A friend bought Moon Munkie a Barbie-esque dolly back from her holidays. I feel ambiguous about these toys. On the one hand pretty dollies are a mainstay of childhood. They encourage imaginative play; life skills like hair brushing, face washing and getting dressed; they assist with development of fine motor skills as tiny fingers learn to dress and undress, do up and undo; and generally they make little ones happy. One the other hand, they seem to promote a type of beauty that is unachievable for most women; reinforce an unhealthy focus on appearance, hair, clothes and weight; and I feel that they encourage a materialistic and consumer-orientated approach to life too.
So here’s my dilemma. As a kid I wanted a Sindy so badly. I asked for one for months. My Mum eventually capitulated. I was so excited as I opened my Christmas present, knowing there would be a dolly in it for me.
And there was. A freckled Sindy with long chestnut hair. And a trench coat… A long, toad-green, trench coat.
Here’s a cracking photo of me, having just opened it, before I got my “polite face” on, holding the dolly with an expression that clearly says, “What the Dickens is that? ” Of course, in my 4 year old naivety, I hadn’t specified that I wanted a dolly with a pretty dress, it just seemed obvious.[Edit: Having re read this, I’m concerned that I sound like I’m whingeing. Really, I’m not. With hindsight my Mum probably had similar ambivalence towards the pointy-plastic-breasted ones as I have now. My life was not ruined. I am not emotionally scarred! I learned to sew in order to make new clothes for her. It’s just a funny story.]
That’s part one of the dilemma. I wanted one, so badly that I don’t want to say no out of hand. Part two is that Moon Munkie fell instantly in love with what I’ve come to call Strumpet Barbie. Of course she did. She’s a dolly with blonde hair to her knees and a “pretty” [read: slutty] gold and red dress. With gold metallic decoration. What’s not to love when you’re 2 and a half?
Anyway, I’ve decided not to make too much of a fuss for now. Trollop Barbie can stay, although I’ve made her a new princess dress which is altogether more demure and pleasing. I got a lovely and very easy tutorial from Miss B Couture. Given that I think she’s writing in her second language, this tutorial was easy to follow and easy to adjust to a slightly different doll. Also, I wanted it to be a long dress right to the floor.
It was a quick make, just a couple of hours. The top fabric was sheer and hard to work with. I was toying with making Moon Munkie the same costume. But I don’t know if I physically could. I’m not good with slippy fabrics.
And that should be the end of the story. But after I’d taken the photos for this post, I presented Princess Barbie to Moon Munkie, full of motherly pride and creative joy at having made something so lovely for her. She gave me a look reminiscent of trench coats and said, “I want red one.”
Streetwalker Barbie is back.