I grew up with GI Joe and Barbie. Barbie and I were born the same year, only a few months apart. She’s held up slightly better than I have. In fact, she hasn’t changed that much at all.
My sister, Melinda, and I officiated many secret GI Joe and Barbie weddings when we were little girls. Once our brothers found out what we were doing, GI Joe was called away for active duty to the foxholes my brothers had built in the cow pasture. And I do believe my cousin, Dixie, had the talking, albeit jealous, Ken.
Mom was an excellent seamstress and our Barbies were fashionistas to the max. I wish I still had all those clothes she made for Babs and friends.
Daughters #2 and 3 continued the tradition of Barbie and Ken, collected Christmas editions and played hair salon by cutting and styling their hair. Ouch. So much for that collection.
Daughter #1 never cared for dolls or frills or hair bows and that was fine by me.
My son and his friend used a few Barbies for target practice with their BB guns before my daughter found out and pitched a hissy fit.
Different groups have been calling foul on poor Barbie, younger sister Skipper and the gang for years. Barbie is too perfect. Barbie sends wrong body images. Yada, yada, yada.
Now there’s a group calling for us to boycott Barbie, GI Joe and every other gender specific toy. I have one thing to say to this group, “Stop trying to tell parents what their kids should or should not play with. You are not the boss of us!”
And give me a Barbie doll break. I’ve never compared my body to Barbie’s. Call me gifted, but I always knew she was made of plastic and was a doll just like Giggles and Go and Betsy Wetsy. Betsy never caused me to want to wet my pants except when Giggles and Go awakened us in the middle of the night giggling like a deranged Chucky.
The thought never crossed my mind nor my kid’s minds to want to look like Barbie. She’s plastic and really, really short. Her feet are tiny. I wear a size 8-1/2 shoe. Her feet would look ridiculous on my 5’8″ body.
I think kid’s body issues probably come from watching certain TV shows and trying to imitate movie stars, models and, gasp, sometimes their mom. When they hear you complaining about your weight, your looks, etc. they start to believe that maybe there could be something wrong with their looks, too.
GI Joe and Barbie, to me, are just toys, plain and simple, that my siblings and I played with while we were growing up. We used our imaginations and put those dolls in every made-up situation you could think of and used our minds to get them out of those jams.
And as my grandpa used to say, stop making mountains out of mole hills.
And leave Barbie & GI Joe alone.