Escaping the marketing to kids around the holidays is impossible. Endless commercials, billboards, and toys on the ends of every isle in the supermarket can have kids begging for the toys that they see advertised. This dad put his foot down and decided that enough was enough, and he decided to tell his daughters (and the internet) exactly why he felt this way. His letter has gained criticism from both sides of the spectrum, but I’ll let you decide if you think he’s right or wrong.
As you know, we had already settled the issue of whether you were getting a Barbie for Christmas. But then I took you to the movies last week, and you saw that new “imagine the possibilities” Barbie commercial that has gone viral. I’m sure that advertisement planted some seeds in your impressionable brains. So before those seeds take root, I’m going to go ahead and dig them up.
No, girls, you cannot have a Barbie.
To be fair, it really was cute to see little girls pretending to be grown-up professionals. And then there was that inspiring, all-caps message towards the end: “YOU CAN BE ANYTHING.”
Yes, girls, you can be anything — well, except a Barbie owner. At least not as long as I’m buying.
I appreciate what Mattel is trying to do with that adorable advertisement, girls. But if you really want to understand why you’re not getting a Barbie, think about the very last line of the commercial: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.”
Girls, they can pretend you’ll imagine being a CEO because you played with Barbie and Skipper, but let’s get real…
What you’re more likely to imagine is that it’s perfectly normal to be a starved-looking, big-breasted, long-legged woman whose waist is only big enough for half a liver and a few inches of intestines.
I don’t want any part in that.
Yes, I want you to imagine growing up and having a healthy body. But I also want you to realize you’re going to have curves, weight fluctuations, bad hair days, stretch marks, and wrinkles too.
Be okay with that.
Like the Good Book says, you’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” — all of you, including the physical attributes that, on a Barbie, would cause her to be deemed defective.
There will be plenty of time for you to be exposed to idealized images of malnourished women in your lifetime…
…but I sure don’t plan to be the one introducing them to you. And that’s why you’re not getting a Barbie.
He clearly wants his daughters to be happy with the body that they were born with – but he also doesn’t seem to grasp that calling them “girls” and telling them what they can and cannot aspire to is also holding them back. When I played with Barbies as a kid, I never once thought that it would be possible to have a waist 4 inches around. I didn’t care – I was a kid. I was too busy making my dolls little houses out of dirt and twigs in the back yard. What do you think of this dad’s letter? Touching, or too much?
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