When I was little, I loved playing with Barbies. I have an entire box full of Barbies and a ton of accessories to go with them. I spent hours playing with them every day. Now, don’t get me wrong. I grew up with a brother who also had an entire box of Legos, and I played with those just as much as I played with my Barbies. I never really thought anything of it. I enjoyed playing with both. My mom has kept both boxes for my brother and I after all of these years.
Both boxes have been sitting in my parent’s attic for over twenty years now, and the other day, my mom finally decided to get them down. I brought both boxes back to my house. The moment I got the box of Legos out and opened it up, my oldest son lost his mind. He started grabbing everything that he could out of the box to take it to the table to play. He played with the Legos for the rest of the day. He was so excited. As the days went on, he continued to ask me if he could play with them. He has always been a fan of blocks, so I knew he would love Legos.
I put the box of Barbies in my spare bedroom, because, well, I didn’t really think that he would care too much about them. The spare bedroom is also my office space, so I often spend a lot of time there. The other night while I was at my desk, both of my boys came in there to see me. My oldest was the one that noticed the box of Barbies sitting on the bed. He immediately hopped up there to look inside.
“Mommy! What is this?” He asked me with such excitement in his voice. I let him know that those were my Barbies from when I was a little girl. As he started to peak into the box, his eyes lit up. “Can I play with them?” He asked me as he slowly started opening the box. He stopped and looked at me until I answered him. As soon as I told him that he could play with them, he started digging in.
My youngest son hopped up there with him. Both of them grabbed the first thing that they saw out of the box, and brought it into the living room to play. The next day, I brought the entire box into the living room. I set the box on the floor so that they could play with whatever they wanted.
My oldest son treated my Barbies like they were his little action figures. He played with them the same way that he plays with all of his other toys. He didn’t think anything about them being girls with colorful dresses on. One of the Barbies that I have changes colors in warm and cold water, so of course he played with that one the most, because it reminded him of his color changing Hotwheels car.
The stigma surrounding boys playing with dolls, and girls playing with action figures is honestly sad. There are so many people don’t allow their children to play with toys that are targeted toward another gender.
In my opinion, it is no different than a son wanting to try to walk around the house in his mom’s high heels, or a daughter wanting to try on her dad’s work boots. Kids will play with anything that you give them. My oldest son understands that pink, girly Barbies are obviously for girls, but he doesn’t care about that-because he is three.
Sure, the older our kids get, the more they will develop their own feelings toward things. And I am sure my boys will think Barbies are “gross” within the next couple of years. But they are young, and they don’t care about things like that right now. So why not let them play with girly toys? They have active imaginations, and I will never refuse to let them play with certain toys, just because they are made for girls.