Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's hear it for the geniuses at Mattel and Universal Home Video.

We went to the library yesterday.  Whenever we go, I let Hannah choose one video as well as all the books she wants.  Yesterday she selected a Barbie sing-along video. This one is worse than the other Barbie videos I've had to endure, because it's recycled clips of the musical numbers from a bunch of other videos. No, you read that right. Barbie has musical numbers. The one I watched included her singing with a miniature elephant, a small simian of some sort, and a peacock.  I pointed out the implausibility of the whole story line to Hannah, but she was too distracted by Barbie's duet with the handsome sailor, who was probably a prince, and was single-handedly sailing a tall ship that looked to be at least 125 feet in length.  I don't know a thing about sailing, so this might be possible, but I'm pretty sure that schooner-thingy wouldn't comfortably accommodate the miniature elephant. But Hannah's just not that into realism.

As we were driving home from the library, Hannah asked me for the one-millionth time why I don't like Barbie.
Me: (sigh) Because Barbie's primary skill is looking pretty, and she doesn't seem to have any other lasting interests.  I don't think that's a good thing to teach little girls.
Hannah: But I like Barbie.
Me: That's fine.  I'm not going to tell you what to like.  Incidentally, why do you like Barbie?
Hannah: I don't know. I just do.  She always wears sparkly clothes.
Me: (sigh again) Yep.  That seems to be what's most important to Barbie.  And that's why I don't care for her.
Hannah: Looking pretty is nice. But it's not the most important thing, right?
Me: I don't know. What do you think is the most important thing?
Hannah: (thinking) Following rules.  And being nice.
Me: (sigh of relief)

So. The score stands as follows:
Barbie: 1
Mom: 1

I don't know what they put in the water that makes little girls gravitate to Barbie and lip gloss and sparkly crap, but I'm only one person, and if I've managed, in defiance of this covert and pernicious marketing culture, to teach my daughter that being considerate of others is more important than looking cute, I feel pretty good about that.

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