Monday, September 12, 2011
Hurry Back to Me (My Wild Calling).
Not that this is really news to anyone, but raising kids these days is hard. And by hard, I really mean OHMYDEARGODPLEASEHELPMENOTKILLMYSELFOROTHERSTODAYTHANKYOUVERYMUCH. It really is an age of unprecedented stimulation, and it's everything I can do to keep them occupied in healthy and productive ways.
Their birthday was recently, and as a gift, they received...well, iPod Touches. Before you judge, in my defense, they were chosen as gifts in lieu of a birthday party, and actually turned out to be cheaper than a fete at Chuck E. Cheeze or some other bastion of horror. I also made sure to load up exciting apps like Math is Awesome and King Lear For Grade Schoolers. No matter. My daughters asked if I had that song "about the boyfriend that looks like a girlfriend? By The Killers?" (This, I blame on their uncle, one of my dear brothers. Again, shirking responsibility, here.) Sigh.
The girls also received Target gift cards from one of their aunties, and off we trudged to redeem them. The little munchkins had assured me that they wanted to buy useful things, like clothes and shoes, but upon entering the retail paradise, changed their minds entirely. Although I had warned them there was a time limit, they spent ages looking at almost every single item in the toy section as I tried to keep track of where they were.
As they were shopping, I came across the above-pictured doll. The Perfect Boyfriend! Incredible! Just what I've always wanted! I doubt I have seen anything quite as disturbing in recent memory. Ken's shirt is emblazoned with the phrase "The Ultimate Boyfriend" in a plethora of different languages, in case you didn't get the hint. What makes him so great, besides the preternaturally blondish hair and sculpted abs? Ken already is missing his manly bits, and The Perfect Boyfriend has taken this castration to new heights. "YOU MAKE ME TALK!" So, utter any phrase into his diminutive little noggin, and he will repeat it to you in his own voice. Sweet Talker. Imagine the possibilities, if you could make your partner parrot things back to you! No disagreements, only perfection. And unrelenting boredom.
I think this doll is absolutely wretched for lots of reasons. Firstly, girls that play with dolls should not be thinking about boyfriends, perfect or not, at that age. Secondly, it gives a terrible touchstone for what a healthy relationship should be, showing that it matters not if your beloved has the brains of a boiled cabbage, as long as he does whatever you say. Also, that it's OK to have a guy's cojones, as we say in these here parts, crushed into oblivion, making him meek and submissive and unable to voice his opinion without further damage to his already fragile psyche. It's demeaning to boys, demeaning to girls, demeaning to society as a whole. I know, I know. It's just a doll, right?
I'm not the mom that banned Barbies because I thought they portrayed an unrealistic view of a woman's body (although I did nix cheerleading because I wanted them to PLAY a sport, not cheer for one, and I hate the skimpy costumes. Yes, cheerleaders were awful to me in school. Why do you ask?) There is just something about THIS particular doll that rubbed me the wrong way - if you could even be rubbed by a eunuch.
(Dislaimer: The above discussion does not mean that I am above berating my husband for his poor dishwasher-loading skills or his inability to listen to more than half of every sentence I utter. But that's another post entirely.)
Thankfully, the girls avoided the Barbie section altogether, and settled on Legos and a Harry Potter DS game and remote control cars. Now I have to contemplate the subtext of THAT....