This is the reaction that many, many hysterical critics of Barbie have received from young girls who apparently have a better grip on reality than they - "It's just a doll."
But even well-meaning and otherwise intelligent parents, like my late father, were a little confused by the implications of a doll that could be seen as a role model of the "ultimate girl." I was the only child of a man who left his native country under fire, and was never able to return, after the government branded him a traitor. To say that I was sheltered and spoiled as a result is probably a huge understatement.
I was something of a mystery to my poor dad, despite his being the eldest of three, and the only son. Boys behaved in certain ways, and played with boy's toys, (cars, trucks, toy guns and so forth) while girls behaved in a different fashion, and played with girl's toys (dolls, tea sets, and make believe jewelry). Dad had never encountered what people here in the US call a tomboy - meaning a girl who behaves as many believe a boy should behave. I liked playing with cars, trucks and toy guns. Unlike the "girly girls" I went to school with, I was highly uncomfortable in the frilly dresses in pastel colors. I liked wearing dark colors or jewel tones, and I liked wearing pants.
Imagine dad's delight when I asked for a Barbie doll for Christmas when I was six!
|Malibu Barbie - better known to me as Barb|
Instead of playing house, Barb and I would go on adventures - as the good guys - hunting for treasure, or bad guys to take to jail. Barb, of course, couldn't be out in the forest in a frilly pink dress, because for one thing, it would snag and get dirty - horrors! - it would be hard to run in, if the bad guys came after us, and finally, if we had to hide from the bad guys, neon pink tends to spoil any attempts at sabotage. Barb and I paid CLOSE attention to the movies or TV shows, where someone was almost caught because they were too dumb to know how to hide properly. I suppose I should also mention that Barb and I watched war movies with my dad, and dad explained the concept of camoflage, when we wanted to know why that guy had all the green stuff on his face, and was wearing that plant costume.
|How NOT to be seen|
|Even, today, however, STILL a doll outfit's best friend!|
|This is back in the day of old school duct tape. None of those fancy dancy colors you kids have today.|
|Where was this when I was a kid?|
Yes, there is a point, and I am getting to it. I still play with my dolls, but in the context of the stories I am attempting to write. In some cases, I can get past some pretty serious blocks, by bringing out some dolls to fulfill the roles of the characters. What is really odd is that so many of my dolls actually look like the characters I use them for - of course, that is what usually sells the doll or dolls to me in the first place. Only now, instead of scraps of fabric held together with safety pins and duct tape, I hem up quilter's fat quarters, and put my dolls into Technicolor Togas.
|All she needs are the scale booze bottles and the lampshade and you have a toga party animal!|