Thursday, March 5, 2009

Neither Barbies nor Tattoos are Evil...Please Calm Down

I don’t know which is worse: The fact that Mattel has released a Tattoo Barbie or that a West Virginia politician is trying to ban the sale of Barbies completely.

I’ll start with “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie."(Known on some blogs as "Tramp Stamp Barbie")

So the doll comes with “tattoos” for both you and your doll. You put them on with a “tattoo gun” (basically a purple water gun) and they are temporary and come off with a little soap and water. You can put tattoos anywhere on her and then share her with your friends!

I can’t say that I’m really surprised. Barbie has always gone with the trends and tattoos have become pretty damn trendy. The issue that I have, though, is that Mattel is claiming this doll will give kids a chance to be creative and express themselves. You know what, when I was growing up, I did have a Tattoo Barbie. It was the doll that I took a marker to and drew on. Then, when that got boring or I covered her completely in marker and had no other place to put any more of my gorgeous drawings, I would put stickers on her. Sometimes, I would even cut off all her hair and give her cool tats on her head. I didn’t need a special kit to express my creativity and I think that NOT having a kit forced me to be more creative. There is nothing wrong with having a Tattoo Barbie, but don’t market it as a way for kids to express their creativity. These dolls are just a way for Mattel to sell you more crap you don’t need for twice the price.

Not that I’m against Barbie or Mattel. I had Barbies growing up and I loved them. I don’t think that she should be banned.

In West Virginia, Jeff Eldridge, a DEMOCRAT (yeah, a Democrat—apparently not all Democrats are as liberal as some like to think. Unless he's a male feminist, which is a whole other issue...), has proposed House Bill 2918 that states (according to the West Virginia Legislature Web site): “It shall be unlawful in the state to sell 'Barbie' dolls and other similar dolls that promote or influence girls to place an undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development.”

I’ll pause for this to sink in.

Here’s the thing. We all know that Barbie is not someone that little girls should aspire to look like. That said, think about all the great things Barbie has done in her 50 years of "life."How many careers has she had? How many different personas has she taken on? Plus, to Mattel’s credit, she has evolved with the times. In 1959, the only career Barbie had was Teenage Fashion Model, but in 2004, she was a Presidential Candidate. If Hilary Clinton looked like Barbie do you think Jeff Eldridge would call her a “detriment” to the “intellectual and emotional development” of young girls? Actually, I think that if Hilary looked like Barbie, we'd definitely have a female prez right now.

If parents would do their jobs, this wouldn’t be an issue. All a mother has to do is teach her daughter that different types of bodies, faces, hair color, height, skin color, eye color, noses, lips, etc. are all beautiful and that she shouldn’t strive to look like anyone else but herself. Explain to her that she is the most beautiful when she is herself and to never let anyone tell her differently. Period.

Now, if we’re going to ban a doll, it should be Ken. Talk about making being a “detriment” to “emotional development.” How many women do you know who still think Ken is the “perfect man”? I was personally more of a Brad* girl myself ☺ Although, GI Joe can come invade my territory any day.

(*for those who don't know, "Brad" was Ken's black friend introduced in 1969)

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