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Buy a Doll, Save the World?
|Written by Stephanie Finnegan|
|Friday, 10 December 2010 16:02|
When it comes to Internet surfing, I’m like the Big Kahuna of the cyber waves. There isn’t a byte of information or a massive thread that I’m not willing to throw myself into (or onto, if we’re talking successful surfing). Recently, I came across a columnist from Chicago who was wondering if dolls were still wished for by anyone: Were there still little girls out there asking Santa for a “Betsy Wetsy” or a "Barbie" to call their own?
His conclusion was that, yes, there were a few, but they were the exception and not the rule.
It makes sense to me. Dolls are wish fulfillment, and being “pretty” is still on the top of most young girls’ aspirations (and pretty high up for us old girls, too, for that matter). Living in a world of rampant nips-and-tucks, and out-of-control plastic surgery, we all have the potential to be just one Botox injection away from permanent Barbie-hood. Is that a good or bad thing? I guess you have to ask Ken.
It’s funny, but years ago, dolls used to be given to little girls not only for play and amusement, but for life preparation. Since more often than not, tiny Tina and small Sally would grow up to be moms, the baby doll was like a crash course in miniature—a little life lesson. The eager miss who would play for hours—changing the diapers, giving the bottles, staging elaborate burps and baths—was unwittingly getting ready for what she’d be doing over the course of her life, or until menopause hit her!
Now, that’s a bleak Christmas sentiment. If you follow this thread, then it’s akin to training and grooming a child into a role that has been picked out for her since her cradle days. Not a very merry musing for us 21st-century free-thinkers.
I wonder if the decline in little girls clamoring for dolls (and that is a sad fact) can be traced to the emergence and acceptance of the feminist movement. Have records been kept to see if there is a correlation between the disenchantment for baby dolls and the rise of Title IX and girls being included in after-school sports? I would be curious to know.
From my own personal experience, I sense that the little girl with her nose pressed up against a display case, oohing and aahing over an adorable doll, is a rarity. Most of the kindergarten and early-grade girls I know might have one or two dolls (given to them, not requested) and tons more stuffed animals. On top of that, they have a more palpable fascination with soccer, kung fu fighting, iPods, computers,...