My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Why are Barbie dolls so bad?

18 replies

IsleOfRight · 23/09/2013 23:23

So most my friends would tut if I told then not only does my nearly 3 year old covet a barbie but that I am going to get her one for bday.

Why are they so bad? I mean yeah they have massive boobs and tiny waist etc but very few toys are in proportion and I would actually rather my dd had a barbie that she can use her imagination with than a designated Princess or fairy doll though am sure she'll decide the barbie is a Princess

I had lots of barbies and I am still a feminist.

Go on, before I buy one, what's the problem?

OP posts:
AnnieLobeseder · 23/09/2013 23:28

Beyond being white, blonde and ridiculously proportioned? Grin

Look, I'm a feminist and my DDs have Barbies - they love them. And Bratz, and Monster High. They're all just as bad as each other; Barbie certainly doesn't have a monopoly on misrepresenting everything that normal women are.

On good days I tell myself the toy manufacturers do it because it saves on materials.....

On bad days I despair.

I do wonder what would happen if someone brought out a "normal"-shaped doll. Would kids want it?

It does irk my anti-Barbie feminist self that despite appearances, the Barbie movies (which my girls also love) are full of messages of inner strength, self-belief, following your dreams and not accepting being told "you can't because you're a girl".

cherrytomato40 · 23/09/2013 23:30

I used to have principles about barbies... now my DDs have loads of them (mostly handed down from their cousins) mainly in various states of undress in the bathroom.

My daughters have plenty of good female role models. To them, a barbie is just a doll, nothing more.

comingalongnicely · 24/09/2013 08:18

Get some of THIS in Pink & make her body whatever shape you like!

Trouble is, then none of the clothes will fit & you'll have to find an outlet that supplies clothes to the "non standard" figure - another life lesson!

comingalongnicely · 24/09/2013 08:18

When I say "non standard" I mean as far as the manufacturers are concerned, not nature...

Bue · 24/09/2013 10:18

It's taken me years but I've finally come to a place where I can't see the problem with singling out Barbie. My mother had feminist principles about them, so all I had was a Sindy doll, who was regularly proportioned, of a normal BMI, and a bit crap. By the time my sister came along my mother had given up and my sister had tons of Barbies. They were only ever dolls to her. They didn't represent anything more than any other toy she had. And she grew up to be a Good Feminist! Barbie's only bad moment when I was growing up was when they brought out the doll that said "Math is hard!" The public reaction to that was so swift and fierce that Mattel pulled it stat and never did anything so stupid again.

I don't know much about Barbie these days though. Assuming it's all pinkified and a bit oversexualised? Whereas it wasn't too bad in our day. Is Barbie still an astronaut and a lawyer?

NoComet · 24/09/2013 10:29

The reason to ban barbies is they are shit.
They don't stand up, they don't sit down. Their hair frizzes and their clothes rip.

Ours ended up in the bin.

Buy a nice cuddly build a bear instead.

murielspark · 24/09/2013 15:06

Well, there are many reasons I dislike Barbie, but my main one if I think about it is that she's incredibly materialistic and spoilt. She's obsessed with clothes and riding in flash cars. And all her friends are just as skinny and spoilt as she is. There!

I think Toy Story 3 did something to slightly soften my anti-Barbie stance, but most of the jokes there are based on the idea that we are surprised that the Toy Story Barbie is educated and articulate: the joke is that we expect her to be ditzy, giggly and helpless, and the humour comes from our jolted expectations. So yeah, it's awkward.

If a future of daughter of mine starts coveting Barbies, I'll acknowledge that the advertising has obviously worked on her, but I doubt I'd actually buy one. There are better toys.

StickEmUp · 24/09/2013 18:23

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NiceTabard · 24/09/2013 22:06

I never had a barbie when I was little. Maybe a cindy? And some scary dolls with working eyelids and I pulled their eyelashes out and my mum was horrified!

For me "barbie" is shorthand for any kind of adulty-built, dressy-uppy, ooooh clothes and big hair aren't they marvellous type of doll.

Mine are right in the target range and not got any barbies but I think there are a couple of "princess" type ones knocking around. Also one of those scary big-head hairstyling dolls that I would have killed for when a child Grin They've never asked us strongly for any of that stuff and family are dependable for disney tat etc so it has been covered. TBH the fave toys are not those and never have been.

Personally I wouldn't go out and buy them a barbie / princess toy unless they were totally dead set on it, as I think it's all shit. But equally if other people give them stuff then that's fine and so be it. Although I have been known to respond to "why can't I have that" with "well it's a bit crap" so I'm probably not a great role model.

Oh in answer to your question, if your 3yo DD really wants a barbie then obviously get her one. Maybe counteract it with some Duplo Wink

AKissIsNotAContract · 24/09/2013 22:10

I don't know if they still are but they used to be assembled using child labour. That would be my only issue with them. I played with them as a child and I'm still a feminist

AKissIsNotAContract · 24/09/2013 22:12

link here from 2005.

WilsonFrickett · 24/09/2013 22:14

I loved my massive hairdressing head doll Nice. in the accompanying 'look book' it had a 'career girl' example so I think it was one of my first feminist exposures Grin

WidowWadman · 24/09/2013 22:17

Barbie isn't ideal, but at least nowadays you can get paleontologist, astronaut, pilot, and president barbies.

NiceTabard · 24/09/2013 22:21

Hmm I don't think DD's has a "look book".

It is from in-laws and so probably a cheaper version on the theme.

Unlike my parents who get them educational toys which are very complicated, too old, for them and made of hand reared organic materials and then they can look really disappointed (at me) when the pieces get lost.

Rock and a hard place in this household Hmm Grin

WilsonFrickett · 25/09/2013 09:31

Grin I had mine in the 70's so it probably needed instructions

GlassHare · 25/09/2013 13:09

Most of the stuff about Barbie on this thread isn't true. There are barbies in all skin tones and hair colours. They are not all adults. They come in four different ages. The youngest one is Shelly and is about 5. They do have jobs; there is a vet barbie etc. They are not particularly weirdly proportioned - they were in the 1970s though. They are not particularly materialistic. DDs has a tandem adult and child bike; it is one of the most popular sets one Christmas.

AnnieLobeseder · 25/09/2013 17:11
zatyaballerina · 25/09/2013 17:33

It's weird that adult women project their own body images onto barbie dollsConfused Toys as a political statement - bizarre....

Why are they bad? Some women can't tell the difference between toys and people, playtime and life, imagination and reality and assume neither can anyone else.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.