Disclaimer: The writer does not intend to stereotype genders in this article, but acknowledges that the writing could be misread to seem that way. That’s because you’re stereotyping genders. Sexist.
It is often considered emasculating if a young boy is seen playing with Barbie dolls. This is with good reason. Barbie dolls epitomize the inaccurate body images and impractical wardrobe choices that dominate American celebrity culture, which no red-blooded boy should have any interest in, although they may have a working knowledge of who Heidi Montag is and why this whole legal-separation-from-Spencer-thing is totally a publicity ploy for the new season of The Hills and stuff. I mean, it’s in newspapers (which is also probably why newspapers are dying), and it also cultivates a catty sense of schadenfreude. That’s neither a “girly” nor “manly” trait. That’s just stupid and petty. Being stupid and petty is emasculating. But I digress.
Popular notion is that if a boy is playing with Barbie dolls, he’s either gay or headed in that direction. I respectfully disagree. It’s disrespectful to the gay community to associate them with Barbie dolls. I would think that they have better taste than that. But I also believe that it’s not what you’re playing with, but how you’re playing with it. After all, isn’t a tea party with G.I. Joe and Optimus Prime quite “girly”? Unless you’re drunk and 25, in which case it’s absolutely hysterical. I’ll be the first one to confess that I had a Barbie doll. I also had a Ken doll, and a pink Barbie sports car. (Note: My parents bought them for me, I had no say in the matter.) But did I play house with them? Well, yes, because playing house means high speed car chases that inevitable ends with Ken and Barbie flying off a cliff and into the bottom of the bathtub-lake filled with sharks, Ken battling the sharks off while Barbie slowly sinks into what is not water but actually LAVA, and Ken is dragged down into the depths by kraken shark, before being thrown out of the lake and onto the hard linoleum floor, defeated and broken, while a family of Playmobil astronauts decide to take the pink car, which has emerged from the depths, for a spin around their spaceship, wondering what ever happened to their Lego colleague that went below deck to check out a suspicious noise, only to get shot in the face by a Nintendo Light Gun.
If that doesn’t illustrate my point, think of it this way. Is a pencil terrifying?
So let boys be boys and play with Barbie dolls. But playing with Bratz? Get thee to a screening of Sex and the City 2.