In spite of the fact that I have tried each time to put her to bed before they’ve started, my 7-year-old daughter has watched all three Presidential debates with me this election season. Her running commentary is always hilarious, and she honestly pays close attention to what each candidate is saying. Some of her gems from last night include, “It’s totally weird that the President only gets 4 years to do everything he needs to do. It takes 4 years to do like 2 things,” and on Romney, “Why does he keep saying friends? He doesn’t have any friends! That’s why only 43% of people voted for him.” She’s a poll watcher! Who knew?!
My daughter has been acting out all things election-related for the past few weeks with the Presidential Candidate doll given to her by the nice people at Barbie. I never expected to raise a girl who loves Barbie, but I’ve definitely got one on my hands, and through my daughter’s love of the various dolls, I’ve grown to chill out about the blue-eyed, blonde, big-breasted beauty ideal the original Barbie represents. Each Barbie doll I’ve purchased or that my daughter was given by my niece, who was also a huge Barbie collector when she was little, has a different skin tone and hair color, and they all have different professional interests. Yes, some of them want to be fashionistas and others think they can make it in this recession as a mermaid (I mean, hello? How can you hustle without legs, girl?!), but others are ballet dancers or teachers, whether by virtue of the description on their box or the role my daughter has assigned them.
Because Barbie is so associated with the world of fashion these days, when my daughter opened her Barbie I Can Be … President doll, she said, “If Barbie were elected President, she would probably focus more on her clothes than anything else.” An interesting observation, especially considering that the doll is dressed in a flashy pink number — designed by Chris Benz – rather than a more traditional blue or red suit. However, as my daughter began to role play with her doll, she took Barbie’s executive potential seriously and started giving orders to her imaginary cabinet. (First bit of legislation signed by the Barbie Administration: Big Bird stays!) It’s worth noting that the 2012 I Can Be … President Barbie was produced in partnership with The White House Project, ”a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization working to advance women in business, politics, and media.” If you’d like a fun, child-friendly way to get your child interested in politics or to help him or her understand what all this election hubbub is about, President Barbie could be a great play-learning tool. She stands on her own two feet (literally — as the packaging points out) and comes with a cardboard podium that my daughter kept so Barbie could make stump speeches, of course!
If you want more reasons not to toss Barbie aside in favor of wooden toys designed in Germany, here’s a look at some of the other ambitious career choices Barbie has made throughout the years:
Photo credits: Mattel