In Praise of Barbie

Close up image of a female doll wearing a pink dress

This is a guest post from Mairi Campbell-Jack; a poet who lives in Edinburgh with her daughter. Mairi tweets as @lumpinthethroat

Being a good “feminist”, when my daughter was born three and a half years ago I was determined to bring her up in the feminist mould. Her father and I tried our hardest not to gender her. She was dressed in blues, greens and oranges. We made sure she had toys that were appropriate to both genders, and a range of books that weren’t just about glittery princess ballerina bunnies.

Then comes nursery, and contact with other girls. She explodes into a deep and long love affair with all things pink. She tells me she is not pretty unless her hair is in a bobble. Last month she asked me why I wasn’t beautiful, and on further questioning explained to me that I wasn’t wearing a skirt. Then two weeks ago I finally gave in. At her nursery fair she was very keen to get a hideous “singing lady” which turned out to be some kind of Bratz doll and, believe me, compared to that doll five second hand Barbies or Barbie-likes for £1 was much more acceptable. Continue reading