Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Barbies and Trucks

Dr. Isis over at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess wrote a very memorable post yesterday about Barbie, Dora the Explorer, and how toys that are "womanly" are considered sexual. There are a ton of a great comments and I highly suggest reading through it all.

The post and comments made me think about my own childhood (and I should add here, that this post is not in response to either of those - it's just related). I grew up playing with Barbies, Jem dolls, Cabbage Patch kids...I even had my own kitchen set. I have fond memories of each and every one of those toys. So, it bothers me when people say that these toys shouldn't be given to girls in order to stop the stereotype of what a "woman's" role is.

Just because a girl plays with dolls, or other "girlie" toys, does not mean she's going to turn into a brainless bimbo that just wants to marry the first guy that comes along that buys her shoes, handbags and a diamond ring. I played with those toys; I had romantic fantasies of being swept off my feet and marrying my "prince charming" - so what? I'm almost 30, I'm almost a Phd, and I consider myself quite independent, intelligent, strong, and attractive. I think I turned out fine, even with these toys from hell.

I totally understand that not every girl liked playing with those toys. Just like I understand how not every woman likes dressing in skirts or heels. I figure, as long one styles them self the way they want, then it's fine by me - but 1) don't look down on others who decide to dress differently and 2) if you're dressing in a way that you think others want you too, then that's a problem. I've discussed this before in an earlier post.

Yes, I may be "girly", and (gasp!!) I have a husband - and I even took his name!!! - but that doesn't make me any less of a scientist or a feminist. To me, a feminist is someone who makes her own decisions based on what she wants - and that could be staying at home to raise the children, or being a CEO of her own company, or both! As long as they are not being forced to do something they otherwise would not.

I'm tired of the stereotypical picture of a feminist that hates men, doesn't wear make-up or nice clothes, and is basically a bitch - and it especially bothers me when other women perpetuate this stereotype by forcing their ideals and beliefs on others. I'll say it now, and I'll say it again: sometimes women are their own worst enemies.

In general, I really think our society takes everything way too seriously these days - from girlie vs. boyish toys, to avoiding confrontations for fear of offending someone; from killing 99.99999% of bacteria on our kitchen counter, to talking about our feelings until our heads pop off - it's all completely out of control. I think we all just need to relax and realize that we, as humans, are supposed to go through trials and tribulations; we're supposed to experience different things, get sick, get hurt - it's what makes us who we are!