Friday, 21 October 2011

A Liberal Feminist Wrings Her Hands #fridayflash

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.


Sulci Collective said...

Wonderful, but I knew from the title this was going to be good. Love the £50donation to charity for guilt money. Says so much

marc nash

Adam B said...

Could certainly feel the uncertainty of the mother thinking over her daughter's wishes against her own values.
Adam B @revhappiness

ZJW said...

You do a nice job of summing up the two rules of principles, by which I mean:

1. Everyone's a hypocrite.

2. That's okay.

Good, good.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Some people think Disney promotes even worse role models than Barbie. I like the moral quandary the narrator is wrestling with. But, kids... what are you gonna do?

Virginia Moffatt said...

Glad everyone got this one.

It's true we're all hypocrites on these issues & all have our faultlines...(Disney Channel in our house!)

The point of mentioning Disney Tim, is that perhaps this character is even more hypocritical than most? She says she's antimaterialist but her little darling already has her own TV in her room where she watches this crap!

Icy Sedgwick said...

I never really liked Barbie. I preferred colouring in or playing with my brother's Transformers. I love the tone in this one, the way she clearly loves her daughter but finds it difficult to bring principles into parenting.

Peter Newman said...

Is the Barbie really just for her little girl to play with? I think the mother protests too much...

I enjoyed this, and I reckon this is all too familiar to a lot of folks.