Warning, this is probably scarier than anything you saw on Halloween:
Up to now, we've mostly managed to dodge the whole princess thing, at least to this point. But K and L now have some hand-me-down Barbies and I'm worried. At least one of the dolls is Cinderella. Or so I'm told. I don't know Cinderella from Snow White, but K seems to, and she assures me that this one is Cinderella.
The girls seem to like the Barbies, playing with them fairly often. They're not head-over-heels about them though, and that gives me a small glimmer of hope.
Disclaimer: I had GI Joes when I was a kid. Probably while in the 10-12 year old range. And these were the most awesome, original GI Joes. I had an astronaut Joe, and at least one of the older, soldier ones, the ones that were driven off market by the Viet Nam war. I wanted a frogman Joe, and a Jeep, but don't believe I got either. In any case, I thought they were cool. So I admit it, when I was a kid I did the "action figure" thing myself.
And my sisters had Barbies at the same time. Including Skipper (kind of a younger sister Barbie) and the Malibu Barbie (the one with a tan), not to mention the newly created bendable-legs Barbie (or whatever she was called). And beyond the fact that these Barbies were no where near as cool as GI Joe (he had a space capsule! and a rubber life raft!!) I don't remember much caring one way or another about them.
Now, though, as a dad, these dolls freak me out. They're very strange creations. They're adult women, for one thing, and not the kind of thing I'd look for as a plaything for my under 5yo daughters. For another thing, they're all about the belongings, the dresses, the accessories, the shoes and belts and....
But even worse are their bodies. I look at these things and, in addition to being creeped out, I wonder what message my daughters are getting, beyond the fact that they need to have large, pert, nipple-less breasts and long, narrow legs. Honestly, these things are like a cross between a weird porn toy and a regular kid's plaything. And I feel a bit awkward and embarrassed every time I'm asked to pull a dress on or off one of them. They don't seem to mind, don't even seem to notice, but I'm aware of this fake woman thing I'm holding in my hand. I have no problem with changing a diaper on a baby dolly, but to put a tennis outfit onto Barbie... ugh!
One odd update I've noticed - the Barbies these days seem to be wearing built-in underwear. I don't remember this from my childhood (not that I was checking either), but all of these have some kind of subtly embossed underpants on, a nod to someone's modesty. And I"m grateful for small favors like this.
I'm hoping this phase passes and that we move onto something else, like boy teen singers....