can be comfortable leaving your child there or not. My guess is that there are other toys which you wouldn't allow in your home. Your standards aren't unusual on MDC, but they are not the mainstream. If you want your dd to only use toys that meet your standards, you're going to have to do some legwork when choosing childcare.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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You aren't going to find a gym daycare without made in China stuff like Barbie or just as bad as Barbie. I think you have to choose your battles in this world. You can't control everything your child comes into contact with. I'd let this go.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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Gee Thanks.

really? I didn't realize you were asking for only barbie haters to respond. You said you want to write a letter b/c you aren't okay with your DD playing with Barbies, so then that's what you do. If you are looking for justification, and why others don't allow Barbies, then ask that. I figure everyone has slightly different views, so I didn't say, "you should write: Barbies give my child an unhealthy idea about women's bodies, so please remove them from your facility..." b/c I'm not inside your head. You didn't explain what exactly your issues with the plastic doll are.

ETA: and I agree about looking more into the daycare there. I, personally, don't think I'd leave my LO there if I didn't know the providers, know their philosophy, etc. During the interview process, MIC toys, including Barbies, could have came up.

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Old 01-15-2010, 09:29 AM
 
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I'm not a Barbie fan either. But when you use a gym daycare you kind of take what you get or you don't go. For a regular daycare or nanny you try to find some alignment between your ideals and beliefs, but 90 minutes on an occasional basis? Yeah, pretty much impossible to get everything you want. I don't think it's possible to shelter a child so much that she never even sees or touches a Barbie doll. You still have control over what toys are in your house, right?

Frankly, I wouldn't write a letter. I can't imagine receiving such a letter, if I were the director of a drop-in daycare like at the Y.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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I think if you feel strongly about it (and it seems you do), you should write a civil, polite letter to the administrators of the daycare, explaining your views. You should think about what you want - NO Barbies at all in the daycare, No Barbies only when when your child visits, no Barbies accessible to your child. You'll have to think about how to manage your request - if it's no Barbies just for your child, how will they identify your child in subsequent visits - will you speak to the supervisors each time, or perhaps you will you put a "Please no Barbies" tag on her when she goes into the room? You will have to think about variations on the situation - What if another child brings her own Barbies from home?

Honestly, I suspect the administrators will respond with a polite acknowledgement and some explanation that they try to keep a variety of toys and games that interest the children who visit, and many children enjoy playing with Barbies, so they will not remove them. They may also tell you that if you don't want your child to play with Barbies, tell her yourself that she is not allowed when she come into the daycare.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I grew up in a no-Barbie house. (My Mom, to this day, still despises all things Barbie.) I did get a Bionic Woman doll, though... LOL

I remember playing Barbies at a friend's across the street... and even better, at my friend Janet's house. (She had an older sister--so had inherited this great Barbie collection.)

Those things didn't phase my Mom, because she realistically knew that it was an occasional thing... and it's not like she could insulate me from Barbie for-ev-er.

How old is your DD? Is she old enough that you could talk to her about how Barbie isn't real...and that real girls don't look like Barbie? (If that's what bothers you?)

Or, is it possible that you could offer to donate some toys/art supplies (or even bring in a bag of stuff with you and DD) to the Y? Maybe some child-friendly books on body image or something?

I do think Barbie is sort of a disconnect from the Y... which strives to encourage fitness/health for all sizes. But I don't know if I would make that big of a deal out of it if it was truly an occasional thing.

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Old 01-15-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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I guess I would start with whatever harm you think is going to occur with her playing with a Barbie once a week for an hour, or however often it is. Personally, I am not anti-Barbie, and if I was, I can't see restricting any exposure via friends or daycare -- that seems extreme, to me -- so I can't help you there b/c I feel so differently. But really, I suppose you could address it with regards to how it might negatively impact your developing child. I'm not sure they are going to be convinced to throw the Barbies out, but I suppose they might keep them out of your DD's reach, if they want her there badly enough.

