Why I Refuse to Buy Barbies for My Daughters

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Photo: Jen Kathrina-Anne

While I was growing up, I absolutely loved Barbie. I would beg my mother for a new Barbie every time we ventured into the toy department. As soon as we neared those Pepto Bismol-pink displays, I would get butterflies and daydream of Barbie’s and my next adventure together.

On one such trip, my mother finally acquiesced and bought me Peaches ‘n’ Cream Barbie. She kept her in the closet and said she would be my birthday gift.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, Peaches ‘n’ Cream sat in her pink box staring down at me with her eternally painted smile through her see-through plastic window. I looked forward to our reunion with eagerness.

When the happy day arrived, I carefully removed Peaches ‘n’ Cream from her packaging, and slowly examined her with the precision of a doctor. She was perfect—she had waist length blonde tresses and big blue eyes. Peaches ‘n’ Cream Barbie was beautiful—and I looked nothing like her.

It’s bad enough that Barbie is a poor anatomical role model for young girls, all unbalanced rack and legs for days. But when I had asked my mother what was meant by “peaches ‘n’ cream,” she shook her head.

“I don’t know,” she had replied.

It was years later that I learned the meaning: a creamy white complexion with a blush of peach. Something I would never have. I was thankful that my 6-year-old self and my 30-something-year-old mother never knew this at the time.

Now that I’m a 30-something with young impressionable daughters of my own, I am determined that they have a doll who looks more like them. 

Enter Nahji, from Assam, India. Nahji is part of a collection called Hearts 4 Hearts Girls whose proceeds partially go to helping young girls in the countries they represent, including Dell (USA), Consuelo (Mexico), Rahel (Ethiopia), Tipi (Laos), and Lilian (Belarus).  

I immediately purchased this doll for Pumpkin’s 2nd birthday. Never mind that the box loudly stated For Ages 6+ or that my daughter was more interested in the box Nahji came in rather than in Nahji herself. She has dark beautiful hair and large lovely brown eyes. She is perfect—and she looks everything like us.

This post originally appeared on The Haute Mommy Handbook.

Jen Kathrina-Anne is a blogger, freelance writer, and graphic designer. When she’s not writing or designing, she enjoys spending time outdoors in the California Bay Area where she resides with her husband and two fearless daughters. Find her at www.hautemommyhandbook.com.

 

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