Dr. Amy Stark

Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker

Specializing in:
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls

Food For Thought

Food For Thought

Playing Barbies

When I was growing up, I loved my Barbie doll. I never expected to look like her when I grew up…she was a doll. This was back in the 60s, when we each had one Barbie doll and a carrying case for all her fashions. We would get together with our friends and play for hours. We made houses for Barbie out of shoe boxes, using fabric samples as the coverlets. When we did not have something we improvised. Our Barbies had great adventures out in the adult world…or what we thought was the adult world.

Barbie gave us a sense of having a future, a career, or our first apartment. Inside her case, I carefully organized all her outfits, which were neatly hung on Barbie hangers. Our Barbies hung out with each other sometimes having boyfriends, sometimes not.

We all learned how to organize our toys, how to take care of them, how to dress up and enjoy it …even if it was vicariously. Our Barbies had relationships with each other. All these simple things have somehow been lost. When I do home visits now, girls have a pile of discarded Barbies, the clothes have been misplaced, the dolls have no meaning as they have a pile of them, not just one that is cherished and well cared for. When kids do not have a sofa or bed for Barbie, it stops the play. Somehow the ability to imagine has been misplaced along with the accessory. Personally, I liked the old days better. When dolls were cherished, accessories were organized and we all saved up for new doll outfits, rather than just getting new Barbies constantly. Barbie used to help all of us dream about our futures and try on new identities. They were good for our self esteem.

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