Playing Barbies?
by dare winner Jen Schneider

January 26, 2011

“Nancy,” Elena whined in the high-pitched voice that either made me want to vomit or give in immediately to avoid anymore of her incessant humming. “Will you play Barbies with me? Please?”

If there was one thing I despised more than anything in the world, it was playing with plastic disproportionate dolls that depicted women as sex objects instead of the empowered, unique individuals reaching the glass ceiling one shaky ladder rung at a time.

How would I, Nancy Linn Raymond, look my future constituents in the eye when I become the first woman President of the United States knowing that I spent my formative teenage years playing Barbies with my little sister?

I know the toy-makers have tried to make Barbie more politically correct in the last several years. When I was Elena’s age, there wasn’t a Physician Barbie. Still, the last time I saw my pediatrician, she wasn’t wearing a tight white mini-skirt and heels like “Dr. Barbie”. (They could at least call her Dr. Barb, don’t you think?) She wore a long starch white lab coat and tennis shoes. My doctor looked comfortable yet confident, not ready to walk on the runway.

Since she uttered her first words, I had tried to lead my little sister to a more PC activity such as still life photography, technical writing, or entrepreneurial ventures like a lemonade stand, but Elena persisted in playing her six-year-old childish games, worshiping her plastic idols with pointed feet that could never wear shoes made for the average woman.

Elena was all girl, and today her only goal was to play dolls with her big sis. “Bikini Barbie” with her tanned legs and bleach blond hair and “Beauty Queen Barbie” complete with a Miss Mattel sash and hot pink high heels sat in front of my little sister as she stared at me with her begging brown eyes. The other Barbies were strewn across the floor along with a myriad of dresses and shoes. “Please, please, please, please, Nancy?”

The whining had reached the point of vexation. I gave in. As I handed “Ballroom Barbie” to Elena, she immediately took a pair of scissors to the bombshell’s long, yellow hair, giving her a perfect Peter Pan-esque pixie cut. When she took the ivory dress off Barbie and put it on Ken, I thought that there might just be hope for her yet.

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