7-Year-Old Girl’s Honest Reactions to 10 Barbies Will Shock the Doll’s Critics

barbieI'm not sure if there's any toy as fraught with controversy as Barbie. The doll is blamed for everything from decimating girls' self esteem to encouraging them to dress like hookers.

The whole debate is enough to give any mother of a girl a serious case of agita before each and every birthday party, lest one of the little gift givers comes walking in with a doll box. But with a 7-year-old in my house who has played with the occasional Barbie (none of which I purchased) and still seems to have a pretty hearty self esteem, I was curious: how much is the Barbie debate in our heads? Do little girls really think what we think they think when we see a Barbie?

I decided to find out.

I went online and found 10 Barbie dolls that range from slutty and skanky to pretty run of the mill. I found the tattoo Barbie who started the whole debacle last year. I found some designed to encourage girls to aspire to big careers (even president), and some that are decidedly not for kids.

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And then I placed the photos one by one in front of my 7-year-old daughter and asked her what she thought. I didn't coach her beside telling her that there were no wrong answers and she wouldn't be in any trouble ... and asking her a question or two (would you play with this doll? would you dress like this doll?).

What she said made me feel a lot better about letting her play with Barbies ... not to mention my parenting. Take a look ... it might surprise you.

What's your take on little girls and Barbie?


Image via Flavio (back for awhile)/Flickr

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MeowLove MeowLove

thats cute! i think you gotta watch out for pink hair when shes a teen ;)

nonmember avatar melissa

She thinks that now... wait until peer pressure sinks in...

MeowLove MeowLove

and honestly i cant blame barbie for low self esteem. i played with barbies as a girl, i loved it! i made up my own worlds and adventures with barbie dolls. its a great way for imagination to grow. if were worried about our daughters self esteems, then work hard to make them know they are beautiful, smart, and one of a kind. dont blame dolls when you have it in your hands to help your daughter lol

Gynx6188 Gynx6188

I agree with Meowlove on this one

nonmember avatar Julie B

I LOVE her answers. Even the ones about the tattoos. To me it sounds like you have done a great job teaching her to be modest, and to be true to herself. She has a definite idea of what she likes and doesn't like. I can also tell she is very accepting of people who are different than what she likes. Proves that self esteem is all in the way you are raised, and you're doing a great job!

nonmember avatar MomofTwo

People seem to always want to blame SOMETHING for our kids low self esteem. I say blame the parents and school yard bullies. I had a VILLAGE of barbies as a little girl and I never really cared about their bodies and "perfect" looks.. it was just a DOLL! I lived vicariously through my doll, making the other barbies my friends, Ken my real life crush who I could make like me back through my dolls etc. I also replayed some of my favorite adventures through my barbies. I think Barbies are a great way to know whats going on in your kids lives. I let my 4 year old play with barbies and i randomly hear her replaying an incident that happened at school through the dolls...its up to the parents to raise confident kids, dont blame mattel.

Jewel Moll Thomas

personaly i think you should worry more about the role modle you are for your child .. and the ones you let your child idolizes like ppl on tv .. real ppl in their every day life that they learn from and see .. barbie cant teach your daughter anything wrong she learns it from you and the ppl around her then might reenact it while playing barbie being as they're a human doll ... so watch what you say and do and what you let others impose on you children .. thats what they learn from..

Maevelyn Maevelyn

I don't think Barbie damaged my self esteem as a kid, I remember feeling a lot like her little girl about my dolls. They made if fun to pretend (mine all had back stories) but that didn't mean that I wanted to do or be everything they did. Okay, I had a vet Barbie and I wanted to be a vet when I grew up but that was just the one. My daughters really like the monster high dolls but i don't expect them to become depressed because they don't have blue skin.

nonmember avatar Meghan

I LOVE that she loves the tattooed one the most! I am fairly heeavily tattooed and frankly am sick of the elooks and comments that I geet about being a mom. "How will you explain your tattoos to your kids" "Will you let them get tattoos?" Etc. I am a college grad with a reeally great job, from a middle class family, with 7 ministers in my extended family. Not all tattooed people are criminals! I was so angry about the uproar with the tattooed barbie. Sorry for my rant... Your daughter seems great!

Lindsay Smalley Uhrig

My daughter is 6 and we just looked at the Barbies you posted. She had very similar reactions. She said she would play with them all, but wouldn't wear the bathing suit type clothes because "they are not appropriate." I think it is important to teach your girls at a young age what is appropriate for girls to wear and what isn't. I think it is important to not let your young girls wear clothes meant to sexualize, because THAT is what hurts their self esteem.

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