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Old 01-15-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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This winter we have joined our local YMCA to get out of the house and get some exercise during the winter months. At first we never took DD to the daycare, but DP and I wanted to workout together, so we gave it a try. We were told that there was a craft room and a kids "gym" We came back and she was playing with Barbies. This is a kid that has mostly wooden toys, art supplies and musical interments at her disposal all the time. Never Barbie.

So, I am writing a letter to the head of the daycare at the Y to address the distaste for Barbie ad present evidence for my case against her. But......what to think about Barbie.....I don't want Barbies in our house. I feel like the damn daycare is throwing my front door wide open to an unrealistic, heavily marketed, made in china nightmare. Granted, I like the socialization DD gets there. We are in the gym for about an hour and a half.She is playing with her peers, but .....any thoughts?
I don't understand. Did they send the Barbies home with your child? Were the Barbies a recalled toy? Were they not supervising the children properly? Was there some form of dangerous activity going on that I'm missing here?

If you don't want Barbie in your home, don't bring Barbie in your home. The gym daycare having Barbies doesn't mean you have to buy them or any other toy you do not want in your home. The gym has no control in any way over what you bring in to your home.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Like umsami, I grew up in a barbie-free home, many of our dolls were wooden or cloth (except those wonderful my-little-ponies that slipped in) I too was allowed to play with Barbies at friends' houses and it was so much fun!
I would caution against being too hard core about these things at the risk that they become more appealing. My parents explained why we didn't have barbies (it was the body image thing and the focus on clothes and accessories) and why we didn't buy into commercialism and over time I came to agree with them. If they had forbade that I play with barbies I think I would have still really wanted too and felt guilty for wanting to. I don't think this is what you want to teach your dd? If you engage her in simple conversations as to why you have misgivings about barbie etc...she will probably listen and eventually it will make sense to her.

Personally I think by keeping our homes made-in-China-crap free, we do a lot to live the values we want our children to have. And over time we can explain the reasons behind what we choose to have in our house.
If you forbid things and go overboard you also risk having your children make judgments about others who make different choices. This can isolate them from friends. We always say "we don't like such and such because of this but other people make different choices or think other things are important..." My oldest is in kindergarten this year so it's really come up a lot lately.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I had a niece who was not allowed to play with anything barbie when she was little - you can guess what became her favorite toy as soon as she was of school age and had a birthday party with her friends. Barbie is certainly not pure evil, she will not taint your child. Heck, I can remember having a wonderful time playing with barbies at my grandma's house when I was a young child with my cousins.

If you don't want barbies in your house that is most certainly your right but I would suggest easing up on the restrictions away from home, it certaily won't do any harm to let her play with one for a bit of time here and there while at the gym kid care.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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I'd file this one under "battles not to pick" and move on.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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I had a niece who was not allowed to play with anything barbie when she was little - you can guess what became her favorite toy as soon as she was of school age and had a birthday party with her friends. Barbie is certainly not pure evil, she will not taint your child. Heck, I can remember having a wonderful time playing with barbies at my grandma's house when I was a young child with my cousins.

If you don't want barbies in your house that is most certainly your right but I would suggest easing up on the restrictions away from home, it certaily won't do any harm to let her play with one for a bit of time here and there while at the gym kid care.
I agree with this. I thought that I wouldn't let my dd have any Barbies when she was little, but then I watched a Barbie movie and my mom pointed out that I played with Barbies and I turned out to be a feminist with no body image problems and I decided to let it go. My dd has several Barbies and loves to play rescue the prince. I would rather have her play with a character that is portrayed as a strong and happy woman than with baby dolls any day. I would be very surprised if you could find good research out there that supports your view that playing with a doll is harmful. If you are obsessed about your body image and constantly talking about your desire to look different then that will probably affect her more than playing with any toy. I believe there may even be some good research that supports that, but research is so hard to comb through for good stuff.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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I'd file this one under "battles not to pick" and move on.
I agree. I think it would be better to save your ire for when your MIL buys her a Barbie for Christmas. If you feel that strongly about it, ask the people who work with the kids to try to make sure your kid doesn't play with the Barbies. I really think you're over-reacting though.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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I used to work for the YMCA... they're a not-for-profit organization as far as I know. I strongly suspect that any barbies they had there are not a reflection of YMCA values, but were likely donated. I mean, yes, they do buy some things (For instance the camp I directed bought the balls and stuff), but I suspect that barbies are probably generally beyond their price range. We didn't get a huge budget for stuff.

