As I was in the middle of a rough Tabata session today, the instructor brought up dolls, and I realized, our girls deserve better toys. She said she never let her mother buy her daughter those American Girl dolls… and then I was too busy doing kegel exercises in between jumping jacks to hear the rest. As I was surrounded by women, of all shapes and sizes, lots of mothers, college students, young and old, I realized that the dolls of my youth, did a terrible job of representing my worth as a woman.
As I left Tabata, red faced and drenched with sweat, I felt like a strong, sexy woman. I didn’t care if my makeup was running, because I didn’t have any on. I didn’t care that I had armpit stubble every time I went up for an extension. I didn’t care that my chub roll showed each time I sat down, or that my sports bra did a terrible job of hiding my back fat. I didn’t even care that through the smell of sweat, I detected a faint smell of urine (must do more kegels).
I was the complete opposite of any perfect little girly, girl doll of my youth and yet I felt strong, empowered, and beautiful. Fuck you, Barbie. Thanks to you, (and other pink plastic toys) it took me 36 years to get over the definition of feminine in my own head. In that moment, walking out of the gym in all my glory, I was the definition of woman.
It’s no wonder that my daughters have never played with Barbie dolls or owned any doll that eats, pees, poops, cries, farts, or whines. A relative bought them each an American Girls Dolls and they sat in a stuffed animal bin until their blonde silky hair got matted and I gave them away. Rag dolls and porcelain dolls creep me out, almost as much as a Barbie Doll with a 3 inch thigh gap. These types of dolls serve no purpose in raising self sufficient girls.
I’d rather my daughters have a doll with dirt on her face. One who drives her own truck, rather than ride shotgun in a convertible. I want the dirt to come from fixing her own flat tire and thick, beautiful thighs to show she lifted that truck tire into her flatbed by herself.
A girl needs a set of weights in addition to a kitchen set so she can not only learn to cook her own healthy meals, but build the muscle to become strong.
Instead of a princess castle, she needs a tool set. The pallet crafts of today, will be tomorrow’s home repairs, making her more independent and empowered.
If you still need to get her dolls, ditch the high fashion outfits and tutus, and buy female dolls dressed like professionals, doctors or scientists. These are positive images that will inspire them into these careers as they get older.
Pretend play is important, just make sure your kids have a lot of options. We had a dress up bin that contained princess dresses, but it also had everyday hero costumes like a firefighter, super heroes and professional costumes, like a veterinarian.
Whether you subconsciously buy the same toys you played with as a kid, or you think you’re doing what every other parent does, stop and think of it’s purpose and most importantly, it’s message. Paint the image you want your children to see, don’t let others control that.
Holiday time is coming! Please consider buying purposeful gifts this year. If you need toy ideas, click on the red hyper links in the text. It will bring you to samples through my Amazon account.