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Tuesday
Apr262011

Children of the 80's, You Are All Failures

By now you've probably seen the news story about Galia Slayen and her life-size Barbie doll. Just in case you haven't, Slayen made the Barbie to draw attention to eating disorders by demonstrating what Barbie's measurements would be if she were a real person (39-18-33). Slayer has struggled with an eating disorder in the past and while she says Barbie is not fully to blame for her struggles with body issues, having the doll in her life as a child was a contributing factor.

When I first saw the story, I was all sorts of PFFFFFT. Blaming a toy for issues as an adult? LAME. Even if it is a sort of back-handed, indirect, wimpy sort of blame.

But then I thought about it and realized something...it's TOTALLY Barbie's fault that I think my waistline is in need of some help. I mean, I've got the whole bust thing right on, but I haven't had an 18" waist since I was probably five years old.

Once I started thinking about it, I realized there are a lot of childhood toys responsible for current miserable existence.

Transformers

Every time I'm in the car and some jagoff cuts me off, forgets to use a turn signal, or is driving 20 mph under the posted speed limit, I glance desperately all around my car for that magic button that will transform it into a robot. I *NEED* to be able to order that robot to start shooting the offender. The fact that I don't have a Transformer as a car is clearly a failure in my life. ::SOB::

Cabbage Patch Kids

I positively adored my Cabbage Patch, Karla Robyn. She was my everything for a few years. I slept with her, I changed her clothes, and I carefully combed her magnificent mullet. These days, when I look in the mirror, I can't help but be disappointed that I never managed to grow Karla Robyn's awesomely thick hair and her perfectly curled bangs.

Lincoln Logs

If you had told me twenty years ago that some day I would be living in a house with five and a half bathrooms, I would have laughed in your face. First of all, I would have said that nobody needs that many bathrooms (true story, that). Then I would have told you that a girl from the trailer park wasn't going to grow up to live in a mansion. It just isn't possible.

Now that I live in that (not really a) mansion, I can't help but be disappointed that I can't fix its faults as easily as I could when I built Lincoln Log homes as a child. The fact that I can't just pick up the roof and move a few walls around, thereby eliminating some of those (SUPER stupid) extra bathrooms is devastating. DEVASTATING. I have nightmares about those extra toilets rising up  and killing me in my sleep. I could boldly face those fears as I ripped out one toilet after the other, if only I lived in a Lincoln Log house.

Troll Dolls

I come from the generation that believes a golden glow is healthiest. Sure, we want our UV protection so we don't get skin cancer, but we want that magnificent tan. *I* want that magnificent tan.

It's no wonder. We all aspire to have that amazing skin tone that Troll Dolls naturally enjoy.

The Smurfs

I think I speak for my entire generation when I say Smurfette had a huge influence on my childhood. We all wanted her flirty little white dress. We all coveted her flowing blond hair. But, above all, who didn't want her mile-long eyelashes? I know I cry every time I look in the mirror and realize that my eyelashes are nowhere near as long as the legs of a daddy longlegs spider.

It's devastating.

Strawberry Shortcake

When I was a wee lass growing up in the frozen tundra of North Dakota, I used to pass the long, cold days by sniffing my Strawberry Shortcake doll. I sniffed her so often that I eventually became immune to her wonderful scent, but I knew it was still there. It was during those early years that I began to believe that all girls should smell lovely and sweet and intoxicating at all times.

These days when I wake up, I don't smell like strawberries. I weep as I step into the shower, hoping that my body wash and shampoo will be enough to make me conform to society's expectations.

It doesn't work.

Sometimes I get really upset at my failings and I drive for miles until I find a strawberry field. I roll around in that field, desperately hoping that the sweet fragrance will make its way into my pores.

It never works. I end up smelling like dirt and cow manure.

I am a child of the 80's and I am a failure. A fat, non-robotic-car-having, limp-haired, lame-house-residing, pale, eyebrow-deficient, stinky failure.

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Reader Comments (13)

I can't believe you actually just used "jagoff" in a sentence.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

@Alexa--Sometimes it really is the best word.

I'm not saying that student makes a valid point with her project whatsoever, but I do tend to see Barbie as the precursor to toys like Bratz dolls, which I find to be a blatant attempt to influence young girls by corporations.

I mean, unless it's okay to encourage little girls to be "bratty" and wear make up and padded bras when they're toddlers? (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/19/granderson.children.dress/index.html?hpt=T2)

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercalliope

you have issues. i love that about you!
(it should come as no surprise to anyone that i wanted to be handy smurf, not that whore smurfette. yep, i have issues, too.)

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

Hahaha You crack me up!

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

Tru Dat... The blame of so many things. couple that with the brain cells lost in excessive aqua net fumes- it's a wonder we can see our nose from our face...

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermisty

@Calliope--I actually agree with the author of that piece 110%--it's up to parents to just not buy the stuff. Companies have been coming up with terrible ideas for toys since the beginning of time (Jarts--the metal tipped ones, Garbage Pail Kids, Pez guns, etc.). At some point, we have to take responsibility for it when crap enters our homes.

Obviously, the post was a wee bit sarcastic, but it skirts around a very real question I have right now. Toys are all about fantasy--it's their purpose. Where do we draw the line between the fantasy being "healthy" and "harmful?" I mean, I never looked at a Troll doll and thought I should look like it, so why would I think I should look like a Barbie doll? Has gun violence decreased since parents started to deem toy guns unacceptable? Why do we tend to criticize toys marketed to girls more than we do toys marketed to boys? I'm totally serious with those questions. I don't know the answers.

I do know, however, that my behavior has a much greater impact on Alexis than the toys she plays with. If I sit watching TV with her and start mooing when Christina Aguilera is shown, then call her fat (which she's not--AT ALL), I am absolutely doing more damage than that box of Barbie dolls could ever do.

Michelle (Burghbaby) - I totally agree with the above comment. What we do as parents does have a far great effect on our kids. How we treat others as well as our own kids is how they will learn their behavior. I understand that kids will pick up thinks outside of the home however, if you have open communication with your child/kids then you can talk to them about barbies or other toys that are not realistic. Stress it is just for fun that real women to not have to look like a barbie to be beautiful. A large person can be more beautiful than a smaller person with their personality alone. Someone can be georgious but when they open up his or her mouth the go from a 10 to a -10 real fast!

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

We should start a class-action lawsuit, yo. I'll run it by my therapist and see what we can cook up.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie in MA

Now I am hungry for actual strawberry shortcake, which will add to my belly fat which greatly increases health risks in males my age. Hope you are happy.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Cabbage Patch Dolls convinced me that getting a tattoo of Xavier Roberts signature on my butt was a good idea. True story.*

* Not really.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMain

Best. Post. Ever!!

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

Finally a (you know you are a child of the 80's) that makes sense. I miss my cabbage patch doll and the smurfs but I am sure I can blame a lot of my issues on them. Thanks for making me laugh again.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
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