Why Barbie Should Stay Blonde

Recently, Mattel released Barbie dolls with various skin tones and hair colors, and it is nothing short of a terrible idea. If my daughter needs her doll to have a spot-on matching skin tone to validate her beauty, I will have failed as a mother. At the end of the day, it will be my job to build my daughter’s self-esteem- not Mattel’s. While it is admirable Mattel is straying away from the blonde, big breasted Barbie with feet that cannot support her, my future daughter will still face that image every day in today’s media. I am not going to shelter my child from her surroundings; people will look different than her and they are all beautiful, but so is she regardless of how many dolls look like her.

Barbie is an icon. When you look past her physical appearance, she has been an argument for feminism. Between her numerous careers and activities, Barbie has helped many young women believe that they can achieve goals typically only seen achieved by boys. There are not many other female toys that are surgeons, top political and military titles, or NASCAR drivers. When I think of Barbie’s numerous career paths, I think of her blonde hair as well. Barbie is an image and an icon that cannot have twenty-two different appearances.

The biggest issue here is not that Mattel wants to manufacture dolls with various skin tones, but rather the fact they want to name all these women “Barbie.” Give them other names, and other stories. Leave Barbie as an icon, but use her as a teaching tool instead of an unrealistic goal.

Not every doll will look, or sound, like your daughter, but the world is not one color. Your daughter will face other women in life she views as “perfect.” Let Barbie teach them at a young age that it is okay to admire and look up to others, while still maintaining her own self-esteem. Every color, every shape and every size are beautiful, and to rely on a doll to validate your child’s beauty is a failure to parenting everywhere.

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2 thoughts on “Why Barbie Should Stay Blonde

  1. I totally agree with this. I see naming them all Barbie as choosing girls from all over the world and giving them my name. Making them me but with different looks.
    I played with Barbie dolls when I was a child but I never once thought that I had to look like her when I grew up. It was just a doll. I don’t believe a doll can put views in a child’s mind of how they should look when they’re older. It’s the rest of society that does that. Seeing actually humans look a certain way is what made me think I had to look a certain way. Not a doll.

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  2. Good post and I do see your point to an extent. But I think, on the other side of the coin, yes, barbie has inspired many girls to think they can succeed in numerous career paths but I would say she has inspired mainly girls that look like her. White Girls. That can relate to her. She was made to inspire the white girl, who in that time would not have made it as a surgeon e.t.c. but not other girls of ethnicity.

    As a black girl, when I was young I remember being given a black doll and I thought she was as ugly as! I had plenty of barbies, all white and perhaps if it was more mainstream to have dolls of a different ethnicity, I may have felt differently about that black doll.

    Barbie is a brand is an ideal, and yes and icon, but an icon whose history does not represent or encourage racial diversity and so I think by diversifying the brand you allow the message that Barbie wants to portray encourage lots of little girls all around the world.

    Now don’t get me wrong I love my colour, my culture and appreciate people from all backgrounds, but the fact is our society and what we see, what we play with and what we come to think of as “normal” shape us in ways we are not even aware of. So try as you might as a mother to encourage your daughter to love herself (and I hope she does) barbies and main stream media shape our ideals of beauty and so if barbie is only white, what happens to all of those little children out there who look nothing like her…they feel ugly. Hopefully only until they are older enough to really understand their worth, but if we can avoid this, then why not?

    Sorry for the essay 🙂

    http://www.wordpress.com/mindscloset

    Liked by 2 people

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