Monday, May 2, 2011

Barbie, Princesses and WTF?

It's going to seem strange that since the last few days have seen a wedding that tops them all for splendor and then the long-awaited elimination of a global terrorist, I'm not blogging about either of those things, headlining events though they are. I haven't ignored them, but enough has been said at length elsewhere. For reference, the wedding was perfect and I offer my praise and thanks to the Intelligence Community for the ultimate accomplishment - ridding the planet of a mass-murderer. 'Nuf said.

This particular blog germinated when I got a release date for my latest book, co-written with S.L. Carpenter. It's titled "PRINCESSES GONE WILD" and it'll be available in a couple of weeks from Decadent Publishing. Naturally, while writing the book, Scott and I ran amok amongst a variety of Princesses and our research led us to Disney (where else?) and the original blonde princess herself - Barbie. We managed to write this book without offending anyone. We hope. That's another issue. But when it came to Barbie...well, I took a long hard look at her. And so, apparently, did other people.

This wonderful photo appeared - and according to the caption, shows a proportionally correct, life-sized Barbie, built as part of National Eating Disorder Awareness week. While the image itself tells the tale, it bears repeating that this "creature" is 5'9" tall and weighs 110 lbs. This is in the anorexic range and she most likely does not have a period. She would be unable to walk upright, due to her proportions. And she has no hands...

This, folks, is what we're giving our girl-children to play with. If we labeled her "Doll from Venus" and treated her as an alien life form, I could see it. But we don't. Little girls are getting a mental image of life as a woman from this doll. I really hope parents are helping them balance the complete and utter unreality of that image. Sure it's fun to dress her up and let her go party with Skipper and the crew. Imaginations are wonderful things and a child's imagination is the greatest thing of all. BUT...please let's keep Barbie in her place. She's a TOY. Her life, complete with airplane, hot tub and's not REAL.

Our daughters are the princesses in our lives, just as our sons are the princes. We cherish them and do our best to raise them to be happy and productive people. Let's not tarnish that by unconsciously instilling an unrealistic image of womanhood into the minds of our girls. (And dad...have that chat with the lads about the women in Playboy. Another fantasy that needs to be deflated. No pun intended. LOL)

Life changes in our world, and these days it changes faster than we realize. Kids are growing up into a life filled with techno-wonders we - their parents - thought belonged on the bridge of the Enterprise. Now they're in our pockets. (Communicators, anyone? Who hasn't flipped open their cell-phone and paged Scotty?) Our kids take a lot of things for granted since they're part of today's existence. I'd like to think that in spite of the pods, phones, laptops and 3D tv's, children will still become people who have some sort of grounding in reality not cyberspace. And THAT is up to US.

We all struggle to be the best that we can, but it's not always an easy battle. Let's not complicate that fight for our kids by presenting them with unrealistic examples of womanhood. If we're going to offer a princess as an example to our daughters, at least we can pick a real one. Princess Catherine - nee Kate Middleton - slender and beautiful though she is, exemplifies a REAL "fairy tale princess". She will live in a world we can't begin to imagine and is certainly not anyone our daughters can grow up to be, but at least she walks on two feet and holds hands with her handsome prince. She probably gets her bitch on every month, too, just like the rest of us.

So please keep Barbie where she the toybox next to the Monopoly game, the Fisher Price carousel, the He-Man sword that makes scary noises when you knock it over, and Optimus Prime. And whatever happened to Teddy Ruxpin - and the Power Rangers, btw? Is G.I. Joe still out there? Having a grown kid removes one from the checkout line at Toys-R-Us and renders parents a bit out of touch with the current crop of giggling Elmos.(Actually I miss those trips at Christmas. Used to be able to shop for a couple of hundred bucks and have a massive pile of packages under the tree. Those days are LONG gone. LOL)

Let's play with our toys but maintain perspective. A toy is a fun thing. A life should be fun as well, not burdened with goals no human can ever achieve. Lord knows finding jeans that REALLY fit is hard enough... LOLLOL


Yeah, this bookcover is near to my heart so I'm putting it up here. Remember the title... PRINCESSES GONE WILD. Coming the week of May 16th from DECADENT PUBLISHING