By Lisa Barker
When my toddler walks by with a naked Barbie doll, her hair drenched and dripping, I know Barbie has been skinny-dipping in the toilet. Call it a mother’s instinct. No matter what the circumstances are, moms have a way of putting two and two together and coming up with the exact scenario.
Too bad I’m not psychic. Think of all the horrors I could save Barbie from.
Like that time she and her friends had been decapitated and Mom had to discern which head belonged to which doll. What is it with boys and decapitation? My girls look at a Barbie and they see a mother, a teacher, a nurse or some other role they would like to play. My sons look at a Barbie and they see an opportunity to pull somebody’s legs, arms and head off and hide them in various places around the house. Is this early serial killer play?
I hope not.
Still, I can imagine that Barbie and her friends are terrified of being discovered by one of the boys. Who knows when the dolls will be jammed into a too-small car, wearing only a knotted scarf and a single red boot, and sent hurtling down the hallway where they will smash headlong into the wall? No crash dummy ever had it so rough.
But this doesn’t just happen in my house. A friend of mine described a day when she was cleaning her home in the anticipation of company and at the last moment found Barbie and several of her friends, naked and dangling helplessly in the Ficus tree.
Now some moms will not allow their girls to play with Barbie dolls. They don’t want their girls to grow up thinking that the ideal woman is twelve inches tall with a four-inch bust and a waist to match. But my sisters and I are living proof that girls can play with Barbie dolls and aspire to a much larger bust measurement.
Our minds were never narrowed by Barbie’s perfect image.
In fact, when one of our Barbie dolls lost an arm or leg or suffered a broken neck, they were mended as well as we could manage and they remained a part of the Barbie clan. As children, we opened the doors of equality and paved the way for handicapped Barbie dolls of every color, size and shape…and that translated into our character and attitude later in life.
My girls do that with their own dolls. Barbie really brings out their nurturing side.
Suddenly, I hear the predictable cry of outrage as another Barbie is discovered dismembered and buried in a shallow grave of Legos. It looks like my daughters will have a lot more nurturing to do real soon.