Barbie makes me cranky.
I think it might have always been this way - I had a Barbie as a kid who received a VERY short haircut and a big black smiley face tattoo right on the back of her neck. She was beautiful.
But, you know what? It's not Barbie's proportions that piss me off. (Although they are ridiculous.) Because, fair's fair, if we are going to lampoon Barbie for being a poor body role model to kids, we should veto the Cabbage Patch Kids too, the little chubbers. Kids live in a land of whimsy, and playing with proportion is a big part of that. If you want to make everything true to life, we'll have to ban all the friendly teddy bears, too, and only have mean ol' grizzlies in the shops.
But I digress. Now, plenty of people defend Miss B because she had some truly interesting careers - astronaut, teacher, engineer, architect, etc, etc, ad infinitum.
And this is the reason Barbie grates me. Even though she has been given awesome opportunities, her focus is still on her looks. She could be in the lab curing cancer, but still the most important aspect of her as a woman is her flowing blonde locks and tiny waist. To me, she's sending the message that in Barbie-land, no matter how hard you work, no matter how clever or strong you may be, no matter what you achieve professionally, unless you fit *that* image of a woman, you have failed to live up to the required idealistic stereotype.
Now, I've done some things. I've been some places. But my competence has never been judged off my dimensions or hairstyle, and nor should it have been. Whatever I came up against, as long as I was fit and smart enough to do the job and my appearance was neat, that was enough. I have seen some stunning women try in life, and succeed, but I have seen some stunning women try and fail. Their looks played only an infinitesimal part in their ultimate fate. But in Barbie-land, looks would be enough to save the princess or banish the ugly crone. This does not reflect my real life experiences, and I want my daughters to be taught the truth; that beauty, even considerable beauty, is not enough to save you if you are incompetent or stupid.
And that brings me to my next point. Would I trust a professional who obviously spends more time and more mental energy on her appearance than maintaining mastery of her trade? No. A look like Barbie's, with carefully arranged hair and full makeup, take considerable care to upkeep. I imagine that if she were my surgeon she would probably need to leave the operation halfway though my appendectomy to reapply her lipgloss. Not cool, Barbie. Not cool. I call Barbie's work ethic into question, and again I'd rather have my girls be workers than shirkers.
Add this all together, and I don't think Barbs and I could be friends. We're too different.
So she's not invited over to play. She can take her pernicious influence elsewhere. No scatter braining allowed by the nuclear physicists in my family! No trying to imply that my race car driving little girl is below standard because she wears flat shoes! (Hey Barbie, you know driving in heels is frowned up, right?) I'm keeping my kids on the straight and narrow. Do they still make Cabbage Patch Kids? I may need to hunt one down for Christmas.