Thursday, January 14, 2010

A lesson from Mattel

A lesson from Mattel... playing Barbies isn't that bad... the end. (Insert me now running away in shame here...)

Now, I know any of you reading who actually know me personally probably need CPR right now but I promise, hang in here with me! ;) In fact, what I've learned isn't a lesson from our tall, skinny, big-boobed and blond friend, but is instead a lesson from a child while playing dolls. (This seems to be a common theme lately for me.)

I did everything I could to avoid playing dolls when I was a kid. Something about being around "childhood-ness" is making me feel like I'm getting mine back. Further more, it's making me feel like it's OK to want and to have one...meaning, that it's OK to want a childhood that is.

So I recently moved and with that move came the new friendship of a precious 5 year old. It wasn't long into this friendship of our that I realized, "Uh oh... this little girl's about to change my entire world isn't she?..." In that moment I thought I was right and with each passing day it becomes clearer and clearer. All my inhibitions, all my pride that came with dulled-out adulthood seems to slyly slip away when in the presence of her innocence. The world is simple again. I wont go so far as to say it's pure again, but certainly simpler.

Now I can't say that I'm 100% in Barbie's favor. The fact that we imprint our daughters with the mental image that this figure is the standard of beauty irks me. Barbie is not only unrealistic but she is a poor representation of the multi-cultural world we live in. What I do appreciate about dolls in general however is it gives our children reason to use their imagination-- and more than that, it gives them a practical tool in which to dream.

Here I was sitting on the floor, watching my new friend plan out a pleasant afternoon with Barbie, a couple of her closest friends, a horse ride, a formal ball, and of course, a castle. It was a pleasure to watch her dream out loud. Whether she realizes it or not, which I suspect she doesn't, her play-time is reflecting the desires of her heart. I found myself so amused at my newly discovered depth to Mattel that I must have been giving the child a strange look. She begin to tap me on my shoulder, startling me from my thoughts. "Hey... I saaaaid, it's almost time for the ball." She smiles and continues, "And you have to tell me your prince's name."

Oh dear. My prince's name? Now isn't that a question I'd like to know the answer to... :)

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