Did you have a Barbie doll as a child? Like the many girls around the world who have grown up with one or more Barbie dolls, I have many fond memories of changing her clothes, tugging at her mattered hair and smearing lipstick on her face! Many years ago now, but it sticks in my mind, I recall my niece saying “Aunty, can I please have just one more Barbie”, when I took her to select her birthday present at Toys R Us. At that time she already had 12 different Barbie dolls!
Barbie has had many reincarnations from mermaid to doctor, but her greatest transformation yet is the new super hero Barbie. This Barbie is not your typical super hero who conquers evil with shear brute force, instead of “ka-pow” it’s “ka-bling”, where she uses her powers of forgiveness and friendship to help people.
The fact that super hero Barbie is about ‘forgiveness and friendship’ is quite different to usual super hero values of fighting to overcome evil – lock up or kill bad guys. Barbie is being pitched to be more like a “modern day superhero with a modern day message” of ‘friendship and forgiveness’. Rather than me versus you – it’s how can we resolve conflict and get along – isn’t this the role model we want for all of our children?
Parents can use super hero Barbie to help their kids develop these values and life skills. The skills to resolve conflict peacefully, be able to control their emotions – rather than be out of control, to believe that people are ‘inherently good’ and should be forgiven for mistakes not condemned are all life skills that will help your child succeed in life.
Could Barbie be the role model girls need to aspire to achieve more? Traditionally Barbie has represented glamour, fashion and fun, but with the addition of a mask, cape and super powers of forgiveness and friendship she is a modern super hero with a modern message. This could decrease the criticisms of for creating gender stereotypes - that girls play with dolls and have tea parties, while boys play with super heroes who conquer bad guys.
What’s my point? Whilst the new super hero Barbie will be exciting for young girls, it’s the underlying message she represents that’s important. Barbie transforming into a superhero is a good first step towards changing gender stereotypes and inspiring young girls to find their “superness” within.
On a final note, regardless of the ‘vehicle’ for the message – whether through a female super hero or at school or through good parenting … the key is that children –both boys and girls alike need to develop positive beliefs, good values and life skills that support them to succeed in life. This is a life skills approach to life and to parenting – my passion and mission.
For more information on how you can help your children develop the life skills they need to fly through life have a look at my home activity ebook series. With step-by-step short 15 minute activities you can help your children develop good self esteem, communication skills, resilience and emotional intelligence!