It seems that Barbie is embroiled in controversy again. The poor girl just can't seem to win. When I was little she was "glamorous and exciting and different". When my girls were young she was "too thin, too busty, too white, too blond". There were complaints about her "role model" status. So Barbie got careers and better clothes and better friends. Now, frankly, she just seems boring. If you look at her competition she's pretty bland. But the criticism has continued. Now her new AKA sister isn't dark enough according to some folks. You can read about that story at The Root.
Let me tell you a secret that will help you deal with any and all anxiety- Barbie is a doll! I had several dolls as a child and I don't think I thought of any of them as "role models" or reflections of the society around me. They were toys- you know- things you played with and traded and pretended with. I also played with Army men and cowboy and Indian figures and plastic horses. (Don't tell anyone, but I pretended to kill the plastic Indians. Does that make me a sociopath?)
My children had all kinds of dolls and action figures and character toys from TV. My girls had Barbie dolls and I spent hours sewing wonderful clothes for them. We created dollhouses and furniture and made up life stories for them. Playing with dolls is part of growing up. And I think sometimes as adults we try to exert too much influence on childrens' play instead of just letting it evolve. Children play games that have meaning for them, and they work out their own rules and ideas and create their own props- if you let them. I've seen little girls take a Barbie doll and pretend she's the wicked witch in Snow White, because a Barbie doll was all they had and they needed a wicked witch!
So when I see a controversy about Barbie on the MSN homepage I just chuckle. Here we go again...
And to all of you who are really concerned about Barbie, or any other doll and its influence, remember the power of the wallet. If you don't like it, don't buy it!