Don Richard Cox's Barbie And Her Playmates

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Don Richard Cox's "Barbie and Her Playmates" caught my attention immediately. Growing up in the nineties, Barbie was one of my many obsessions. Aside from Barney, Teletubbies and my Crayolas, playtime was dominated by Barbie dolls, a Barbie makeup head and a Barbie miniature kitchen. A trip to Wal-Mart implied another addition to the Barbie collection. However, in retrospect, Barbie hardly impacted my perception of beauty and my adolescence. In our technological world, compared to the information children are fed by the media, Barbie barely leaves a smudge on a child's development. In contrast, Cox states that "Barbie's influence upon the minds of the children who share their play hours with her and her expensive wardrobe and recreation equipment is potentially a very strong one." (8) He focuses on the negative effects of Barbie on children, particularly young girls. The essay is calm in tone, and provokes thought rather than conflict. He poses questions such as "Will they, like Barbie, resist the…show more content…
The effects are possible. "The play role initiated in a child's relationship with Barbie differs considerably from the play role required by a conventional baby doll." (Cox, 10) A baby doll transforms the child into a mother, while the Barbie doll transforms him into an adolescent. Yet Cox does not mention another role that Barbie plays: a carcass for the imagination. Though fashion dolls and baby dolls inspire different scenarios, ultimately, dolls are dolls. Barbie is a doll. It (not "she") is lifeless. Without a conductor, it remains static. I cannot speak for all children, but I used Barbie as a tool to narrate my stories. The stories originated from myself. Barbie did not give them to me. One day, Barbie was a veterinarian who healed my stuffed animals. Another day, she was a princess invited for tea. Never once did I look at Barbie's naked form and think, "I need to look like her." The word "perfect" was never associated with

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