Has the world gone mad?

Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful

When I was a little girl I had a Barbie doll.  I think she was the only genuine Barbie I ever had and oh how I loved her!  I had to beg and beg my parents to make the purchase.  I still remember the day they finally caved in, I must have been the happiest girl in the world. I spent countless hours with my new prized possession, trying her out in her various pink outfits, her high heels, and her diamond earrings.  I longed for her beautiful blue eyes and long blonde hair, but that is not all I longed for.

Barbie had become everything I wanted to be.  She was a role model that instilled in me a desire to possess nothing more than empty beauty.  No dreams, no aspirations, no goals – all I wanted to achieve was to be beautiful like Barbie.  It mattered little to me whether she was good or bad.  Inside beauty meant nothing – outside beauty was everything.  And of course I could never live up to that goal, after all I did not have the blonde hair and blue eyes that not only my Barbie possessed, but that almost every doll in my possession had. It is not something that I thought day and night about at a conscious level, but I do remember feeling sadness as a little girl with the knowledge that I could never be what I aspired to be.

I now have two little girls of my own, the older one is almost 4, and our baby is one.  They are blessed with everything that little girl wanted to be – they are blonde haired, blue eyed, and beautiful.  It has been many years since that little girl grew up, and I have since developed many different goals, but I am sadly conscious of a small part of me that is happy for them that they are naturally what I so desired to be.

As a result of the effect that dolls had on me as a child, I have become weary of the role and influence dolls have on little girls.  I am very careful with the dolls I purchase for them.  I do not want them growing up thinking that this is the only form of beauty there is.  Not only are other different shapes and colours equally (and sometimes even more) beautiful, but I also want my girls knowing that superficial beauty means little, and that what is important is that they are beautiful on the inside.

So I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about Bratz dolls.  I don’t think hate is a strong enough word to describe how I feel about them, I totally loathe them!!  Perhaps I am reading a little too much into this, perhaps their promiscuous clothing are not as obvious to little girls.  But then I remember when I was a little girl, how people underestimated me, how people dismissed me, how they didn’t realise I understood what they were saying, and how I sensed things beyond my comprehension despite not really understanding them fully.  Children are very smart, much smarter than most give them credit for.  They are like little sponges, absorbing everything around them.  Although they will not immediately look at a Bratz doll and interpret it like an adult, they may think that dressing like that is more fun, they may even notice that those who dress like that will attract more attention, and most likely they will want to dress like them…they will want to be like them in every way, just like I wanted to be everything that Barbie was.

Sadly, however, it doesn’t end there.  There is now a Bratz doll with the word “enter” on her belt.  Apparently a representative explained it as being like a seat belt, an explanation you might swallow if you were dealing in a cute innocent doll with pink frills.  A picture of the doll (as well as the story) can be viewed here, and I think most would agree that you would have to be a little more than naive to buy that explanation.

So where will this end?  Perhaps in the future we will have little girls playing with dolls dressed in lingerie ?  Where do we draw the line? And when will doll manufacturers take responsibility for something beyond the number of dolls they selll??  Little girls need to play innocently with dolls without the pressure to be something they are not, and certainly without sexually suggestive messages.  Childhood should be a time of innocence, let them play innocently without these adult concepts that will change their worlds forever.  It seems that with each passing day its getting more and more difficult for children to retain this innocence, but I for one will be doing everything in my power to let my children just enjoy being children for as long as I possibly can.


6 responses to “Has the world gone mad?

  1. bismillah

    as salamu alaykum. I missed your blogging dearly. How are you and how is your family? I hope well by His Mercy.

    I don’t have any daughters right now but I know from my own upbringing the role these dolls played in my life. I hate that even my sons have to see them when they visit others’ homes. I, like you, felt pressure to be a certain way because of them. I wanted green eyes and beautiful soft hair and so on and so forth. It is a disease, truly.

    I like these types of dolls http://www.etsy.com/shop_sold.php?user_id=33393

    They are small and beautiful and very simple. No hidden agendas there. Alhamdulillah.


  2. Wa alaikum assalam,

    JazakAllah kheir sis 🙂 I never know if anybody notices when I’m gone so its nice to hear when I’m missed 🙂 Alhumdulilah the family is doing well, they’re all enjoying our time here in Egypt while it lasts, but they’re also looking forward to going back home. How are you and your family? insha’allah you are all well.

    Those dolls look great, you know as I was writing that post I was thinking how nice and simple rag dolls were. I think I might look into it and see where I can get similar things here in Australia. I am really rethinking toys and going back to basics with wooden and simple toys, hoping to go back to basics.

  3. wa Jazaki Allah khairan : ))

    Alhamdulillah I am doing well as is the family by His Mercy truly.

    The link I gave you, the lady runs a blog called http://littlejennywren.blogspot.com and she lives in Australia. I want to buy one but shipping may not be worth it so I may just stick to someone more local for me. You can email and have a custom order made. I love her blog and her dolls. She puts so much love into them, masha’Allah.

    About wooden toys, I feel ya there. We got rid of a lot of commercial junk with lights and batteries that do the thinking for my kids. I want my children to explore their own imagination and to come up with great ideas on their own. I actually have a beautiful idea for a crafty/nature/waldorf type room for him that I hope to implement in the future inshaAllah.

    : ) Hugs

  4. Pingback: Pretty Pretty Princess » Blog Archive » Has the world gone mad?

  5. Hi MuslimMum,

    Coming over from ‘A Western Woman in Dubai’ to thank you for your comment on my post.

    You write beautifully and I cannot agree more about the Barbie Doll. My mother would not allow me to have one because, as a western feminist, she considered them oppressive to women.

    Isn’t it interesting that the muslim faith objects to them for exactly the same reason. Yet the west considers itself to be the only champion of women’s rights.

    If only the west could open its eyes to the true teachings of Islam, instead of assuming that fundamentalism is representative of all Muslims.

    It makes just as little sense as assuming that all Christians have the same beliefs as the type of fundamentalist you read about in the USA that still follow the old testament.

  6. Hi, thanks for your comment 🙂

    I agree with your comment on the west, I think the problem is that there is so much negative coverage about islam that most people dont get the opportunity to know what its really about. Facts become twisted, and the western media choses to focus only on negativity, they really misrepresent islam. But the world is becoming smaller, and as people hear about islam through different sources more people are starting to get a more accurate picture. Hopefully then people will realise that there is really no reason for them to hate and fear us.

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