Just when I think the human race is doomed, because I have watched the idiocy on the news about voter registration or some such, I make the toy aisle at the local box store. This foray into the wonderland of toys is always redemption for the entire human race.
Today’s excursion was down the doll aisle. On one aisle resided the homogenous Barbies with their blond perfection and pink accessories. They are fun and have been around long enough for all of us to have worked out our anxieties with our therapists. Horror is being afraid as a little girl that you will never look like a Barbie. It doesn’t matter what color her hair is. Hair is not enough of a distinction to make a true identity difference. The figures on the dolls are all uniform. Their facial features have been stamped out to perfection, no noses with interesting bumps or other characteristics. Bodies are all uniform, small, thin, petite and impossible for a woman to achieve and live with.
Residing across the aisle from the Barbies are the Disney princesses. These are wonderful dolls with full color cartoons to go with them to enhance the many hours of play. These dolls are still pretty uniform. The Disney princess pretty much conforms to expectations. They are so uniform in fact that I had a drawing made of a warrior princess for my granddaughter. In this drawing the princess is wearing armor over her dress that has snow white sleeves and drawing her sword. It is not that I am militant about where girls should be, or their place in the military. It is just that these dolls represent such a traditional place in the world. I want my granddaughters to find their own place and not a place assigned to them by the princess industrial complex. We really want to raise girls who will seek all of the education they can achieve and make up their own minds about things.
Imagine my delight when I walked down the next aisle and saw the Monster High dolls. Now because they are combined mythic monsters, they represent true diversity. They come in many flavors. That is what struck me when I stood in the aisle and looked at them. How different they all are. Part vampire and squid, what an imaginative combination. All right, let’s cheer for the tormented mind at work that developed them. These combinations represent for little girls new possibilities no matter how gruesome the adults find them. These dolls can do things that Barbies or princesses can not and would not do.
There is hope for the human race after all. What starts in the toy aisle of the local box store will affect a generation’s attitudes. Monster dolls will do more for little girls, than auto mechanic Barbies, or physicist Barbie because the girls playing with these dolls will see new possibilities for beauty for themselves and others. We are all different. What fun they will have with these dolls imagining different and new things.