A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Sometimes a cigar...
...is just a cigar. Sigmund Freud When the University of Bath's School of Management recently did a study on the role of brands in the lives of 7-11 year olds, they were shocked--shocked!--to find out that "seven to eleven year old girls subject their Barbie dolls to torture and mutilation." "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving." Okay, cool so far. But then they go into a miasma of motivation, claiming the girls are doing this to "reject excess", and that the girls feel "violence and hatred towards the Barbies" because (amongst other things) she is a feminine icon and a symbol of excess. (At least this is how it's portrayed in the press release on the study.) Hunh. This is new? OmegaMom is 46 years old (ack! In 3 years and some change, AARP will be knocking on my mailbox, asking me to become a member!). I distinctly remember dismembering Barbies and similar fashion figurines in my girlhood. I am not alone--there was, lo these many years ago, a quite heated discussion on APC about mutilating toys. This discussion seemed to produce a distinct division amongst the list: there were those who did so as children and regarded it as perfectly normal, and those who did not and regarded those who did as some kind of perverse sickos. (OmegaMom, though she may be somewhat twisted, does not consider herself a sicko.) In addition to beheading Francie (I don't think I ever had a real Barbie) and twisting off her leg (done in an attempt to make her pose like the picture on the Francie case, where Francie's leg was oh-so-elegantly extended and turned out to the side, which the physical Francie had no ability to do), I also shaved baby doll's heads, colored dolls with paint and fingernail polish, pulled toys apart. Now. There were toys I would never, ever have done that to. Rupert, for instance. My beloved stuffed dog with the long bassett-hound ears, who had been so well-loved by me as an infant and toddler that he was a dismal beigish color with spots where his fur had worn off because I hugged him so much...now, Rupert I would never have done a thing to. But at the same time, none of these "mutilations" were done in a violent haze of hatred. It was more of a "what happens when I do this?" attitude. The reason I didn't do anything with Rupert was because I loved him not because I hated the other toys. In the press release, the principal researcher is quoted as saying about the Barbies, "The most readily expressed reason for rejecting Barbie was that she was babyish, and girls saw her as representing their younger childhood out of which they felt they had now grown." Now that is an eminently understandable reason: "When I was a child I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child. But when I became a man I put away childish things." I Cor. xiii. 11 Why'd they have to frantically search for other, more perturbing motives? Sometimes a cigar is just...a cigar.
posted by Kate @ 12/22/2005 12:41:00 AM  
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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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