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By Rose Baum

When I was growing up my mother didn’t buy me Barbie dolls.  She just didn’t think I needed them.  I would play with them at my friends’ houses.  When I had my two girls I also didn’t buy them simply because they weren’t on my radar.  They had plenty of toys and I also felt it was unnecessary.  One Chanukah, a friend bought us our first Barbie DVD and the rest was history, my youngest daughter was hooked into everything Barbie.

As a mother, I wondered, should I condone the love for Barbie?  The blonde hair, the blue eyes, the very teeny tiny waist!   Just this past week I read an article about a new doll, the Lammily doll, that reflects the average proportions of an American girl.

I have learned that I LOVE BARBIE.  True, Barbie is beautiful!  But the new Barbie can be president; an engineer; a teacher; an astronaut; a vet; a ballerina, etc.  There are no limits to Barbie’s abilities plus she is a loving daughter and a doting sister!  Barbie is smart, hard working, she has conflict and resolution, a positive attitude, true friendship, family love and perseverance!

I read an article this past week in Binah, the weekly magazine for the Jewish woman, Intellectually Speaking: the Power of Knowledge by Rebbetzin Esther Reisman, a mother speaks of her intellectually bright child, “When I attend PTA meetings, I don’t want to hear that my children are gifted.  That comes directly from Hashem.  Tell me about their social development.  Tell me about their middos (character traits) and derech eretz (Jewish ethics)…I don’t praise my children for being smart.  I don’t want their identity to be built on something that was given to them, but rather how they have developed what they received.  You don’t get credit for that which was given to you on a silver platter.”

Barbie’s beauty was given to her by her creator, Ruth Handler, in 1959.  Just like everything in life, nothing is perfect, and Barbie too has her flaws.  However, Barbie knows to respect her parents and elders, to love her family and friends, to strive and work hard at goals!  In a world in which we preach to look skin deep, we as parents need to practice what we preach.  I am happy to teach my daughters the many traits I love about Barbie.  And, I can honestly say that looking at Barbie on the inside and outside, I love Barbie!

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