Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Walking through landscapes of my childhood, tripping over icons...



Apparently mutilating Barbie is a rite of passage. I cut my Barbie's hair off and tried to dye it with black shoe polish (it didn't work, Barbie's hair was curiously resistant). It would appear I did this because Barbie raises complex and violent emotions in children (perhaps leading to gender confusion), because she is an overmarketed, overhyped commodity. Hmmm. I am sure I was driven by a desire to individualise my Barbie. I can't remember having terribly complex emotions about her, though I have to say I'm pretty sure she was quite promiscuous. Strumpet.
I must say, I never tried to microwave her though.
And what do I think about supplying my own kids with Barbie? Fred already owns one, I got it for $3.95 at the supermarket in the last weeks of my pregnancy with Una. It's not a favourite toy. I think for me Barbie was such a dud toy that I don't see any point banning her. I'd rather teach my girls to respond critically to commercial and social constructs than entirely restrict their access to particular products. For a start I'm not keen on investing Barbie with tantalising "forbidden" qualities, amd also I do believe there is something quite healthy about exploring the subversible aspects of Barbie play (perhaps not so much in emulating promiscuity! But in altering her appearance or function, kids can express their own ideas of what BArbie's hyper-feminism might represent) and also ultimately in my experience Barbie proved unsatisfactory and limited, so I don't feel threatened by what she might have to say in secret to Fred about womanhood. Hmm...but then this starts to fall apart when I think how much I DON'T like Bratz. But that's purely a design issue. On the other hand, I quite like the other B girl with the colour-changing eyes.

12 comments:

Zedd said...

Hey luvvie. Your mutilating Barbie and other news link didn't work... and I so wanted to read about mutilating Barbie!
Meanwhile, MY crap hand-me-down Barbie was also a total slutbag... she used to shag Snoopy and Ted at every opportunity. And her knees didn't bend, so she could never sit down properly, which worried me. I liked my toys to be comfortable.

Penni said...

Links should work now. My Barbie's knees creaked to an awkward position. She didn't really sit, she kind of lounged, only really adding to the whole come hither thing she had going on.

Penni said...

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/21/researchers-find-widespread-barbie-mutilation/
There's an interesting discussion here about it.

Penni said...

oh AND I know this is quite an old study, but you know. Barbie never gets old.

Kykaree said...

Do you remember when I really wanted a Barbie and I got a Jenny doll? With short lesbian hair and worthy occupations?

And then, later when mum relented I got a black Barbie, all very worthy and politically correct, but I wanted one with shiny blonde hair?

I never did the whole subversive thing!!! I want my second childhood

K - off to the charity shop to subvert a second hand Barbie or two muahahahahaha

lili said...

i actually think barbie gets a bit of a hard rap. i mean sure, she has legs up to the moon and completely inhuman breasts, but she was the first doll/woman to say: I can be an astronaut, and wear a nice hat! she's a bit of a new-wave feminist really.

traceyleigh said...

Tara got a cheap imitation barbie for Christmas and promptly removed all her clothes (as you do when you are the lover of all things being naked) and then proceeded to dip her feet/legs into the paint pots and started to paint with her on her new easel! I was so happy that she saw value in her in a way that only Tara could.

DustyKitten said...

Ah, the 'other B doll' is of course my favourite (I now have SIX - one of which technically belongs to Asha!) .. I have no probs with Barbie. Asha's favourite dolls at the moment are her three Scary Spice dolls, complete with tattoos. I just want her to have a variety, as in everything, food, experience, sport, all that.
Viva La Barbie!

Penni said...

Lili that's a dang foxy photo of you. I think you could wear a nice hat too if you really put your mind to it.

lili said...

Thanks, Penni. If only I looked that foxy all the time... sigh. I have a couple of very nice hats...

Anonymous said...

Barbie has some useful attributes. Maxie uses her pointy feet to help him dig in the garden and today at a cafe he used the loooon legs of the same Barbie to stir his cino. Why not? Maxie's Barbie doesn't need accessories, he carries her around naked.

It's possible that I'm creating issues for my baby boy......
kath xxxx

Neeks said...

It's funny, I have a boy, as most kids do, he inherited what was left of my childhood toys doing the family rounds, complete was my old Barbies along with my brothers Transformers, Masters of the Universe, lego etc He has never shown the slightest interest in them! Then again never did I really, when I was wee little my father was a builder so I was forever "borrowing" his hammer and nailing my dolls blankets to trees to make cubby's. Awaiting #2 now, I wonder if a girl, what on earth will it do if she turns out to be a frilly pink girl?? I don't own anything with pink on it.