Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mars Explorer Barbie

Megan Garber over at The Atlantic is annoyed at the amount of pink on the new Mars Explorer Barbie.  Pink helmet, pink trim, pink shoes.  This is truly straining at gnats while swallowing camels.  Girls currently like pink.  Little girls, big girls, old girls, young girls.  Not all of them, but a lot.  Is this something installed on hard disc, or is it just wanting to be looking fashionable, connected to the main network, or those other girl stereotypes? And is there a separate girl fashionableness that looks down on those Other Girls and therefore goes to Smith?  One that is just as automatic and unthinking, but thinks itself better because it is more like Velma than Daphne?

Doesn't matter. Stop judging until you have raised daughters of your own, and stop obsessing over whether girl culture is going in the direction you feel is proper. Those children aren't yours.  You don't own them, and you should have no say in their upbringing.

Plenty of room to kick both liberals and conservatives on that score, eh?


james said...

They all turned out different; same genetics, same environment.

Dubbahdee said...

I'm thinking unless she can bend her legs and arms, she shouldn't be going to Mars, whatever she's wearing.

At least GI Joe had the Kung Fu Grip.

Grandma Bee said...

Warning: Long Rant

AVI, you have sons and not daughters, correct? If you have a daughter or granddaughter, you should have discovered by now that the people who design girls and young women's clothes have lost their marbles. And Barbie is the extreme of the nuttiness in the fashion industry.

Two of our daughters stopped liking pink about age 7. One daughter is still nutty about pink in her 20s. Personal choice. Only girly-girl out of the 3.

I find the epidemic of pink obnoxious. I look at the little girls' fashions, and want to barf. Pink, purple, and Hello Kitty ad nauseam for the preschool sizes, pink, purple and snotty phrases ad nauseam in grade school sizes. No imagination, just attitude. I am glad I know how to sew if I want to give an outfit to my granddaughter.

Also, the cut of girls' and young women's clothing is not comfortable for some body types. It's all "let's look skinny but bosomy" after age 10. I have an extra long waist and hip curves, but not a lot of bosom; one daughter has an extra long waist, curves, and bosom; one daughter is petite with extra long waist, curves, and bosom; one is petite with a short waist and not a lot of bosom. Just try finding anything to fit any of us in the young women's dept! I wasn't able to find comfortable clothes between ages 15 to 36, after the 5th baby, when I graduated to elastic waist pants and Womens X sizes.

Eldest Daughter started buying jeans in the boys' dept when baggy pants came in. They had room for her curves, and she could climb a rock in them comfortably. Girl jeans are not activewear, unless we buy them at Farm and Fleet. Youngest daughter may be a girly girl, but she wants her jeans to fit, and she does farm work; and so she gets Carharts. They actually make clothes for real people.

Middle Daughter continues to have trouble as an adult finding something that suits her taste and figure. For example, it bugs her that women's office wear shirts are cut on the assumption that the women are always going to wear the shirt unbuttoned to the third button. They cannot be buttoned any higher comfortably. Middle Daughter likes her clothes dignified. Her figure does not fit the fashion industry's cookie cutter styles, either; so finding clothes that fit is always a chore.

The Fashion industry continues to make clothes for girls and young women that are fashionable as the industry sees it. Skinny, tight, sexy, snarky, and not practical or dignified. And very little for those who don't have figures like the cover girl.

What I object to in the heavy marketing of pink for little girls: There's too freaking much of it. When my girls were small, I could find cute things in colors other than pink or purple. There were bright colors and there were pleasant pastels. We had a few choices. Now it's all Pink, Purple, and Day-glo colors that hit you in the eye. Except for red and forest green at Christmas.

It's hard to find accessories and decor for girls that are feminine and Not Pink or Not Purple.

So while I don't know anything about Velma vs Daphne snobbery, I do know that the fashion industry needs to quit telling young women and girls what they ought to look like, and start designing clothes for real people. Give parents a color choice, recognize that girls need durable clothes for active wear, and cut out the snotty slogans.

And if they're going to put Barbie on Mars, do the damn research and give her a real space outfit!

End rant.

Sam L. said...

Idjits! Pink goes well with Mars red!

Little girls like princesses, too. Many dads call their daughters princess (I didn't, but I'm hopeless).

I suspect Megan is 'professionally' annoyed because that's her schtick. Or The Atlantic's schtick.

And GB: Land's End and LL Bean should have clothes MD can wear. They seem pricey to me, but they do wear well.

Donna B. said...

I have 2 daughters. One would wear nothing but flannel shirts and jeans. The other wanted lace and frills. The flannel and jeans daughter now has two girls that want to wear lace and frills, but they also want it to be comfortable enough that it doesn't interfere with the rock climbing and zip-lining they are currently into.

The frills and lace daughter has a boy who is into dirt and trying to figure out how things work and cars and cookies.

I have a photo of my oldest granddaughter taken when she was 18 hours old. Only hours old... and she was vamping it. She was born a girly-girl. Her engineer/mathematician parents have learned to go with flow where she's concerned. She's the one who arranges "funerals" for the insects her little sister stomps on... which child should I worry about?

