So I gave in and bought my daughter her first Barbie doll, and this is the post to explain why.
Last week we were invited by Mattel to celebrate 55 years of imaginative play with Barbie®, the world’s most popular fashion doll.
When I got the invite, I did the to-go-or-not-to-go in my head for a long time. Going would mean that Becks, at three-half, would enter into the dream world of fashion and style; afterall, Barbie’s the original fashion icon that’s played muse to designers all over the world and inspired fashionistas worldwide.
In other words, tis’ the start down the road of vanity.
But not going would mean that the Barbie fan in this Mama would miss out on the celebration. I go a long way back with Miss Barbara since the age of 5, having spent much of my childhood pretend playing with her, her on-off boyfriend and her friends at the beach, by the poolside and at her pretty home. Back then my aunt would buy me dolls whenever she returned from the States, and my godfather would buy me houses, accessories and various scenario sets. Those were fun times I’ve had with myself, my sister, and our imaginary friends.
In other words, I was the one itching to go lah.
And so we went. On a mother-daughter date on a Saturday morning to United Square, to join other girls and their moms in the “With Barbie®, Anything is Possible” Roadshow.
We participated in 3 out of the 4 activities lined up for us at the celebration. First, Becks went to the Barbie Style Icon Photobooth and played dress up:
Then, we designed our very own Barbie dress with fabric markers, glitter stickers and stencils. This was our favourite activity!
We also tried the Style Icon Dream Closet Augmented Reality Experience where Becks got to play “digital dress up”. She wanted to be a princess – oh who wouldn’t – but somehow became a vet instead.
The activity which we skipped was the catwalk and runway experience. I’m keeping that away from her for as long as I can. No, make that forever.
I did wish that the celebration (which was of course, in an overdose of pink) would engage girls in more pretend play than dressing up. Like having a few scenario sets out (bring out the vet clinic, the Malibu Dreamhouse, the fashion wardrobe with all the clothes and shoes to change, and the Glam Pool Set, I say!) in a little play corner for the girls, like how there would always be a corner with plenty of blocks and bricks at any Lego Roadshow. Already the poor doll’s been parodied and criticised enough for her unrealistic idea of a body image and her lifestyle choices – so shouldn’t we play down on the dressing up and vanity bit and emphasise more on a doll’s role in inspiring creativity through pretend play through scenarios and adventures?
Which brings me to the reason why I bought my daughter her first ever Barbie doll. We chose a mermaid together, and I wanted her to enter the world of imaginative play with it since she’s already into the princess-happily-ever-after phase anyway. I’m happy to be paying $27.90 for something which can be part of her mythical pretend play of all the whatever that’s Under the Sea – mermaids, mermen and what-nots.
I also told her that she’s got to hold on to this doll for a long, long time and that some day, she should show her little girl how her love for dolls began, beginning with this Barbie mermaid from her Mama.
Join Barbie® as she celebrates 55 years of imaginative play at United Square with Toys ‘R’ Us from 6 – 23 March 2014 from 11am to 9pm daily! To participate, obtain 1 stamp from every SGD$30 spent at Toys ‘R’ Us for an opportunity to take part in 1 of 4 activities.
Disclosure: We were invited to the celebration and received a gift bag with a Barbie doll in it. No monetary compensation was received and opinions here are all mine.