Doll 3Not THOSE sorts of dolls! What were you thinking…

I heard about the new ‘Barbie’ range on the news, which got me thinking on this topic. You can now get Barbies with different hair colours and different body shapes, to closer reflect ‘real’ girls. Hmm. I took a quick look and they all look very pretty indeed.

Now I’m not much into cutesy things and prefer the weird, wonderful & macabre. Though I must confess that I had a, thankfully short-lived and uncharacteristic, phase of playing with a Barbie Doll when I was about 9 years old. It probably had more to do with the fact that my mother came home from the auction house with a box full of related stuff, including furniture, kitchen units, crockery, nick-nacks, clothes etc, all in roughly Barbie proportions, which kept me busy for some time creating the whole tableau.

I never lost any sleep about not being 6 foot tall, blonde with a 2 inch waist. But I’m guessing current girls do, for this new launch to be so ground-breaking. And apparently some men are now complaining about the ‘Ken’ dolls also setting impossible standards and creating body anxiety in boys. (Really?!)

So how far are we going to take this? Fat dolls? Beer-belly dolls? Bad teeth dolls? Cleaner dolls?

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But isn’t the point that we like to look at beauty? We much prefer to see good looking people in fashion, TV and on the stage. An ugly singer will have a much more difficult time getting recognition than a beautiful one – even if she’s much better. With pets too, people buy designer dogs and cats to have beautiful animals. Would a child be comfortable taking a hideous looking doll to school? It would certainly be character building.

As it is you can get some pretty left field dolls already, such as pierced dolls, tattooed dolls and even a smoking Goth doll.

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This begs the question what kind of mother would give her child one of these? Surely a doll reflects aspiration. Giving a child an obese doll surely says ‘it’s ok to overeat’. Or it’s fine if you want to smoke, pierce yourself or have tattoos. Well it is – but only when you’re old enough to make a measured judgment on the long-term ramifications of those choices.

Much better just to stick to a Teddy Bear perhaps…

So what doll is missing in your life…? x

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