Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Barbie for Baby
Apparently, my sister's husband, David, my newly, freshly minted big brother-in-law, has decided that he wants their growing baby girl to play solely with toys carved from wood, the flesh of trees. While I can respect his sentimentalism and reverence for seemingly, or at least superficially, simpler times, I must admit that I cannot wait to spoil my niece with Barbie dolls. Surely, in his edict of the toys, David did not mean to include dolls.
Popular media, fed and spurred by the thoughts and rants of pragmatically idle scholars, condemned Barbie as a bastion for feminine fantasy, for infiltration within the minds of entire generations of girls with sadistic and unattainable ideals of body image. This left little choice but for the manufacturers and designers, in recent years, to alter her dimensions to more manageable and realistic proportions. Breasts were demoted, hips scaled back, waist widened. To be honest, I played with Barbie voraciously as a child and as an early adolescent, and while subconsciously I am sure I visually consumed the physiological impossibilities of this idol, I never once sat and contemplated hip-to-waist ratios, or whether a true-sized Barbie human would be able to stand. I did not care. Barbie embodied one thing for me: possibility. Possibility for career paths, possibility for friendships and relationships, for complete balance between professional career and social niceties. She was a beautiful, malleable dream, a malleable piece of imagination and opportunity.
I hope I can peruse some garage sales, or perhaps some consignment shops, to locate an original Barbie, and a classic Barbie from my era, before her body transformation. I also cannot wait to spoil my niece, to revisit, to again imbibe, the explorations of childhood and innocent possibilities with her.