Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Girls, Dolls, and Innocence

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**Warning: The following rant contains adult content.

I went to the WalMart Supercenter recently with my just-turned 7 yr. old so she could spend the birthday money she was given by her grandparents. Of course, she headed straight for the baby doll aisle. While she was trying to decide if she could afford to buy extra diapers if she picked a certain baby, I was noticing that the baby doll aisle ain't what she yoosta be. Has anyone else noticed that the amount of space dedicated to baby dolls is shrinking, while the space given to Barbie and her kind is expanding?

The baby dolls were relegated to the far end of the aisle, with a scant few accessories to choose from. There was only one stroller and a couple of packages of diapers. There was an empty space where I had seen high chairs and play pens before.

The Barbies and Bratz took up 75% of the entire aisle, so I couldn't help noticing what was being displayed. I saw "Cheerleader Barbie" with her teeny tiny skirt and bare midriff, but what just about made my eyes bulge out was another doll (didn't catch the brand) named "Juicy Bling." Is it just me, or does that sound like it could be the title of an adult film?

"Juicy Bling" had a tinier and lower slung skirt than Barbie's and her top consisted of 2 strategically placed triangles tied around her neck and back. On her feet were strappy platform shoes. She had oversized sultry eyes and oversized glossy lips and lots of makeup. On the package was the exhortation, "Glam it up!" and the statement, "For ages 6 and up." Right. We'd all hate for our 5 year olds to be exposed to such an inappropriate toy, you know, for 5 year olds.

I was flabbergasted... dumbfounded... gobsmacked. Who on earth is buying these things? Are little girls actually playing with this kind of toy? At first I was mad that such trash was being displayed just inches from where my full of innocence, wiggly toothed, sunny faced daughter was looking at sweet baby dolls. Then, as I thought more about the girls who play with those things, I couldn't shake the feeling that innocence, which was once an indicator of childhood, is fading into antiquity.

Why are these things being marketed to innocent little girls? Surely, it is profitable and they are actually being sold, judging from the assortment of choices. Do the people who buy these for their daughters not wonder at what cost their pretend play comes? Shouldn't being a 6 year old girl consist of stuffed animals, baby dolls, and tea parties with some tree climbing thrown in for good measure? I was sad for the innocent little girls who don't get very long to actually be innocent, and I was resentful for having to be so diligent in protecting the innocence of my own girls.

Is it any wonder the governor of Texas just passed an executive order that requires 11 and 12 year old girls to be inoculated against s*xually transmitted diseases? Yes, the governor has mandated that 11 year olds must be protected from diseases that are contracted from having promiscuous s*x. Could there be a connection between little girls playing with highly s*xualized toys and girls being s*xually active at younger ages? The correlation seems obvious to me.

While I'm on the subject, whatever happened to teaching children about consequences for risky behavior? We teach our children not to run away from us in the parking lot because it is dangerous, even deadly. We tell them not to play in the street because they could be killed. I guess we could keep them all on those leashes we occasionally see children attached to, but we prefer to teach them to control themselves instead of relying on an outside force to protect them from their own risky behaviour.

When the time is right, and my husband and I will decide when that will be without having to submit to any state curriculum or standard, we will tell our children that having s*x outside of God's plan is risky, even deadly. We will explain, as we have when discussing other risky behaviors, like using alcohol or drugs, that self control, not outward control, will keep them safe.

It makes me sad. All of it, scantily dressed dolls, immunizations from avoidable diseases, the loss of innocence, makes me profoundly sad. It also makes realize more than ever the importance of bringing up our children "in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4)

I am very glad, though, that I can say, "For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth." Psalm 71:5


Anonymous said...

Oh, I so agree with you on everything you said. It is so sad what they are being fed as "normal".

I am so happy my 8 1/2 yr old dd still likes to play with dolls. You only get to be a little girl once, so why not enjoy it!!!

Honey said...

