I’m a Dad of two little girls – 5 & 3. For the most part my kids don’t watch regular tv — it’s movies and Netflix. It sure makes it easier avoiding the marketing ploys of evil advertising. An exaggeration — but as we all know, there is plenty to avoid when it comes to influencing children — especially our own.
When my wife was pregnant with our first child, we agreed that we wouldn’t do the blue/pink thing. For us, it was yellows, greens and browns. I especially hated the idea of pink being the “girl color”. And I hated the idea of my children playing with Barbies. Just felt like it was the entrée into unhealthy body imaging that is blasted all over mass media today. I want to be the Dad that focuses on intelligence, and the golden rule instead of looks.
I guess now is the time to admit that my girls room is pink. And green. And my first daughter LOVES pink. Loves princesses. And loves barbies. But she also wants to be in construction when she grows up because she likes to get dirty. And an airline pilot. And a veterinarian. And a space cat.
I’ve adopted the “don’t look, don’t tell” philosophy when it comes to playing with barbies. And whenever by daughter talks about how pretty one is, I’ll remind her about intelligence, and how empathetic she can be. I figure I’ll lay the ground work now. Maybe she’ll understand in another 5 years. As long as she understands prior to her teen years.
The good news is Barbie seems to be changing. No, it’s not getting a more realistic body image (I wish), but check out the new New Barbie Ad from BBDO. It nails why my girl plays with Barbies. Bravo. And now instead of just pontificating —so I feel better — when my daughter plays with barbies I’m going to sit with her and play construction barbie. Pilot barbie. Veterinary barbie. And space cat barbie.
And I’ll leave bulimic barbie for after my daughter is asleep.