Melting Pot

Dear Barbie

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It seems these days there are an awful lot of people who don’t like you. Many even quite vehemently hate you. The say you cause little girls to have unrealistic expectations about their bodies, that you cause low self esteem and a slew of other negative things.

I suppose it was inevitable. People enjoy spreading nasty rumors about others for a number of reasons. Usually it is jealousy, and often it is because they are so unhappy they have to tear others down to feel better about themselves. The happier and more successful you are, the more people are going to find things to hate about you.

I have nothing but fond memories of you, Barbie. Our countless hours together as I grew up were never, ever negative in any way. I never once thought I was supposed to look like you when I grew up. I never felt bad about my fair skin, freckles, or red hair just because you did not have those same traits. Other children made me feel bad about those things, but never you, Barbie.

To me you were proof a girl could do anything if she put her mind to it. You were a rock star, a veterinarian, a gymnast, a doctor, a pilot, a police officer, a business executive, an astronaut, a teacher, a paleontologist, a dentist and many, many other things. You were even a presidential candidate. (barbiemedia.com/about-barbie/careers.html) All these things you accomplished while surrounded by friends and family, and in a committed relationship with Ken.

As fabulous as you were, and as much fun as we had together, at the end of the day I knew, tough, you were just a toy doll meant for play and imagination. I knew the difference between reality and play. I knew that real people come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. That there is no one “right” way to look physically, and to “never judge a book by it’s cover”, to “treat others the way you want to be treated” and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. I knew there are good people in the world and bad people in the world, not to talk to strangers, and to treat others with kindness and respect. You seemed to embody all these good things, but you were still just a toy I would put away when I had finished playing or it was time for bed/school/what have you.

I do not understand the people who hate you. Maybe they just were not raised the way I was. Maybe they didn’t get enough hugs when they were children. Maybe they are so unhappy they have to pick on a doll to feel better about themselves. Whatever the reasons, I fail to see a logical, sensible reasoning behind it. The only “real” ideas you ever gave me were potential career choices. I know not everyone has the same experiences, and I know there are some who maybe did compare themselves to you in a negative light. But that is not truly your fault. You cannot be held accountable for someone else’s actions and reactions to your simple and innocent existence. That is like trying to say that the supermarket clerk should be held accountable because I found something offensive about the packaging of a product available on their shelves. It is MY responsibility and mine alone to react to such things in an appropriate manner, or to handle the fallout of my decisions should I react inappropriately. It is up to me, and me alone, to choose to simply walk away from petty things that ultimately have no affect on my life even if I find them offensive or irritating or just plain stupid. And when it comes to you, sweet Barbie, it is up to parents and guardians to teach little ones their worth in life and that you, as fun as you may be, are just a toy.

I cherish my memories of our times together, Barbie, and I always will. You’re not the monster some try to say you are. I know this to be true. Don’t let the haters get you down – nothing you ever say or do will be good enough in their eyes. That’s just how it is with some people. It is a fact of life that will never change. You should never have to change who you are to please somebody else. Ever. Hold your pretty blonde-haired head high and rock on, Barbie girl.

Affectionately yours,

xoxo

My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.” – Ruth Handler, creator of the Barbie doll.

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I had many dolls as a little girl, Barbies and otherwise. This one was my first Barbie, and the only one of my (many, many) dolls I have held on to. She is not in her original outfit (because changing her clothes was such fun!) and her bangs absolutely refuse to lie flat so she looks a little silly. I managed to get a little paint on her face somehow when I was a kid. It all just adds to her sentimental value for me.

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