Raising a daughter can easily turn into a constant struggle with your own preconceptions and values regarding gender stereotypes.
Last week's Happy Meal toy selection included dolls from Barbie's "I can be" series--a bunch of career-oriented dolls meant to empower little girls and open their eyes to the vast array of possibilities open to today's women and ahahahahahaha just kidding, they're terrible. Sadly, we eat at McDonald's enough that we got two of these things last week; one was a teacher and the other a ballerina. I'd be hard-pressed to find two more stereotypically female career choices.
Dani doesn't have many (read: any) proper dolls, and when I noticed her carrying the ballerina around everywhere with her, I figured it was time to buy her a doll that I felt a little better about. Secretly (or not-so-secretly), I was hoping to find a Mulan doll, but I would have been okay with Rapunzel or Tiana, or really, any generic doll that wasn't covered in pink frills or hooker makeup.
Female role models: that's how you do it.
While at the store, I saw the full-size version of the awful "I can be" toys. Once again, they had a teacher, but I have to admit I was a little surprised to find a couple of them that weren't entirely objectionable. They had a dolphin trainer (pretty awesome), veterinarian (still a little stereotypical, but not bad), a movie star, and a TV news anchor. There was the fairly gender-neutral chef, followed by the more frilly pancake chef (is this even a thing?)...and then things started getting ridiculous.
All right...this isn't horrible, I guess. I mean, it's still basically a veterinarian, but you're operating on, like, lions and stuff, so it's kind of bad-ass.
What's wrong with just calling her a pediatrician? Oh, right--because the important thing here is that Barbie just looooooves the widdle itty-bitty babies. God forbid a woman resist the call of her uterus in any aspect of her life.
Pony doctor. Pony. Doctor. Let's see...is there a way to describe that career path in a way that will make people take you less seriously? Tiny horsey boo-boo kisser?
Funny, among all these [noun]-doctors, I failed to see doctor. Is medicine really so dull that we have to dress it up with babies and ponies?
And then I saw the ultimate anti-feminist kick in the nads, the rancid icing on this crap cupcake. With all these wonderful careers to choose from, what have we forgotten? Oh, yeah:
So we got her a Rapunzel doll...and a plastic hammer that lights up when you hit things. She likes them both, and I think I'm okay with that.