“Barbie Doll” page 439
To: My Granddaughter
I thought of you when I read this and I have had these thoughts so often in these almost four years since you came into my life. You know I always tell you the truth, unless I lie about a dead cat on the road being a raccoon so you won’t feel as bad. I’ve taught you gentleness and love, kindness and selflessness in a world where you have so little of all these. I will keep trying to give you all I can to make your world better, to give you a haven to call yours when other hearts don’t understand the way yours beats. You call me Grammy, and you will never know we are related not at all by blood, but a heart doesn’t care what blood flows through it, all it knows is what it feels. I worry so much about you, and this poem “Barbie Doll”, portrays one of the greatest fears I have for your future…….they are laying all over the living room floor right now………..but they are everywhere else as well, right outside the door. This poem is heart- wrenching, you know. It speaks volumes of truth. They don’t think about your future as they overload you with all the “dolls”, the glittery and glitzy outfits, priming your little mind with the expectations of society, programming you early, exploiting your little girl excitement and love of dolls so that all too soon you will know what you are “supposed” to look like and how you are “supposed” to act. You have brown eyes and brown hair. You don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes. Yes, you are beautiful. But will you be beautiful enough? Will you be good enough? Good enough for what, you ask. Well, for them, I suppose. People. Will you feel that you are less than? You will never measure up, that’s what you will say to the mirror. I’m so afraid for you, my little one. That’s why I buy the camouflage jacket, the toy toolboxes and racecar sets. I want to create some type of balance for you. I asked you to put air in the tire so you would get dirty. I asked you to help me put oil in the car, raise the hood, and open the trunk. I have been a bit successful, I think, because you love to work with screwdrivers, and I’ll take whatever I can get. And so…… This poem is brutal in the mixture of messages it sends, heartless and cold in its truth. “This girl child was born as usual” I note here that this is a mundane every day event, which in truth it is. The statement is heavy with mediocrity, yet I felt the exciting twinges of what was to come as I read further, and by the time I get to cherry candy I’m just looking at a portrait of an average little girl, special unto herself and her family, and average in the eyes of the world. The portrait changes quickly as the spell is broken at a tender time in her life, the most vulnerable of all stages, especially for a female. She is now reduced to her imperfections; everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs. She becomes her imperfections (the worldly view of them) and all else has disappeared. When she sees herself, it is no longer through her own eyes, but cruel other eyes, the ones that matter the most to her. She is another lost girl, another shadow that didn’t measure up to Barbie. The young girl struggles, she went to and fro apologizing, attempting to be acceptable, though of course, once you have a great big nose and fat legs, it’s over. The battle has already been lost, but the war never ends, not when you’re fighting to be Barbie. So she cut off her nose and her legs and she offered them up. This is enough to make me cry. Worn and old already she became at a tender age, tired of battling, needing what nature didn’t offer, almost as if she had cancer in those body parts and the case was terminal, and in the end it is terminal. In death she becomes what she wanted to be in life, she gets to be pretty. She’s Barbie. The last line, to every woman a happy...
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