This is my niece Allison Rose, born at 7 pounds on February 3, 2013 and she is perfect.
But what will she be like when she’s getting ready to graduate college? What will she be like when she’s a twenty-something? By then, she’ll probably have been told she’s not good enough, more than once. She’ll have been told what she should look like, what she should want out of life, and who she should be. She’ll be told what a girl is supposed to be like, the kinds of dreams a girl should have, and they ways girls should behave.
It was then I realized I never had any of these worries when my nephew was born.
Probably because I know how hard life can be for a girl.
This thought took me back to when I was deciding on some gifts to get Allison before she was born. I knew I wanted to buy her first Barbie. I loved Barbies when I was younger and I wanted to get her something special. So, I set out for Target to get her the first of many dolls she’ll surely have as a little girl.
I started browsing through the doll isle finding pop-star Barbie, pastry chef Barbie, and mommy Barbie. How disgusting. Is that really what I dreamed up as a little girl? To be a baker, a pop-star, and a MOM? It couldn’t be. I started to panic. I didn’t want my niece to grow up thinking she can only amount to the stereotypes laid out for little girls. I was losing hope of finding her a doll that I approved of. And I was slowly losing faith in humanity.
Then I found this:
Among all the glitter, tiny skirts, and long plastic legs, I saw it. Way in the back, there it was … U.S. president Barbie. The blonde, plastic miracle came donned a pink business jacket with a knee-length pencil skirt trimmed in red, white, and blue ruffles. She was standing behind a podium in nothing other than pink plastic Barbie heels. She was perfect. This doll was the epitome of how I want my niece to think about being a woman.
Some would scoff at me for even buying my niece a Barbie doll because it “enforces gender stereotypes.” Others would tell me that I’m being ridiculous for being turned off by a mommy doll, because motherhood is one of the most amazing things of being a woman.
Well, here’s the thing:
So many women today sell themselves short because they’re afraid to be intelligent. Women think that just because they are beautiful, it gives them an excuse to be uninformed and uneducated because they can just be a pop star, or a stay at home mom, right?
Not my niece.
I hope this Barbie shows her that she can have the best of both worlds. If she wears pink, paints her nails, wears make-up and dresses, she can still be powerful. She doesn’t have to choose between beauty and brains. I want this doll to be a reminder to her that she can amount to anything she wants, regardless of her exterior.
This Barbie gives me hope that there are beautiful women out there changing the world. I hope someday there will be a woman president. And when there is, I hope she’s wearing pink.