or is Barbie a slightly odd choice for a gender-neutral toy?

(48 Posts)
quesadilla Sat 18-May-13 19:33:26

Family in the park today, mum, dad, two kids, classic upper middle class Guardian readers (nothing against Guardian readers btw, some of my closest friends etc, just trying to set the scene, i.e. they weren't the sort of people you'd expect to allow a Barbie doll within a mile of their house). Boy, I would guess six years old, with a barbie doll strapped to his back like a mini back-pack.
Now I'm all in favour of gender-neutral toys and I realize the kid might have developed a weird fetish for this doll which the parents had to go along with but the way the parents had strapped it onto his back was kind of like a trophy.
There was no way on earth this family would have allowed their daughter to play with a Barbie, let alone carry it around in public like a mini-me.
AIBU to think selecting a doll which pretty much defines the objectification of women/pinkification at its worst and encouraging your son to parade around with it as a symbol of how cool you are about gender roles is missing the point a bit?

YABU, how do you know so much about some strangers in a park.

But this, 'developed a weird fetish' is bloody ridiculous.

K8Middleton Sat 18-May-13 20:10:57

Where will I find the time for all this imagining? <wrings hands>

RubyrooUK Sat 18-May-13 20:11:09

My son had a phallic trophy vegetable for about six months which he carried round. After the first one went mouldy, we replaced it every week at the supermarket. He often liked to show it off to people in public and jab them a bit with it to show off its awesome vegetabley prowess.

I hate to think what people thought of us. blush

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 18-May-13 20:12:00

I read the Guardian. My dd is waist deep in Barbie dolls and has a bikini

I love the idea that his parents pinned him down and forcefully strapped a Barbie to his back to make a point to judgy-pants like you.

Floggingmolly Sat 18-May-13 20:18:56

Why would you assume they were trying to force a gender neutral toy on their son? confused.
I agree, if they were, they almost certainly wouldn't have chosen a Barbie doll.
We're middle class; classified as "elite" in that ridiculous BBC website class quiz, and I allowed my dd to play with Barbie without attributing any sinister connotations to it at all.
It's a doll.
If my sons had wanted to play with them too, (they didn't), I wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

Tweasels Sat 18-May-13 20:21:09

My goodness. Is this for real?

Just to clarify, you've seen a child with a Barbie doll. You have made several assumptions about this child's parents including their class and choice of newspaper. You've also made assumptions about why the child had the doll; "a trophy", "a mini me". And from all of this you've decided the situation is weird.

The only thing that is weird is the fact that you have even thought twice about it.

Mind after sayin all of that I too make bizarre judgements and assumptions about strangers I see. The key though I think, is to keep it to yourself grin

Blatherskite Sat 18-May-13 20:21:13

Let's imagine the rest of the story. It'll be like those games you played at school.

Right then - who's going first?

Imagine me 5ft8 and skinny first please

grin

Blatherskite Sat 18-May-13 20:27:05

OK so Freddie is a willowy supermodel...

K8Middleton Sat 18-May-13 20:27:10

Headline: Child seen with doll in playground - end of society is nigh!

Tweasels Sat 18-May-13 20:28:00

The dad has a sexual fetish for kitchen utensils

VinegarDrinker Sat 18-May-13 20:29:26

Can we start just making shit up about other MNers too? I once read a post by X and now know their choice of newspaper, class, voting habits, height, weight, education, qualifications and the name of their pet rabbit.

I don't just know them, I judge them for it.

They have pampas grass in their garden

flanbase Sat 18-May-13 20:36:40

perhaps he didn't know & had been framed by a sibling

tethersend Sat 18-May-13 20:46:35

YABU- boys playing with dolls is exactly what we should be encouraging. I'll give you the enormous collection of misogynist crimes that is Barbie, but the principle is there.

Rather than discouraging girls to play with pink, sparkly things, we should be encouraging boys to play with them too.

There is nothing wrong with dolls, pink, etc.- they just have a low status as they have been traditionally associated with girls. That's what needs challenging.

tethersend Sat 18-May-13 20:46:59

<gets off soapbox>

grin

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 18-May-13 20:48:30

I was in the park earlier I had lemon juice and a football I guess that means I'm David beckham

The mum has hairy armpits.

HollyBerryBush Sat 18-May-13 21:17:00

breaking news breaking news breaking news

People buy Barbie dolls because their children want them!

Doobiedoobedoobie Sat 18-May-13 21:18:08

Nah, I get what you're saying. The trillions of assumptions about them aside that is grin

I think there's definitely a 'type' of parent that is contrary in this type of way, I help run the local sling meet and we get a lot of the there... Lovely but rather hypocritical with issues like this.

So their DD is encouraged to be tomboyish and dressed in primary colours, they moan on and on about gender specific clothing and princessy stuff etc but their boys all have long hair and pink sparkly tops that the girls aren't allowed as presumably that shows how radical or forward thinking they are in some way?

One otherwise very sweet mum has b/g twins and for their first birthdays bought the boy a pink and lilac rag doll and the girl a teddy wearing dungarees grin

Doobiedoobedoobie Sat 18-May-13 21:21:18

To add, I don't think you can judge this based on a snapshot at a local park wink but these people do exist

Icelollycraving Sat 18-May-13 21:24:25

Odd old assumptions there op.

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