I just don't get it. Maybe I'm just a horrible, worldly woman of a mother, but I just don't understand this whole doll situation.
Before I start my "ranting and raving", I need to shout out a disclaimer to all my blogging sistas. I love you. I care about you. You are the wind beneath my wings. Okay. Here I go.
I remember when my daughter Hannah started playing with dolls. I do not remember the first time she received one, but I do remember she became interested in them around the age of two. And when I say "interested", I mean she wasn't using them as a chew toy any longer, but was pretending they were alive and her imagination sparked a continued love for storytelling and girlie excitement. It was a grand time.
Josie has now been at that stage for about six months. She, too, has a great imagination and love for dolls. I see her playing "mommy" with her dolls, holding them with a bottle, whispering secrets of wonder in their ears, and singing them to sleep ever so softly.
Now, the picture I'm painting here isn't complete without describing the dolls that are a part of my daughters' daily playtime. (Josie has now taken the lead in the doll department.) Hannah and Josie both have plush dolls, stuffed animals, dolls that wet, dolls that cry, dolls that have painted-on smiles, dolls that talk, and dolls that are anywhere from six inches tall to two feet in length. Basically their doll society welcomes all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and religions. We are the United Nations of Doll Earthlings.
In addition to the wide variety, their are two commonalities these dolls posses with each other in their everlasting existence.
1. They are loved very much by the girls. One doll may be loved more on a particular day, but in essence, they are all adored equally.
2. They have all been naked at one time or another. Yes, their birthday suits have been seen by all in our house -- even those not of Bickerstaff blood -- who have come over to play and enjoy the fun that these dolls are so willing to share with us humans.
I want to share some thoughts regarding point number 2 -- the all too sensitive subject of "doll nakedness".
I am neither for nor against it. I am neutral. I am Switzerland. And here is why.
If one of my daughters wants to take off a doll's clothes and the toy manufacturer didn't grace the thing with painted on panties and/or bra, I say, "Okay. What's the big deal?" I believe that dolls look prettier with their cute clothes on, but if they come off, it's nothing to freak out about, either.
I do not believe that my girls are going to have a body image complex because their barbies are "heavenly endowed" or have waists the size of peanuts. Yes, barbies and other dolls of their nature do not depict the typical woman's body type. But it is not a toys responsibility to teach my daughters how to love the bodies that they were ever so blessed with. It is mine.
So I boldly say this: If my daughters grow up with a poor body image of themselves, it is most likely because they saw me carrying a poor body image of myself around like a weight in the ocean. But if I treat my body like the temple that it is, my daughters will see that and most likely do the same.
I know, I know. You want to get back to the whole "naked dolls are wrong" issue. Yes, it exists! Dolls! Dolls! Naked! Naked! Some without legs! Some without arms! Some with hair cut off from their poor little heads! It's a horrible scene to come upon, when you watch your daughter try to put a leg back into a hip socket to no avail. And then she turns to look up at you, with those baby blues, pleading with you to help save her most precious Malibu Barbie doll from a lifetime of crippledness. (Is that even a word?:):)) All you can do is kneel down next to her and try to fix what was done, all the while knowing that you are just so blessed to have a little girl who cares about a toy's comfort and good health above her own at that very moment.
To summarize my whole take on the "naked doll" issue, I say this: If you see your daughter playing with a naked doll, don't freak out. Make it a teaching moment if you can. Make playful comments like "Oh my! Barbie is showing her bum! Are you teaching her how to use the potty? Are all her clothes in the washer? She's silly, huh?" Then say things like, "Let's put some clothes on her so she's not cold" or "We don't want Ken to see her naked! They're not married!" Then, if your daughter doesn't care one way or the other, don't make it a big deal. Because it's not. On the other hand, if you find your son playing with barbies and taking off their clothes, I'd look more closely into that -- not to the point where you give the kid a complex, but in a teachable sort of way.
I know that in this day and age, Chastity and Virtue are being attacked on every end. And it's horrible and sad, and just really sometimes beyond obnoxious. But as long as we are there and available for our kids to talk with us about any and everything they want to ask and say, and more importantly, we are willing and ready for any and everything they want to know....it's gonna be okay.
Remember, we are their role models....not Barbie. She is a doll. She is a toy. And should not be expected to rise to the bar of morality that has been set there for us human beings alone.
Katy is a musically inclined mother of three who loves life, her husband Dave, and cheesecake. Ahhhh....blessed cheesecake. Her fun filled roller coaster of thoughts can be found at www.ourdaisylife.blogspot.com Admission is always free.