Well, neither. They are different. I suspect the younger one may end up a biologist of some sort. The older one, an artist or olympic swimmer. Or... whatever she wants.

Grandma Bee -- I do sympathize with you where ready to wear clothing for girls is concerned, though I don't think it's Barbie's fault. There is little more frustrating than trying to find clothing for all my grandchildren (boys and girls) that is not "branded" by some character like Hello Kitty or Thomas the Tank Engine.

So... one of my planned adventures this fall is a trip to the flannel-shirted daughter's house to teach her how to sew for her frill and lace loving daughters.

My frills and lace loving daughter is going to be a fine mother of boys as she's going to make sure he dresses with the finesse his father has. Bowties are in the future there, as well as the finest in fishing vests and LL Bean hunting attire.

Bottom line for me is that Barbie, fashion, fads, etc., mean very little. My grandchildren are going to follow their own interests while emulating their parents. This includes the flannel shirt stay at home Mom and the frilly lace Mom as predominate breadwinner.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

We now have granddaughter, one of whom is a pink fanatic. But there are other choices.

Hanna andersson. Swedish company.

Texan99 said...

Never understood the pink-princess thing. I like to think I could adjust to a little girl that was into it, but I don't know. Anyway, I never had to.

Retriever said...

I was a mean mother and refused to buy my girls any Barbies. I didn't want them becoming anorexic or feeling bad that they didn't look like those pneumatic out of scale bimbos. Their schoolmates found out about my cruelty so on several birthdays their friends gave them Barbies and clothes, which we of course let them keep. My little bookworm daughters chiefly used their Barbies to play school. They would arrange them in rows at desks and take it in turns to be the teacher asking ever harder questions until one would burst into tears at not having the answer...(their little brother would periodically function as CHaos Monster and invade the school with the giant dinosaur models). One evening a family from church came over and we adults were happily enjoying dessert together when we heard shrieks from the downstairs playroom. The visiting boys had decided to play French Revolution and they were beheading all the Barbies. That was the end of playing Barbie in our house.

We particularly liked the Hanna Andersson stuff from the time our kids were babies thru grade school. Especially because, tho it was expensive, it wore well and you could buy it in unisex colors. And since it was pure cotton, it was cool in our muggy hot summers and while they were running around.
I was a tomboy who wore boy's clothes but grew up to like hot pink for dressing up as a young adult (go figure). My sister was a frills and lace critter, still pretty much is.

I had the naive notion that I could choose my kids clothes and have them dress in ways I preferred all the time, so I bought the girls Liberty fabric for dresses and hair bows for church, and dressed them in unisex play clothes the rest of the time, usually bought way too big to grow into. Twenty years later they still tease me about how much this irritated them.

Once they were 3 or 4 they both went thru a major pink and purple princess stage that I found tiresome but they got it out of their system eventually. We were very broke until they were in high school and I bought all their clothes at the thrift store or my mother in law made them things or my friends gave us hand me downs. One weird result of this was that they thought of clothes as just something that one found and adapted to, as opposed to being something one hunted and spent a lot of time thinking about, and choosing to express oneself with.

When the girls got jobs at 14, they briefly rebelled against the thrift shop stuff and asked me to take them to Target where, lo and behold, there were lurid pinks, purples and other equally unbecoming colors for their coloring. I kept my mouth shut and let them buy whatever they wanted to with their wages (I was just the chauffeur). After about a year, they figured out that the clothes from there and Kohl's cost too much and were wearing out really fast, much faster than the better brands I had got from the thrift shop, secondhand.

To this day they check out the thrift shop first, but both still pretty much dislike shopping. No pink or purple.

I agree with a lot that Grandma Bee says. I'd be more blunt tho and rant that most fashion is designed by a bunch of urban gay guys who have not interest in or sympathy for sexy, curvy, strong young women. They design fashion to look good on prepubuscent girls or anorexic supermodels trying to keep the body of one (ie: a woman masquerading as a boy). That's the high quality fashion.

The cheaper stores tend to skimp on fabric, don't tailor well, use itchy fabrics and cheap mixes of fabrics. They also tend to sell slutty styles of clothes that certainly do not present a dignified or professional image for a young woman at work. Two of the secretaries in my office routinely come in looking as if ready for the dance floor (sleeveless satin blouses, unbuttoned to the cleavage, spike heels, semi translucent fabrics, etc. It does make the older men in the office quite happy, tho...Married but not dead is their motto.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about what the PARENTS are doing, but what the CORPORATIONS are doing. "Little girls like pink."

...Oh do they now? Or is it just that this is expected of them? After all, not all that long ago, pink was a "boy's color." And now-- dear Lord, the girl's aisle looks like someone blew up a tub of Pepto Bismol.

It's observable that everything marketed to girls is age inappropriate-- clothes and accessories better suited to a streetwalker, and everything else (games, toys, TV shows, etc) dumbed down to a pastel-pink preschooler level.

Anonymous said...

I note in passing that a popular girl's show went from a positive message of "there's more than one way to be a girl"...

To "EVERY little girl just WANTS to be a PRINCESS."

Puke Pink and Pretty Pretty Princess. The default setting for our culture when confronted with young girls.