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Barbie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Ah,Barbie. I have countless memories of her. Why, when I was a young chap,I always had to have the newest Barbie that ... wait a second. What am Italking about? I never played with Barbies.

If most males saidwhat I just did about Barbie they would probably be lying too. Theycould, however, truthfully say they played with action figures. I hadmany Ninja Turtle figures, I still have oodles of Ghostbuster toys and,although I never had any GI Joes, I played with them at friends' houses.This says something about how society treats the sexes. Males"need" action and excitement, while females are "happy" withmore ordinary, everyday things. Many girls go shopping or to the movies,but how many guys do you see skateboarding through sewers or fightingoff alien invaders?

My childhood experience with toys might beslightly different from other guys; I wasn't allowed to have any toysinvolving guns. I played with them at friends' houses, and oftenpretended a stick was a gun, but overall I didn't play with violent toys(yes, the Ninja Turtles did karate, but they never shot or killedanyone). This never really bothered me, although at times I wished Icould get a cool Army man. But, I'm glad I wasn't allowed to play withviolent toys. It shaped me into a strong believer in peace andnon-violence.

I think the world would be a better place if weall played with Barbies. Girls, boys, men, women, cats, dogs ... well,at least girls and boys. This statement may be asking to be attacked,but think about it. It is much better for a child to pretend Barbie isdriving to her dream house to pick up her little sister for a movie withKen (more on Ken later) near the mall where they will later go shopping,than pretend Leonardo the Ninja just kicked a foot soldier in the head,or that GI Joe shot and killed Mysterio.

Barbie may have animpossible body shape, and I agree it is unhealthy for little girls tobelieve it is ideal, but I think it is worse for little boys (and girls,in some cases) to pretend to kick, punch, shoot, kill and destroy peopleor things. Some may argue boys would find such toys boring, but only ifthey are conditioned to. If you raised a boy without exposing him to anytelevision, movies or books depicting how boys "should" play, Ithink he would have just as much fun with a Barbie as any other toy.They aren't boring, they just aren't the toys little boys are expectedto play with. If everyone were raised with pacifist toys like Barbie,people would be less violent and more creative.

Most little boyswouldn't be interested in playing with a girl doll, but that's not aproblem - how about Ken, or a Ken-type figure, who could play guitar andbaseball? That's still stereotyping, but it's better than the way it isnow. It really shouldn't be Ken, though, it should be a new character.Ken just isn't, ahem, all there, and all he does is drive Barbie aroundand shave.

With playtime changes, Barbie could single-handedlyrid the world of violence, stop world hunger, get rid of racism andsexism, and make low-fat food taste better. At the very least, she couldmake little boys more creative and less violent.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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