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Barbie, Princesses etc - harmless or perpetuating female stereotypes?

(78 Posts)
WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 21:57:51

Luckily I have not got to this stage yet with dd1.

However, round someone else's house the other day, the children were watching a Barbie film (12 Dancing Princesses as I remember). It was just so ludicrously sexist - at one stage the "mother" said to the girls "You are no better than a common maid".

Am I over-reacting or should I try to resist the onslaught of negative role models for my dds?

LieselVonGiftwrapp Mon 11-Dec-06 22:04:08

Barbies are fab. Thats all Ive got to say - but then Im a Princess

Stockingsofdinosaurs Mon 11-Dec-06 22:04:53

I'm more concerned about the copious amounts of pink plastic tat clogging up the Western world. My dd's 3 and says she likes Barbie but doesn't really know much about it (hurray for advert-free CBeebies!) - she will not be getting a hideous Barbie or Disney Princess dress for Christmas. There are some lovely princess dresses out there that don't look like pageant dresses, the official ones are overpriced and hideous.

serenitynightholynight Mon 11-Dec-06 22:06:03

Tbh I think it's fairly harmless fantasy, but then in my house it's DS2 who loves Barbie, DD isn't that bothered. I grew up with Sindys and I am the least fluffy, pink person you can imagine! I really believe that it's the lessons taught by me and DH, in how we live our lives and what standards and morals (for lack of a better word - I've got a rotten cold and a mushy brain) we demonstrate that will shape the DCs. In our house Barbie usually joins forces with Action Man to fight of evil aliens, although this year I think she's got her eyes on Dr Who

Stockingsofdinosaurs Mon 11-Dec-06 22:06:30

Forgot to say she can have Barbie dolls when she wants one but not all the other branded rubbish. And Barbie is far better than the Bratz crackwhores and Polly Paris Hilton Pocket.

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:07:14

LVT - thank you so much for replying to my thread.

I had just concluded that since it was about to drop off active combos like a lead balloon, that I am over-reacting.

The reason I ask is that dd1(3) has so far declared that when she grows up she wants to be

1) a princess
2) a fairy
3) Barbie

I can't help but feel that at an early age she is being pumped full of very outdated ideas??

serenitynightholynight Mon 11-Dec-06 22:07:49

Oh, I agree with Barbie dressing up clothes, they are vile (not that fond of pink frills anyway but DD is) you can get far nicer things. Over priced tat really.

motherinfurrierfestivefrock Mon 11-Dec-06 22:08:12

I agree but have glumly come to the conclusion that Barbie is not the worst of it.

Carmenere Mon 11-Dec-06 22:08:26

Well my instinct is that they are a really bad influence on young girls however I had lots of dolls(Sindy to be exact) but I had very positive role models in my mother and grandmother ect who all had careers of sorts as well as running large families. I'm not sure that if your dd is interested in pink girly princessy things that it is worth actively discouraging her as long as women are treated with equalty and respect in her real world.

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:08:59

LOL - active convos even. "Active combos" - is that a Freudian slip of how I see MN or something??

X posted everyone else - input much appreciated!

morningpaper Mon 11-Dec-06 22:10:14

My dd is 4 and loves anything Barbie, even the awful films

I also felt Barbie Horror to start with but she loves her Barbies so much and whenever she went to friends houses she would be a silent Barbie adoration as she played with them, so I cracked and now the house is full of long-limbed bimbos. Fortunately she doesn't seem to discriminate between Barbie and a Sylvanian Rabbit, so I don't know if it really IS that evil. I bought her a David Seaman "Ken" type World Cup doll "So that there is someone to do the ironing" and she loves him too.

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:11:53

It's not so much the Barbie dolls - a bit of dressing up is quite acceptable.

It's more the DVDs, stories, fairy tales etc. I feel like I am telling her that the female role in the world is to be a kind of puppet, subject to male control?

Stockingsofdinosaurs Mon 11-Dec-06 22:11:55

My dd wants to be a duck and an elephant when she grows up, at the same time. I think Barbie probably earns more.

serenitynightholynight Mon 11-Dec-06 22:12:23

DS2 wanted to be a fireman or a princess (didn't want to point out the logistical problems with it)

DD wants to be the tooth fairy, but we have to discourage her from taking them by force.

morningpaper Mon 11-Dec-06 22:13:27

Yes Santa you are right

It is creeping into the house


When a friend asked her recently what would happen AFTER HER FABULOUS WEDDING, she gave it some thought and replied "I'll go back to my kingdom."

oh dear

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:14:39

LOL serenity, you have just reassured me immensely that ds wants to be a princess! Who wouldn't want to be?

I don't want her to be excluded when all the other girls are talking about the new Barbie film, I suppose. But I find the gist of them quite horrifying. Like brainwashing or something.

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:16:29

Stockings of dinosaurs - you sound in control. Have you seen those hideous "pageant dresses" on ebay? wtf???

morningpaper Mon 11-Dec-06 22:19:39

I would have thought by school age Barbie is a bit passe

You will have to buy her Bratz then or she will get beaten up

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:19:58

Sorry about the multiple postings, am reading replies one by one.

MP - love the idea of buying a male doll to do the ironing - will consider Action Man or similar to counteract the "get back in the kitchen/ballroom" kind of mentality.

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:22:38

Carmenere - yes, I need to get back to work pronto. She has decided that "mummies stay at home and daddies earn the money to buy the house". I am only on mat leave for chrissakes! I would love to drop the bombshell that I am the breadwinner (when full time).

Stockingsofdinosaurs Mon 11-Dec-06 22:24:59

We've only just started introducing feature length films so there's only TV character stuff in the house. And DD would be scared of most Disney films anyway (hates fighting, shouting and generally naughty people.)
So far we have watched Nanny McPhee, Polar Express, Madagascar and Lady & The Tramp (which was booooooooring.) Can anyone recommend anything else non-scary that's entertaining for adults? (or should I start a new thread actually?)

paulaplumpbottom Mon 11-Dec-06 22:28:38

I let my DD play with Barbies, she loves them and a lot of it is how you play with them.When we play Barbie is not a bimbo but a career woman or lately a mommy. I will not however allow those vile Bratz into my home. Trashy

motherinfurrierfestivefrock Mon 11-Dec-06 22:28:51

Shrek. It's fabulous.

MP, I have finally given in on Barbies simply because they aren't Bratz. (DD1 is nearly six.)

I do spend a lot of time wondering where I went wrong, you know. Am encouraged by the fact that although DD2 wants to marry a prince and live in a castle DD1 appears to be moving into a slightly less pink phase.

bakedpotato Mon 11-Dec-06 22:30:19


I attempted to have this chat with DD. I said, 'Barbie doesn't look like real people. I wouldn't want you to grow up wanting to look like that'

DD looked at me, appalled, and said sternly, 'It's not very nice to say things about the way people look'

WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad Mon 11-Dec-06 22:31:58

MI - I think you're right. Thank God for Barbie if the alternative is Bratz. Eugghh.

Next they'll be wearing T shirts emblazoned with "crack-fiend".

BTW - Playboy clothes for young girls - innocent rabbit logo?

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