Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Girls and their toys

This is the story:

Barbie, beware. The iconic plastic doll is often mutilated at the hands of young girls, according to research published Monday by British academics. 'The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity,' said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. 'The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving.' Researchers from the university's marketing and psychology departments questioned 100 children about their attitudes to a range of products as part of a study on branding. They found Barbie provoked the strongest reaction, with youngsters reporting 'rejection, hatred and violence,' Nairn said.
Let's give this a little context. Half my Barbies were bald. I was absolutely certain that, given enough practice, I could give my Barbies those beautiful, sleek late 1960s/early 1970s Vidal Sassoon types of cuts. Without fail, n the first pass, the left side always came out shorter than the right side. So I'd even it out. On this second half, the right side came out shorter than the left side. More evening out required. End result after a lot of "evening out": bald dolls, and a massively frustrated little girl who, if asked, would readily have described her Barbie as "stupid." Had microwaves existed in those days, I probably would cheerfully have immolated Barbie, as part of yet another "experiment." This was not latent misogny, with a child acting out feelings of hate against her mother, or self-loathing engendered by societal female images. This was a very frustrated little girl who over-estimated her own capabilities. It also taught me a life lesson, since I leave my daughter's haircuts to the professionals.