The Barbie Project: Girls To The Rescue!

Two new little members of the Super Squad.

Two new little members of the Super Squad.

There are few things I love more than girls in action and girls being the heroic, smart, resourceful, brave, flawed, funny, compassionate, driven center of the story. So when the Barbie Team sent Amelia the new members of the Super Squad I most certainly geeked out. I loved super heroes when I was a kid; in the 1980’s there were several great female choices to look up to.

But Amelia, not so much. In fact, we were supposed to share our story with you over a week ago, but I couldn’t get her to open the boxes. I asked her why she didn’t want to check out her new dolls and she answered, “I’m just really tired of the super heroes always being the boys and just one token girl. Who is usually dumb. It just isn’t my thing.”

I’m not sure why she would think that equation would hold true over at girl-centric Barbie, but it is the what she sees replicated everywhere. I understand how rarely seeing female characters as the hero could get a girl down.

Amelia had spent many hours on Friday and Saturday out in frigid temperatures selling Girl Scout cookies, so by the time Sunday rolled around I wanted to do something special for her. That morning I said I was going upstairs to put away laundry and wanted her help. I had spread out the new Super Squad on her bedroom floor and I’m going to venture a guess the loud squeal she let out was over the discovery of the new caped crusaders and not the basket of laundry waiting for her.

“Oh SNAP! They are all girls! They are all girls!! Did the bosses at Barbie know about this?! Because these are ALL. GIRLS. That’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it!”

We love the colorful Super Squad, ready for action!

We love the colorful Super Squad, ready for action!

I sat on the floor with her as she did her customary inspection of footwear, arched feet or flat feet, articulated joints, hair, and underwear – in that order – every single time she opens a new Barbie. She loved the capes, the lightening bolts, the super hero masks, the vivid colors, the little scooter girls, the practical super hero boots that Barbie and the little girls wear, and the idea of flying. She loved the concept of Barbie being the hero who rescues the Ken reporter guy (my friend joked maybe he is a Lou Lane?) and the team of girls working together.

Amelia and I talked about what kind of hero she would be if she had super powers, and she told me a story about two of the boys in her class having a playdate and one of the boys becoming angry at the host’s cat because it had knocked a toy off the table. In his anger he punched the cat, and when this story was being told in class one of the girls went into hysterics to which the kids replied, “It’s just a cat.”

Amelia busy at work on her hero cape.

Amelia busy at work on her hero cape.

Amelia said she would protect animals from cruelty, especially from kids who were bullies. She said she would have “freeze power” that would stop everything in place and give her time to talk with the animal. I asked why it was important to freeze time so that she could do this, and Amelia answered that animals love us unconditionally and that maybe the pet wouldn’t say what was wrong out of love for their owner.

Cape.3

Amelia cape says “Stop Animal Abuse! Don’t hate ’em! Love your pets!” The “AR” on her cuffs are for “Animal Rescuer”.

 

Amelia is a kid who draws all the time, literally morning, noon, and night. This afternoon I spotted her drawing this. Never in her life have I seen her draw a super hero before. Not once. I asked who she was drawing.

Amelia sees herself as a super hero now.

Amelia sees herself as a super hero now.

“That’s me, obviously. I’m about to rescue an abused dog and horse.”

Barbie’s new Super Squad comes with some fun online activities, but I love their message most of all: Be Bold. Be Kind. Be Creative. Be SUPER! My hope is with this new line of super hero dolls, little girls who wouldn’t otherwise think of themselves as the hero will now see themselves in a new light. Be super, indeed! 

 

Barbie Project LogoLearn more about The Barbie Project and meet the other bloggers on the project.

On twitter, look for hashtag #BarbieProject and join the conversation.

{Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign as part of The Barbie Project. All thoughts and ideas are my own.}

 

Melissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009 www.pigtailpals.com.

Find her at www.melissaatkinswardy.com. You can read her blog at: www.pigtailpalsblog.com or connect with her on Facebook (Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies) and Twitter (@PigtailPals).

The True Difference Between Raising Boys and Girls

Here’s the true difference between raising boys and girls:

1. While at a crafts & home store —-
To my son: “Hey Benny, here’s some super hero tin signs.”
To my daughter: “I’m sorry babe, they don’t have any girls.”

2. Still at crafts & home store —-
My son: “Mom, they have Star Wars signs here with the good ol’ guys not the new guys!”
My daughter: “If I turn around, am I going to see Leia in that stupid gold bikini??? Because YOU THINK she’d be wearing her white fighting outfit and holding a laser gun. Like the time she rescues Hans Solo and saves the empire?!”

3. While looking at movie posters as we walk into movie theater —
My son: “Mom, will you take our picture in front of the poster?”
My daughter: “There are no girls. There seriously is not one girl on these posters.”

4. After our movie, Night at the Museum 3 —
My son: “Well the part I liked best was when the monkey peed right on the little guys to stop the fire lava!”
My daughter: “Mom, how can they go back in history, literally to the ancient Egyptians and they can’t find one interesting woman to play an action hero in that movie?”
Me: “Yeah, I hear you. They had Sacajawea, though.”
My daughter: “All she did was carry around the monkey and kiss Teddy Roosevelt. She was so unimportant Larry didn’t even say goodbye to her. ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE EGYPTIANS!”
Me: “They could have had Joan of Arc instead of Lancelot, who wasn’t an actual historical person.”
My daughter: “Joan of Freaking Arc.”

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

Even if you’re only eight years old…….

 

What my daughter did see: Sacajawea kneels down to read a horse shoe print off a newspaper, and it is literally the most action she has the entire movie.

Sacajawea, holding a monkey.

Sacajawea, holding a monkey.

 

What my daughter could have seen: Joan of Freaking Arc in place of Lancelot. A peasant girl turned warrior whose battlefield victories took France back from England. Surely she’d be able to keep up with Larry and the crew.

What my daughter could have seen: Joan of Freaking Arc.  (Image credit: Zahrahka Art)

(Image credit: Zahrahka Art)