But does my daughter have to be a Barbie girl? At age 4?
Fuss received her first Barbie this year. Technically, her cousin got her one for Christmas, but it was a Barbie-made Princess Ariel use-it-in-the-bath Barbie and I decided to consider it a bath toy and shrug since my SIL (the one who is a mom of same-aged children and should totally know better) gave it to her with the "I don't know if you're doing Barbies yet, but..." But then she got another (and a seriously ugly one, at that!) from my ultra-conservative friend, Jo, for her birthday. Seriously people? Do you not understand that Barbies were originally designed for girls who were learning the concepts of fashion and that a 4 year old, while not likely to put the tiny pieces in her mouth and choke on them can't actually get those tiny pieces on said doll herself? So then Mommy has to do it? And for whatever reason, I just don't feel it's an age-appropriate toy for my pre-schooler! She has plenty of time in her future to be inundated with stereo-typed, yet unrealistic images of what a female should look like.
In addition, she was also given a Moxie-girl giant makeover head to do some make up and hair color stripes. What the heck, people?
I'm not that conservative overall. I played with Barbies and make-up long before I became a preteen. But at age 4? I was still digging in the dirt to find earth worms, chasing lizards, and making mud pies and snuggling with my baby dolls. (And those who know me now are sort of baffled by the fact that I liked dirt, earth worms and lizards in my childhood. Believe me, so am I. But I did.) I was still proudly sporting my Osh Kosh corduroy overalls to preschool and not even paying attention to what I looked like. And there are days when I long for that freedom again and I want my daughter to have as many days of that as she can.