Thursday, October 15, 2009

Valley of the Dolls

Taking a cue from Nancy over at, I bring you this story from my childhood.
When I was very young I wanted a Barbie doll. All my friends had them. My cousins had them. But, alas, these dolls were not allowed in my house, by edict of Mama Bird. I know now why she didn't want them around. But I still don't agree with the ban on them. When I was eight or so I took it upon myself to buy my own damned Barbie doll. The western/cowgirl Barbie (I think I was still harboring dreams of becoming a Dallas Coyboys Cheerleader. Remember, I was born in Dallas, I couldn't help it.). She came with the hat and boots and a tiny rubber stamp that was a kiss mark. I was so proud of myself for getting it myself (I used my Christmas money) and my grandmother had no problem with me buying it. Mama Bird made me return it the next day, unopened, unplayed with.
Mama Bird thought that I would develop an unhealthy body image if I had Barbies around, what with their enormous boobs and microscopic waistline. That I would think that was how I should look. That I would somehow become as acquisitive as the dolls "character" (C'mon, the bitch had everything).
Eventually Mama Bird cracked, and for valentines day when I was about nine or ten, I got my first ever Barbie doll. Pink 'n Pretty was the version. She came with both a dress and slinky pink pants. I was over the moon. More Barbies followed that one and I ended up with quite a collection. Because you can't just have one. She's got to have friends. And boyfriends too.
I never thought I would look like Barbie. In fact the ones that I thought the prettiest weren't because of their figures. There was a tropical something or other friend of Barbie's who's name was Miko or something like that. Her facial features were exotic. And a few years later there was a strawberry blonde with green eyes I thought was pretty. I wanted her hair. Not the body shape. I wanted to wear make-up, and be a rock-star. Or a clothing shop owner. Or a vet. Barbie had sooooo many jobs over the years.
Because I had a few of them, and it was my constant desire to make everything the way I wanted it to look, I drew heavier make up on them. I tried to crimp the hair of one of them (yes, I had a crimper) and melted it all away. When I got even older I turned them in to punk Barbies, drawing tattoos on them and cutting up their clothes.
I don't think Barbie is the best role model for little girls. But I don't think she's the worst either. I think that if parents take the time to show them how ridiculous she looks, kids will be just fine playing with Barbies. Dolls are for make-believe. Pure fluff. Not for reflecting reality. That being said, I think the Barbie computer games and "movies" are awful. They make no allowances for pure imagination. And they totally push the "I must have every thing Barbie I can find" attitude.
I am able to look at Barbie now and make fun of her. More for the consumerism aspect of her and her world. You could take virtually anything, paint it pink and write Barbie across it and it would sell like hot-cakes. That's the part I totally agree with Mama Bird about.

--Little Bird does most emphatically NOT look like Barbie (and is still quite content)


SaffronButterfly said...

Oh, wow! I'd totally forgotten about Miko - I had her, and thought she was completely fab! I *adored* the default swimsuit she came with, and actually convinced my seamstress-y mom to make me one just like it. I wore that suit until it was rags.

Mama Bird said...

Get over it. I totally over did it about Barbie. I admit it. Now focus on this the most amazing dish I've eaten in years. In Taos at a place called Antonios:

Rellenos en Nogada: Roasted poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, diced pear, apple, raisons, spices onion and tomato, smothered with a walnut brandy cream sauce.

We have to figure out how to make this it is to die for...

Little Bird said...

Pear? Really? RAISINS?? I'll figure out how to make it for you. And how to make it without either of those two things for myself. Did Antonios happen to have cook books for sale? Maybe at Christmas we could get one?
I found a recipe for Jambalya (from scratch) that looks pretty good in that Gourmet I just got, I'd like to try that too.

Mama Bird said...

It was the best combination of sweet and spicy. It had pomegranite (spelling?) seeds on top of it. The walnut brandy creme sauce made the whole thing just work. I can't explain it. This restaurant in Taos is Dennis Hoppers favorite. That's Dennis Hopper, as in Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now among others.

Little Bird said...

Wasn't he also in "True Grit"? (I know Robert Duval was.)
Pomegranate sounds good though. Can I substitute apple for the pear? PLEASE?!?

Anonymous said...

I am totally giggling at the Mama Bird response :)

Coyote said...

On F.B. you asked about small airtight containers for spices. How about old medicine bottles?

I'm posting here since I showed up too late on F.B.

Great Scott said...

Hey Avis, you were looking for airtight container recommendations yesterday. I wanted to recommend these to you, but couldn't remember the name. The brand is tightvac, . I use the smallest size, the .12 liter Minivac to store Cardamom and other infrequently used spices. They work great.

Anonymous said...

Jenny was here and is the giggler you seek. :)

Jenny IsBusy