Do you or your well-meaning relations buy dolls for your children? If so, are they the sort that come in boxes and drive you mad with their skinny, long-legged siren call to mass anorexia? Their distorted forms leading to a warped self-image for girls to comply with in order to satisfy imagined or real male desires?
How I hate these dolls and their smug, insidious grip on female self respect. Subjugation of half of the world’s population by the other half, no less than foot binding, organ-deforming corsets from the past and laws today repressing women’s rights to be educated, drive cars and wear what they like in public without harassment.
Above is Serial Mum, who’s finally understood what those jars of blue liquid in hairdressers are for. Not that she goes much – once when she got married and again last year to sort out her daughter’s unintentional dreadlocks.
But, Barmie Dolls. They work for some people. With a name that sounds like a herbal root remedy for insomnia – and she may be for some – Valeria Lukyanova (pictured below) models herself on 29cm of attenuated plastic, topped off with a bushel of nylon fibres for hair. Certainly something to aspire to, and as a Breatharian, pretty low maintenance for a hot date. Just open the window to let some light and air in and you’ve brought her the equivalent of a 3 course meal at Nobu.
No, I don’t want to be skinny and don’t want dolls to influence young girls to stop eating healthily. I’ve tried the 5:2 diet myself and it doesn’t work. It wasn’t so much the food and the drink I missed in the intervening time, but what got to me was the constant clock-watching to see when the two minutes were up and I could start eating again.
There are alternatives, girls. A close relation of mine had an unusual doll. When she was small, her young love and devotion was poured out on ‘Jemima’. Jemima* was a large tin of Tomato Juice. She carried it – sorry ‘her’ – everywhere. Why waste money on miniature pink sequined ballgowns when you can buy your child a favourite toy which, after they’ve gone to bed, can double as the second biggest ingredient in a Bloody Mary. Just replace it the next day if need be. You see consumerism can be our downfall, stops us from thinking creatively.
*I’ve changed the real name to protect her identity.
A few years later, same little girl was given a Barmie doll. With her father, they sheared off Barmie’s hair, dying it purple and yellow, before subverting the genre entirely by dressing it in black and painting the face with scary make up.
But maybe this is what everyone does at home?
And let’s hear it for the ultimate subversion – Conchita!
Yes, how exciting! a genuine rush for anyone who doesn’t want their child pidgeon-holed by a male-biased industry chugging out little boxed role models by the container load.
Personally I’m thrilled to see the winning entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 is a man dressed as a woman. Like a prettier, more hirsute Shirley Bassey and a name meaning ‘sausage’, Conchita Wurst has sent tremors through the conservative establishment overnight.
You will be able show your sons too that they can look thrilling in a lamé frock, and won’t be judged by appearances.
My only concern is that coming soon to a Crap-R-Us near you will be …..
Now, don’t start getting any more fancy ideas, Valeria. Being Ukrainian, I don’t think your country or your close neighbours, Russia will be stocking anything like this on the shelves next Christmas. On the other hand, nice to be reminded that Vladimir Putin is a big fan of Elton John. Beard or no beard.
I just take it all as a clarion cry to chuck away our tweezers, and have it all grow out. Come on girls, let’s get bearded like the lion, as Shakespeare once said. (Sorry Will, I know you didn’t put it quite like that). It’s a small start, but I feel, once we can be accepted for our facial follicles, then the battle is more than half won.
I’ve been thrillingly shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging Award in the Readers Choice category by Britmums. Or a ‘Brit Award’ as I’m telling my friends. So here are two jokes. Not beardy ones either.
1. Never trust an atom – they make up everything.
2. What did the proton say to the neutron? Are you voting in the local electron?