Sunday 16 November 2014

Barbies and writing

November 16, 2014


Barbies may seem like a silly topic to write about. Especially when I'm supposed to be writing a novel. It's my blogging day. First I blog, and then I novel write. This is important too, and if I leave my blogging, I might not get back to it in the way I'd like. I'm proud of myself for sticking to this blog, even though, at times, the posts were slow going (and some days boring). 

Today, I want to write about Barbies.

It actually has quite a lot to do with my writing, strangely enough. (Or, I've had a lot of lack of sleep, and my brain is making strange connections.)

First of all, I read A LOT of blogs. I've read more than one post about Barbies. I've heard more than one complaint about Barbies. You know what? I'm sick of it.

I played with Barbie my entire childhood (admittedly, longer than I should have.) I'm biased, I guess. I'm not sure if her name was ever Barbie -I'm sure I renamed her. I had a lot of them. Mostly Barbies, a few Skippers, and even less Kens. 

I never watched any Barbie cartoons, and she never had the dream house in the You Tube commercial below. My grandpa gave us a house for our Barbies. I'll have to find a picture of it because it was much better than the dream house. And it wasn't pink.

Before I get to why Barbie has done nothing but inspire my writing, I have to say one thing about growing up with Barbie. She was never a role model. I never looked at her, and thought, I hope I have breasts as big as her, and a waist as small as hers, or a face as pretty as hers, or hair as perfect. I never once looked at her body, and thought, she's so perfect, I'll never be as great as her. Maybe it was because, my Barbies had flaws (especially after I chopped off their hair.) None of them were perfect, none of them had perfect lives. They usually got what they wanted (well, not all of them, they often fought over Ken, and only one ever won.) But they were never something I looked at and thought, boy I hope I look like that when I grow up. Both Barbie and I knew that life wasn't always fair, but we kept on going. 

I know people sometimes write about why they won't let their kids play with Barbies. Partially because of her unrealistic looks. Maybe my mom just did a really good job at making me realise that my looks weren't everything. Maybe I knew, I'd never be Barbie. I don't think I ever wanted to be Barbie though. I also don't look at magazines, and think, I want to be like the movie star with the perfect hair, the perfect body, and the perfect life. I know they don't have perfect lives. Neither did my Barbies. 

This particular rant is only to say, I did okay. I grew up liking to play with my Barbies, and I didn't end up with any weird need to have the perfect body. I didn't look at Barbie at any age and think I wanted a body like hers. I was well aware that she did not have a vagina. Boobs only get you so far. (The woman who has had surgery to look like Barbie - she's another story). I've wanted to defend these dolls for a long time, but never had a reason to. 

I mean, Barbies have nothing to do with writing, do they? So how can I blog about her?

Obviously, I have a purpose with this post. And it is that Barbies do help me with my writing. She doesn't so much now, but before I knew how to write, I was making up stories with my Barbie dolls. I used to play with my cousin when she came to visit, and my sister and I played with Barbies all the time. When nobody was around to play with me, I'd play alone. It only takes one person to make up stories with dolls. I always preferred Barbies to Dolls because they had a slightly more human feeling to them. I made stories up from the start, and continued giving them drama until I was too old for Barbies. I'd say the age, but I actually don't know.

Before I knew I had stories in me to tell, I was telling them with my Barbies. My love for storytelling started from childhood. I wouldn't go so far as to give her credit for the great stories in my head, and I also don't think any of my characters look or act like any of the Barbies. I can't remember any particulars about the lives I gave them, but I know they weren't perfect lives. Life isn't perfect, and I knew that a long time ago. That's what makes it so fun. 

I don't usually do this, but I'm going to leave this post with a quote from what I'm writing. The quote won't give a lot of insight into the story, but maybe into the characters.

My main character (Jenna) has a 12 year old sister. She is still innocent, and not at all ready to start being a teenager, but has moments of wisdom. This is one of them:

"When you talk to me it makes me feel like I’m not a kid.”
“You aren’t.” I looked at her. “But, Jasmine, I don’t think you need to grow up quite so quickly. Being a kid isn’t a bad thing.”
          She laughed. “Jenna, I don’t think anybody NEEDS to grow up. Being a kid just means you have fun. Grown ups sometimes forget how to do that, but it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about me growing up too quickly. I’ll never forget how to have fun. I might even teach you how to do it.”   

That's actually where I am in the novel, so I've got to get back at it. I've got to get back to my month of NanoWrimo. I'm at 40,000 words!

Since Barbie isn't actually real (and I know that, in case this post is making me seem crazy), I do need to thank my mom for buying me tons of Barbies, encouraging me my entire life, and giving me a realistic view of my body. I knew I didn't look like Barbie (or any other gorgeous actor). Not only that, but I was okay with it. I love what I look like. 

Thanks for reading my rant/ode to Barbie. 

Why don't they make a book writing Barbie?

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

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