👶 motherhood

why I refuse to let barbie raise my daughter

Image credit: Original image

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.

Photo credit: Original photo

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–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 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 myself with a young impressionable daughter of my own, I am determined that she have a doll who looks more like her. 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).

h4hg

Photo credit: Original photo

nahji

Nahji | Photo credit: Original photo

I immediately purchased this doll for Pumpkin’s second 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 article has also appeared in Women’s Web. To read it, click here.

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6 thoughts on “why I refuse to let barbie raise my daughter

  1. Pingback: Style Sheet: Gratitude (With Attitude!) | The Haute Mommy Handbook

  2. Absolutely wonderful job!
    I plan on doing the same. Barbie sets up unrealistic expectations not just for girls with darker skin but all girls! To this day, I still look down at myself for having dark skin because of Barbie and other “blonde and blue eyes are better” representations in the media. I can only hope that I can make my future daughter confident in her own skin.

    • Thanks for your comment!
      Looking back, I realize now that I wouldn’t have felt so much like an “outsider” had I played with dolls who looked like me. But there was nothing available in stores. Oh well, those were the times, I guess.
      Nowadays it’s different, so there’s no excuse not to surround my daughters with reflections of themselves. 😀

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