We’ve had a go of it at our house lately. Taking our stalker to court after a year of being scared and harassed, wasp stings, and this week: Oral Surgery. It was a rotten way to spend a week in the summer and I decided to go a little overboard. I guess I just wanted to make everything right again in her little six year old world. The Original Pigtail Pal’s deep love of the ocean has naturally expanded into mermaids, and she has been saving up her Chore Chart money for this one below.
With OPP having four teeth pulled on Tuesday morning, puking blood and feeling generally miserable for a day, the Tooth Fairy knew she would have to bring her A-game for this one. The Tooth Fairy looked high and low for waterproof mermaid toys OPP could take in the tub and pool, ultimately Barbie seemed like the best (only) choice. OPP was so happy when she opened it, and has brought up several interesting body image talks while playing with her, showing me she is getting the message as best a 6yo can. And, the Tooth Fairy felt the Barbie mermaids were pretty awesome as far as mermaids go and they didn’t make her head explode. I, uh, I mean the Tooth Fairy, thought the Barbie Mermaid line was pretty wholesome and wasn’t sexualized (other Barbies take that prize). There was some unpacking to do for body image and Beauty Myth, but every once in a while it is good for the Tooth Fairy to get off her soap box.
Yes, I really do put this much thought into buying a Barbie. If Merida came in a wet suit I’d be walking on Easy Street.
Since OPP is reading everything in sight, I intentionally left this link displayed on my laptop this morning while I stepped away from my desk to do some chores. I saw her reading the article a few moments later, but waited for her to bring up the issue. I just wanted to get her wheels turning.
OPP came into the kitchen after awhile and said, “So the dotted black lines is where the surgeons would cut ya?” I answered yes, that is how a woman would have to be surgically altered and cut apart to look like Barbie. OPP then asked if I liked Barbie, to which I answered that I had liked them very much when I was her age, but as a mom I was concerned about some of the body image messages the dolls gave. I said all Barbies have the same body and their faces look the same, and that I felt that left out all of the other ways a woman can be beautiful. I said people with rounder bodies or shorter bodies or wider noses or slanted eyes are all beautiful too, and you don’t see that with Barbie. OPP then said she liked the woman in the photo below because it looked like me. I agreed, my body actually looks identical to the woman above, but that I would never cut myself to try to be beautiful, or to look like someone else.
She answered with this, “Well, I know Barbie is a grown up because she wears lots of makeup. And I’m not to worried about being skinny, because who cares a flip about that? But I really wish I had blue hair and a glittery tail.”
How can you argue with that? I told her blue hair and a glittery tail would be awesome indeed. I’m glad I could meet Amelia halfway on this one, because I have had to say no to several of the toys she has shown an interest in as of late.
And I am secretly relieved that not once in the past two days has OPP said anything about not being pretty or embarrassed because of her new (temporary) toothless smile. In fact, today I was taking a photo of her and her little brother eating strawberry shortcake and OPP said, “Make sure you get in my one good tooth!”
I don’t know if this body confidence in her will always be there, but I pray it will. I pray hard for that.