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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't quite know how I want to handle this one so I thought I would hear some enlightened perspectives before making up my mind. My almost four year old daughter has never played with Barbies (at least at our house and maybe only once or twice at playdates) and has been TV free- and comercial!! esp.-, and only occasionally through a toy isle that has Barbie... but she's obsessed. Grandma got her a small kit of Cinderella, Belle and Show White 3' dolls- she calls them her Barbies...and is convinced she is having a Barbie Birthday in Jan.---Then she wants to hear the stories of Cinderella and Snow White, and before I've even talked about what I don't like about these stories, she's play acting that one of her 'Barbies' needs to get a husband!!!<br>
I can't wrap my head around how this is ok... or how she got so excited about this 'fem' stuff... or why she's not so excited by Groovey Girls instead... sure it's likely a phase- that's what growing up is- a series of phases.. but as women... likely feminist women... how have you delt with this with your daughters?
 

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My daughter has become very interested in the Disney princess stuff especially sleeping beauty with no encouragement from me or her father. It concerned me for awhile but it seems like a phase that she's going through and I'm letting it run its course. I don't want to give her the impression that it is bad to like all this princess stuff and I sort of feel like the hang-ups about it are mine not hers to deal with. I do hope she outgrows it though! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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No advise (as I don't have girls)........just a story that may help.<br><br>
When I was 4 years old, I begged for a Barbie (not sure how I knew about them, probably from friends). My mother was dead set against them. Then a friend of my mom's, who didn't have any girls, and thought it was cruel that I didn't have a Barbie, bought me one for my 5th birthday. My mom wasn't thrilled, but went along with it. She said she knew it was all going to be ok, when one day, while playing in the kitchen, I lifted up the Barbie's shirt and told a small baby doll that it was time for Barbie to "breastfeed" her. Mom said after that, she felt that she had won. :LOL
 

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My dd is also 4. About a year ago, she started wanting a Barbie. I hated them as a kid and felt they were not a good toy for her to play with. But, I gave in. And she loves them. Ironically enough, she does not see Barbie as I see her- some superhuman, too sexual, way far from reality doll. Dd sees Barbie as a person to dress up in cool clothes -most especially- cool shoes. She is a friend and often she serves an important purpose for my dd.<br>
Some days Barbie is 4 yrs old, some days she is 23. I even bought the pregnant one and we pretend she's having a baby (then i pop off her magnetic tummy- how weird, anyhoo...).<br>
Most of all, I encourage Barbie to explore a variety of interests. She is sometimes a doctor and frequently a gymnast. Once she told me she even wanted to be president one day. Somedays she's sweet and caring with her little girl, Kelly. Other days she tells Kelly to go to her room and think about speaking nice. But, you know, Barbie is a Mom, so she gets to make the rules.<br>
We had a Ken for her for awhile, but the dog chewed him up. Oh well, it was probably for the best. He only had 2 outfits and really didn't look very good in Barbie's clothes.<br>
Barbie gets haircuts and even dyes her hair wild colors (via acrylic paint). She is a great swimmer and is not scared to duck her head under or jump off the diving board- even without a life jacket!<br>
Barbie is really an amazing person.<br>
I think us adults think way too much on the Barbie issue.<br>
My two cents,<br>
Sara
 

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yeah, what they said. Barbie isn't a toy I would have picked for my DDs, but we have a ton of them now. We even have the movies <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
Barbie at our house is a real animal lover and she has horses, dogs and cats. She is a vet/princess/artist.<br><br>
I think that feminism is about women being able to make their own decisions, about having power over our own lives. I'm OK with my kids making decisions about what kinds of toys they have.<br><br>
Now my girls are really into American Girl dolls. They have pretty much outgrown Barbie.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Linda KS</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">yeah, what they said. Barbie isn't a toy I would have picked for my DDs, but we have a ton of them now. We even have the movies <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"><br><br>
I also want to add re: princess fairytales that fairytales are wonderful, rich, mythic stories. I understand your concerns with the ones you mentions (truly, I do), but there are many good lessons in them too. It might be fun and interesting to explore different versions of the stories. Even the Disney version of Cinderella had many great "talking points."
 

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My 3 yr old is obsessed with both Barbie and with Princesses. I have decided to enjoy this stage and I had a blast shopping for her this Xmas.
 

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Honestly, when you look at Barbie next to the Bratz dolls and yuck the Hotteez dolls, she (Barbie) is looking quite wholesome.<br><br>
Barbie, aside from her disconfigured, unattainable body and blonde blue eyed appearance atleast has the clothes to dress as a doctor, business person, mother, athlete, artist...there is a good variety. She isnt only a princess, she doesnt have to be only a pretty face. A young childs imagination will bring out in Barbie what she sees in her.<br><br>
With that said I never intended to have a Barbie in my house and after a few yard sales, white elephant sales etc. we have about 5 with some pretty tattered clothing. My four year old enjoys the story telling and I hope to not get sucked into the market trap of needing everything Barbie. I will resist it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good to know, Rosebuds, that there are worse ways to sexualize a four year old I guess. As for now, this week DD is into the Polly Pockets she got at a party- but they must all wear Cinderella's ball gown, get into their bra and panties for a bath and brush their teeth each night. I wish there were a normal bodied doll that I could really feel good about, but as for now- I know she doesn't (yet) attach all that I do to Barbie's body!<br>
thanks for the discussion
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">She is a great swimmer and is not scared to duck her head under or jump off the diving board- even without a life jacket!<br></div>
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Last night in the bathtub Barbie and Skipper (actually 2 Barbies, but dd wanted to differentiate) were swimming, and Skipper had issues with putting her head under water. There was much discussion on this subject between the 2 dolls. Care to guess what issue 5yo dd has with swimming?<br><br>
My dds really like pretty much any dolls, although they think Bratz are too weird looking to really bother with.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rosebuds</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Barbie, aside from her disconfigured, unattainable body and blonde blue eyed appearance atleast has the clothes to dress as a doctor, business person, mother, athlete, artist...there is a good variety.</div>
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There is a lot of variety in skin tone and hair and eye color. We have a black and a latino Barbie. I really like to see my kids playing with dolls of different colors. I also really like that what ever the big new Barbie is (right now it is princess and the pauper) they come out with dolls in the same outfits but with different skin tones.
 
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