Monday, July 10, 2006

Speaking of keeping my mouth shut . . .

I can't do it.

Maybe it's the extrovert in me. Maybe it's the politician in me. Maybe it's the prize fighter in me. Maybe it is the crazy person in me. I can't keep my mouth shut when I feel strongly about something. Unfortunately I am not always graced with eloquence or tact--damn!

The other day I was part of a discussion about consumerism . . . sort of. It was really about Barbie. Many moms present believe that Barbie is "evil." According to these moms Barbie will make their daughter subservient, self-loathing, anorexics incapable of thinking for themselves. Furthermore, if a Barbie should happen to creep into their house it might cause their children to want other things--maybe even Barbie underwear **gasp**, Barbie toothpaste (horrors!) or (drumroll please) another Barbie!

Barbie only has the power to manipulate, pollute and corrupt if you give it to her! Barbie is just a doll. Barbie dolls are an amazing way to play out incredibly rich dramas. Wonder Woman Barbie and her Paradise Island sisters have been living their lives in our guest room for well over 18 months now. I love to hear what Evie and her friends come up with. I love to play things out with Evie. I love to hear Evie and my mom create elaborate Barbie storylines that continue over days and days, both of them equally engrossed in the goings on.

Before my computer crashed I had a great file of essays and websites about the positive effect of Barbie. Hopefully I can recoup some of that stuff and link it here.

Stuff exists because people will buy it. There are lots of reasons to choose NOT to buy something. You can choose not to buy something because it is made in China and you don't want things made outside US borders or with unfair labor etc. You can choose not to buy something because you prefer to re-use things. I think choosing to not buy something because it is part of a TV show or part of popular culture, even though your kid really wants and would enjoy it, is stupid. It is stupid and antithetical to the idea of a joyful, purposeful and free life.

I wish I could buy everything in the world that I think would tickle Evie's fancy. As it stands she has much to enjoy and if she sees something that does tickle her fancy, and we can afford it, we will probably get it, Funny, she has never once asked for anything she has seen on TV. She has never once asked me to buy her something in a store. She is the girl who makes lists of what she wants to GIVE people at Christmas time. Her proverbial cup is full of time with friends, My Little Pony toothpaste, Barbie underwear, toys that get played with, parks and outdoor adventures, Barbies from the thrift store, gifts from family and friends--as a result she overflows with generousity and she sparkles with joy. When she is lucky, Barbie gets to go along for the ride!

2 comments:

~DanaB~ said...

Quoting you..."I think choosing to not buy something because it is part of a TV show or part of popular culture, even though your kid really wants and would enjoy it, is stupid. It is stupid and antithetical to the idea of a joyful, purposeful and free life..."
Isn't that the TRUTH?!? Folks seem to forget that the children don't have all the prejudices and baggage that the grown-ups have about such things! I enjoyed your blog today!! :)

~~

kelli said...

Did you happen to see or hear this? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5595146

if that doesn't find the article for you, you can put "Barbie" in the Search engine or Tweens and Media.
We were just talking about Barbie at the Unschooling Discussion list. :)