by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
I’m a little concerned about my daughter’s extreme love for Barbie. I know what you’re thinking: this topic has been talked to death. That may be true but it hasn’t been talked to death by me and well, I have a column due, people. Here’s the thing, my kid has a ton of Barbies and it’s becoming an issue. For one, Barbie and her band of spin-offs that seem to have little in common with original Barbie are taking over the house. They have overflowed the toy room’s colorful fabric boxes, filled extra boxes in her room and when they needed more room they began setting up alternative housing in her closet.
It’s like a mini Barbie micro-city in my house. There are Barbie cars, Barbie pool –conveniently there is also a Barbie lifeguard stand which was bought separately, of course the requisite number of bikini clad Barbies to hang around the pool –although they all seem to lose their bathing suits in record time, many a sparkly dress attired Barbie, a Barbie dentist’s chair with dental hygienist Barbie (I hope she at least attended an accredited hygienist program) and more. The only thing we don’t have is the Barbie camper because seriously, when is the last time you saw a tall blonde in loads of make-up and six-inch heels who had any interest in camping?
Since the Barbies obviously outnumber family members, I’m concerned that they may start petitioning for more rights in the house. Maybe they’ll start forming a little Barbie government with Barbie bylaws like no one can leave the house without being properly accessorized or everyone must wear pink. It’s possible that the Barbies have already been doing this and are very strict because I’ve come across a few headless ones lately.
I’m not totally upset with the sheer numbers, but sometimes I have to question why my daughter likes them so much. The other day she brought one to me to show me that she has fully developed breasts. “Mom, how come she has grown boobies if she’s a kid?” Elby asked. It was a very good question. Why does she? The question goes beyond the ones that are asked by moms all the time like why are they all so anorexic? Why are they mostly blonde? Why are there so few Barbies of color? Those are all good questions but I think if we could answer the first question it might clear things up. Why the hell is Barbie an adult? Once Barbie is a grown-up then I suppose she has to have breasts and with breasts come boyfriends (Hi Ken), pool parties and poser friends.
Oh my God. I just did a little Googling and you have to check this out. What the hell? Barbie in a catsuit wearing Christian Louboutins?  Okay, that why we should just be happy that at least Barbie is an adult right? An adult who can make her own decisions on what to spend her cash on –be it breast enhancement surgery or Louboutins? Because on the other hand, take those slutty Bratz; do you really want your child emulating a preteen that dresses like a walking Amber Alert? The Bratz consist of six scantily clad, self proclaimed fashionistas with deep philosophical interests like “blueberry pancakes.” If you go to their official website you can check out all the kewl merchandize. The Bratz Big Babyz doll is decked out in skin tight boy shortz and a belly shirt. Yeah, that’s an appropriate outfit for a one-year-old. An eighteen-month-old in a micro mini and teeny tank makes perfect sense - but a one-year-old? That’s pushing it. I hope they offer an official Bratz HPV vaccine.
Look it’s all a little depressing but I’ve decided not to make myself too crazy about it. I had Barbies as a kid and I don’t believe I have to look like a Barbie doll to be a worthy person or to be loved. I just like putting their outfits on and off and trying to make their knees hyperextend. I also need to look on the bright side: The other day Elby insisted on purchasing an entire Barbie wedding set with her own allowance she’d saved up. It was a box containing a groom, bride, maid of honor and a flower girl –plus a cake and some gifts. I had no idea why she wanted this so much. My husband and I had the most low key wedding ever. But here’s the cool thing: Elby’s been playing wedding with her dolls nonstop but the ones who are getting married are…bride Barbie and maid of honor Barbie. And it’s not an accident. Elby explained to me that “ladies can marry ladies and men can marry men.” That’s right my friend, my little Barbie lover is all for equal rights and so with values intact, she has my blessing to play with whatever dolls she wants.