Tuesday, April 3, 2012
It's not you, Barbie, it's your terrible movie
What if I told you a story about a beautiful young woman who was plucked out of her boring waitress job and thrown into the fast-paced and exciting world of charm school for princesses? Yes, a special school where young royals, and the occasional everyday, run-of-the-mill, long-legged blonde waitress who wins the Princess Lottery, go to master all the princess-related challenges they might one day face. And what if I also told you that the girls at this princess school like to sneak, cheat, and physically hurt their competition in order to get ahead?
Yes, everyone, this might be my daughter's favourite movie of all time. Barbie's Princess Charm School comes home from the library about once a month. I will never buy it for her, just like I won't buy her the accompanying books that she also checks out of the library. I won't even read the books to her. I've explained to her that I don't like how the Barbie books and movies tell stories about the world. She's listened patiently as I tell her that Barbie's friends treat each other in terrible ways that would never be acceptable in our family. I beg and plead with her (mostly in my head) to walk on past the Barbie movies and choose the more agreeable Backyardigans, or even Beauty and the Beast (sigh). I tell her that I like to play with Barbies (who doesn't) but that I don't want to read the books or watch the movies. We can all make choices, I tell her, and this is my choice.
What I don't tell her is that I want to save her from every terrible influence, bad idea, and potentially terrible tattoos she might face in her future. I want to surround her in loving, joyful, and life-affirming things. I want to stand in the way of mean girls and boys, or anyone that tries to darken her world. I only want the good for her, not the backstabbing, soul-crushing future princesses in her Barbie movie. I only want rainbows. And unicorns! And chocolate cake! I want to protect my little girl who loves everyone in the world so much that her it makes her heart hurt. She tells me that sometimes. In Barbie's world there isn't any love like that.
She looks back at me, pigtails bobbing, eyes enormous, entire body bouncing, and takes me hand. It's ok, Mama, you don't have to watch them with me. And I think at the beginning of the movie they act in nice ways. Isn't Barbie beautiful? I love Barbie. Barbie is my favourite. Do you like Barbie?