I just don’t know what to do. Milly wants a Barbie for her birthday. Where on earth did she get that idea? We’ve always been so careful not to gender stereotype. Dolls and toy cars, teddy bears and train sets. Mind you, she’s insisted on wearing pink since she was three, because that’s what girls do don’t they? It goes against the grain, but we’d hate to give her an identity crisis. And she does look adorable in that fairy outfit she insisted I buy her.
We have to draw the line at Barbie though. Those improbable breasts. The invisible waist. The endless legs. The first of too many unattainable images. The kind that lead girls into anorexia, bulimia, unsuccessful boob jobs. It’s not just that though. You can’t buy one Barbie. You have to get them all - fashionista, bride, anchor girl - or your life is not worth living. And now I’ve heard Mattel is carving up half the Indonesian rain forests to make her packaging. Anti-feminist, consumerist and ruining the planet. They’re not the values we want to teach Milly.
But…at bedtime, after I’d turned Disney Channel off and tucked Milly up, she looked at me with her large brown eyes and whispered, “I AM going to get a Barbie for my birthday aren’t I Mummy?”
What could I say? What's more important? A principle or our child's disappointment?
"Of course you are sweetie, " I said, giving her a kiss.
There's nothing else for it. We'll just have to get her one. And keep telling her why Barbie is so wrong. We can always give Greenpeace a donation as well. Fifty pounds should do.
I’ll go out to Toys R Us first thing.