Wednesday, December 17, 2003

girls and dolls...

c and i were out shopping this past weekend so she could buy christmas presents for her family and we ended up at sears at one point. so we're just walking around, browsing, and all of a sudden she says "oh my god, you have to come look at this!" so i go over to where she is and to my utmost surprise i find a whole shelf full of pregnant barbie dolls!! i couldn't believe it and just stood there, shocked, for about 5 minutes trying to understand my own feelings about the issue. i mean, i already have issues with the whole doll thing, not that i think they're evil or anything, but in a way i think that certain dolls promote domestication among little girls.

i should add, as a disclaimer, that i've had many discussions with women i know who've played with dolls during their childhood and have grown up to be well adjusted, undomesticated, independent women, and that's a wonderful phenomenon. but i still think that there are undoubtedly some girls (obviously i'm referring only to girls here because you know, boys play with "action figures", not dolls!) who grow up thinking that they have to look a certain way and have long straight hair and a perfect waistline and blah blah blah all because they grew up thinking barbie was the shit! so, you know, i've had several debates over the whole doll thing, and of course no two children are the same, and my own sister grew up playing with dolls and is now quite the independent, strong woman of the millenium. but when i look at all the products out these days, such as barbie at the grocery store and barbie in the kitchen baking cookies and barbie in the shopping mall, i can't help but feel like there's a male domination/female domestication message that is undoubtedly being sent and thereby subtly developing in the minds of some of these children!

of course not all dolls promote domestication. the ones that bug me are the ones mentioned above. and now a pregnant barbie? so later i find out that it's actually barbie's friend midge and not barbie, because you know, midge is married and barbie isn't, god forbid they promote premarital sex! at any rate, it's horrendous in my opinion and i still can't get over why they would even go there. as if the women's movement hasn't struggled enough to defy stereotypes that all women are good for is shopping, cooking, cleaning and making babies! i don't know, i mean, am i blowing this out of proportion? is it not a step back for those of us women who keep trying to resist the male dominated views that are impressed upon every single woman in every single society on the face of this earth? sure, it's a natural fact that only women can give birth to children, but do we really need to have dolls that send a message to kids that because you are a woman you are expected by society to get married and have children? it's disgusting and i'm totally appalled...

i just have to add here, in all fairness, that i have nothing against women who choose to be domesticated and want nothing more than to get married and have children. as long as it's a choice/desire and not the result of an expectation, it's all good as far as i'm concerned.

apparently these dolls have been out for a little while and, having caused quite the stir (and rightly so), have since been discontinued. but they're still available at sears and probably a few online retailers. thankfully someone had the sense to put an end to it.

in other feminist news, i so thoroughly enjoyed listening to a speech on c-span by hillary clinton! it's so amazing to hear her speak. she was speaking at a dnc fundraiser in florida and talked about the need for unity within the dnc and not to bicker within the party. she also talked about a million different other issues including the idea of allowing the working class to move up and not have to struggle day in and day out just to make ends meet. she mentioned how some people were fortunate enough to be born into wealth, and others fortunate enough to become wealthy by being at the right place at the right time. but she insisted that it would be ridiculous to just sit there and not acknowledge the fact that there are millions of working families out there who for some reason or another just can't get ahead, and it's their obligation not to turn a deaf ear to their struggles. man, i'm probably not doing her speech justice by trying to summarize it here, but i'll just say that she spoke so eloquently and logically and sensibly that i found myself in a trance, getting excited at the mere prospect of her running for presidency in 2004 2008. i really, really like her. really.