Girls and Dolls

One of my colleagues in South Africa gave us generous gifts for the girls as a thank you for taking photos of her newborn. (And if I do say so myself, those were some amazing newborn photos.) One of the gifts was a Barbie-like doll for Charlotte that I’ve avoided giving to her because it made me feel icky. Maybe it was the lip gloss included in the packaging, I don’t know. Well, in the aftermath of our move, the doll found its way onto a shelf in the play room, and Charlotte discovered it today.



While baby dolls and American Girl dolls don’t bother me, these skinny Barbie-like dolls make the feminist in me cringe. Dan is even more extreme. If it were up to him, our girls would never know that Barbie exists.

My sister and I loved playing Barbies, for hours and hours on end. Our Barbie clothes collection was the envy of all the kids.

This trunk is overflowing with Barbie clothes.
Just a few of the vintage dolls I played with as a kid. My mom actually knitted the blue dress when she was a kid.

I remember running out to the kitchen one evening to show my mom Barbie’s latest hairstyle. “Look, mom! Isn’t she beautiful?!” She took the doll in her hands and shared at it for a moment. She turned to us and said, “girls, do you understand that real women don’t look like this? That it’s not natural?” I was totally confused. Wasn’t Barbie supposed to look like a woman? What else would women look like, if not like a Barbie doll? But I appreciate that my mom really tried to teach us the difference between reality and play. I think it’s probably fine to let kids (both girls and boys) play with whatever they are interested in. Frankly, Charlotte is far more interested in diggers, dump trucks, planes, and trains. If she wants to play with dolls for a few minutes, what’s the harm?

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