This made me so sad. I wanted to get my niece another Strawberry Shortcake doll last year, and even they changed to a more grown up looking doll with short short skirts.

Revee said...

Good post! Our local stores dedicated two aisles to Bratz and Barbie and less than half an aisle to baby dolls. My girls have baby dolls and each one has a special "dress-up" doll that wears pioneer style clothing (full dresses, aprons, etc.)

Several weeks ago I was told by a stranger that my girls (6 and 7) were too old to be carrying around baby dolls. I couldn't believe it! Since when was 7 too old? I played with dolls into my young teens and none of the dolls were packed away until my late teens.

I feel sorry for the young girls of today.

Now I feel the need to go buy a new baby doll for my girls just on principle!! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't have any little girls but I do know what you're talking about. One of my friends daughter has the Bratz dolls to which she was showing me her collection..I was quick to point out to my friend how trashy they look and how if you bend them over they show their hiney..YUCK! I know if I had a daughter she would not have those type of dolls.

buana said...

God Bless you for taking a stand that I take as well. It is a total disgrace what young people and small children are exposed to today. I have a co-worker who told me the other day that ALL teenagers have s*x and do drugs. I vehemently denied. Children brought up the way your children are brought up (and like I was) DO NOT make the choice to do these things! Thank you for this well written post! Jill

Steve, Dana and Maria said...

We have a rule that if "you wouldn't wear it then your dolls don't wear it either". But we are by far in the minority!

Myfriendconnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Myfriendconnie said...

All of our girls, including our oldest, occasionally take their dolls to church. I love to see them holding the song book up for their dolls or teaching them to bow their heads during a prayer. They are practicing being mommies.

Anonymous said...
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Nikki said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for saying what I've been thinking so much lately. My dear little girl is only three and loves her babies. She loves to be a little mommy. And my sons also enjoy playing with the dolls and imitating me.

Even just the name "Bratz" is awful. I recall never liking Barbies growing up and always, always loving baby dolls. I even remember my sisters and myself making doll clothes for our babies.

I really like what Steve, Dana, and Maria said about if "you wouldn't wear it then your dolls don't wear it either."

And on the subject of modest dressing, it personally bewilders me when people dress their young, young toddler or infant in clothing that they would tell their older children is inappropriate. What does it tell them? "We don't wear two-piece swimsuits or anything exposing our midriff. So why is it okay that our two year old sister can wear a bikini or bum-revealing skirt?" I dress my children the way I would want them to dress as young adults and adults. MODEST.

Because of the battles I have at stores trying to buy modest length skirts and dresses and even shorts for my little girl, I am finally learning to sew clothes and make adjustments.

I love your site. And you have done and are doing a wonderful job at raising responsible children of God. Kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! I cannot believe one of the other commenters was told her six year old was too old for baby dolls!? What on earth? Six year olds are still babies themselves.
I cannot express the depth of my loathing of Bratz dolls and the like.

Sara said...

Right on. You say it loud and proud here. We do, unfortunately, have some of those Bratz dolls and now that the novelty of owning them has worn off, my girls no longer play with them. They were "hot" for about 2 weeks and even the kids didn't like them so "nekkid".

Heather said...

I am so blessed to have found your blog! I am completely agreeing with your sentiments concerning the toy industry and the garbage they are marketing to our innocent children. My sweet 9 year old still loves her baby dolls and we encourage that! She has a few modestly dressed Barbies - in clothes my grandma sewed and knitted for my dolls! I am pretty upset with the offering of toys for boys too - we are really liking Playmobil more and more! We try to support a small local toy store that offers great family friendly toys - they are expensive but they will go out of business if not one shops there and all we will have left to choose from is the big box stores! The children know that they have to save up if they want to get anything big! We actually try to shop locally for as much as we can since these small business owners are struggling to compete.
We shop the premie racks at Goodwill for cute baby doll clothes sometimes! Thank you for your post!

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