Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can I boot Barbie into the 21st century already???

Last night, I saw a commercial for the Barbie Fashion Fever Shopping Boutique set.

Like watching a B movie, I sat with my jaw dropped. Stunned.

I couldn't believe it.

Load twenty-odd outfits for Barbie into the spinning rack (tops on top, bottoms on bottom) and spin the rack to choose an outfit.
Then swipe your credit card... and to boot, it tells your daughter her balance.

I'm speechless.

I looked up the description:
Shoes, shades, and stylin' outfits! This is the hottest boutique in town, and it's yours to run! Set up shop, choose your fashion passions and spice them up with the trendiest accessories. Your boutique even has a register to swipe your Fashion Fever™ card and send your dolls home with the latest head-turning looks!

I suppose I should be glad that Barbie is now attempting to teach girls the meaning of a dollar.*

but am I the only one who takes issue with the stereotype that Barbie perpetuates?

Actually, I shouldn't single out poor Barbie. Have you seen all the toys - both for girls and boys? I walk into Target and it saddens me. The "boy" toy aisle is filled with toys with various weapons (guns, blasters, light sabers, batarangs, numchucks.) In the "girl" toy aisle, well, I need sunglasses just to get near the neon pink and purple bedecked shelves.

Then, in between, are a few rows of the "gender neutral" toys. The ones that are almost always child-free.

Why is that?

When Jack was a baby, I had thought about providing him with lots of "gender neutral" toys.
Until he turned 6 months old.
That was when he started sleeping with cars instead of a yellow rubber duck. (Jack never got into stuffed animals. Still doesn't like them.)

I never pushed cars on him. It was like cars were in his blood.

From that point on, I gave up. Toy guns? We've got'em in various sizes. Action figures with grenades and blasters? Got'em.

We also have lots of blocks.
Which my son turns into a) weapons, b) vehicles, or c) all of the above.

When I was his age, I turned blocks into houses - complete with kitchen table and chairs.

Are these differences in our genetic make-ups? Does it have to do with the missing leg of the Y chromosome?

Or are the stereotypes in our culture so pervasive that they have infiltrated our minds at such early ages?

And if it's the later, what hope do we have to change, not just the gender stereotypes, but the unreal body image ideals???

* I just saw the commercial again. Scratch this. The credit card "never runs out of money." ::rolls eyes::


CookieGirl said...

I am laughing so much reading this! I don't know why our society is like that. It bothers me, too.

Back in the eighties there was a doll for boys called "My Buddy" (the girl version was called "kid sister"). I had the girl version and my brother had the boy doll. While I took my doll for walks and such, I would often see my brother and his friends using My Buddy as a punching bag, karate practice target, or wrestling partner who didn't fight back. Boys.

em said...

oh i hate all this stuff. i hate the fact that once my son turned 7 he couldn't go into little boy clothes anymore - he had to go into the 7-14 range which was full of army motifs and rambo pictures - violence, ugly dark colors, chains, evil pictures... my daughter on the other hand is only allowed to wear pink according to the clothing stores... pisses me off!

Faith said...

I really hat this too. I hate the rules. I think a huge part of it is tv but I could go on about all of this for hours....

Don't even get me started :)


Jeanne said...

Oh my!! I remember "My Buddy" dolls... I hated its theme song SO much!!!! lol

Yeah, Jack is always making his action figures wrestle and blow each other up... SO completely different than how I play.

It is horrible. And what's worse (at least here in the States) is that once a girl turns 7, she only has these tight tiny shirts/skirts to choose from... (I shop for my pole dancing outfits in the girls section because of it.)

Yeah, I could rant and rave, too... (actually, I already did, didn't I? lol...)