Yesterday before leaving for work I was watching a segment of the Today Show with two of my daughters: eldest and youngest. There was a segment in which a Very Irate Lady was irate over the fact that Barbie, she who is a fashion designer Monday, veterinarian on Tuesday, and an astronaut on Wednesday, would dare attempt to take on the role of Girl Scout. Because after all, with all of her curves and various careers including rock star and actress (who could forget Rapunzel or Swan Lake?) there’s no possible way that Barbie could ever be seen as a positive role model or leader to young girls anywhere.
Very Irate Lady was simply appalled at the idea that more people weren’t choking in sputtering rage over this issue. The worst offense? That girls who are Girl Scouts and get this particular Barbie Scout can earn a Barbie “Be anything, Do everything” Participation Patch (click here to see), which is the first ever patch that comes from a corporate sponsor. I guess the point there is, “How dare the suggestion that all a girl has to do is purchase a doll to earn a patch even cross anyone’s minds” is made, but let’s be honest. Two of my daughters have been Girl Scouts and one is still a Scout actively. Not all patches are earned with hard core activities and thought processes. Not every single activity is heavily geared towards creating a leader. Many activities are geared towards helping girls with self-esteem. Many, many activities encourage team building skills. Many activities encourage caring about others and each other with community service skills and activities. And sometimes, some Girls (Scouts) just want to have fun. But the fact is that the girls have to do more than simply purchase the doll to earn the patch. If a girl is a Girl Scout an she buys that doll, and if that girl wants the participation patch then she has to do the activities laid out in the Participation Patch link I shared earlier in this paragraph. Just like real Girl Scouts have to do in their troops to begin with.
People are going to have to suck it up, anyway. It’s a three year contract and Girl Scouts is happy with it citing their feeling that Barbie has a wholesome image, that moms and daughters associate Barbie with outdoor activities like camping, giving back to the community, good and strong careers, being a leader, and that’s what being a Girl Scout is about. And Mattel has said that it’s a good fit because Barbie has always been intended to spark girls’ imaginations. After all… what’s her catch phase? “You can be anything!”
I suppose that part of the rub here is that they hope that Girl Scout membership will increase dramatically with the release of this Barbie.
Oh… I suppose you want to see the controversial Barbie doll.
My daughters watched the segment with rapt attention. They didn’t say much while listening to Very Irate Lady or the calm opposing viewpoint speakers. My eldest, who is going to be 14 years old in September, and my youngest, who is 9 1/2 years old, both exclaimed,
Youngest: “I love that Barbie! I want all three! They look fun! Gracie would love them too!”
Eldest: “Mom! I haven’t played with Barbies for a long time but I want those to collect them!
In Unison: “What a cool Barbie!”