I wouldn't necessarily complain about the fact that your daughter was playing with them, but look into the YMCA's core values (respect, responsibility, caring, etc) and their mission statement, and point out to the management how barbies do not really follow along with those standards.

While i agree with others that you can't completely protect your kids from these things, I would be slightly unsettled at the YMCA's conflict there and I think it could be handled reasonably easily by pointing out that their own values are not really encompassed by barbie.

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Old 01-15-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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I'm not a Barbie fan either. But when you use a gym daycare you kind of take what you get or you don't go. For a regular daycare or nanny you try to find some alignment between your ideals and beliefs, but 90 minutes on an occasional basis? Yeah, pretty much impossible to get everything you want. I don't think it's possible to shelter a child so much that she never even sees or touches a Barbie doll. You still have control over what toys are in your house, right?

Frankly, I wouldn't write a letter. I can't imagine receiving such a letter, if I were the director of a drop-in daycare like at the Y.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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I wouldn't write a letter over this. You know there are Barbies there -- with that information, you can choose whether or not you wish to continue sending your DD to that daycare.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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Or, is it possible that you could offer to donate some toys/art supplies (or even bring in a bag of stuff with you and DD) to the Y? Maybe some child-friendly books on body image or something?
This. I am guessing the Y doesn't have a huge toy budget and they stock toys that have wide appeal with kids. If you have an issue with Barbie, I'd offer to replace her with a doll you find non-offensive but comparable.

IMO, however, you get what you get at the Y daycare. If you're happy with the care your child is receiving, I'd not fight over Barbie. Throughout life your child will be exposed to many, many things that are not a reflection of your family's values. Consider this an opportunity to open the lines of communication with your daughter about what kind of toys you are and are not willing to invest in.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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You can't control everything your child comes into contact with. I'd let this go.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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i had and loved my barbie. i did not have the barbie town house and i still am mad about it! lol

i write this to say, that i am crunchie and green. i buy my kids wood toys but they are watching batman right now on tv whilst the chicken from costco heats in the oven.

i think moderation is the key here. i can not pinky swear that your child will grow up with an eating disorder cuz she played with barbie a cuppla time a week at the gym daycare, but i can prolly guess that no, she wont.
let her play.

it will be ok.

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Old 01-15-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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you have two options.


Take the kid out of the day care

grin and bear it


The YMCA is under no obligation to adher to one persons rather outlandish request. And although I do agree on your stance, your request is a bit outlandish. You are expecting to be treated special and tailor the daycare to your needs. not all people think like us on here and not all people think Barbie is bad. That is the real world. So either suck it up or pull her out.

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Old 01-15-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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you have two options.


Take the kid out of the day care

grin and bear it

Actually, a third option would be to pack you child w/ a bag of approved wooden toys, etc. and send the child w/those toys. You could tell your child not to play with anything else except the toys from home.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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I feel that Barbie is an icon of American consumerism and sexism. My kids have enough pressure on them from the media and people around us to believe that women's value is based disproportionately on how they look. I try to minimize that pressure if I possibly can.

Writing a letter is a good thing. The more we talk about these issues, the harder it gets to trivialize their effects. I know I can't keep my kids away from it completely, so I talk about it with them when it comes up.

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Old 01-15-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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Actually, a third option would be to pack you child w/ a bag of approved wooden toys, etc. and send the child w/those toys. You could tell your child not to play with anything else except the toys from home.
you are being facetious, right??

I am not a big fan of Barbie, but you just can't control the things that your child is exposed to outside of your house. Yes, you could get Barbies banned from the Y. That might even be a good thing. But what will you do when your child goes to a friend's house? IMO all we can do as parents is to model values for our children by the way we choose to live our lives. We can't be a gatekeeper for them forever.

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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Actually, a third option would be to pack you child w/ a bag of approved wooden toys, etc. and send the child w/those toys. You could tell your child not to play with anything else except the toys from home.



Ohhhh that's rich!

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