February 28, 2011

The Trouble With Fairies

I wonder why anyone
suspected Ken was gay?
Last week was President's Week, so Moe had the week off from school. He started the week with a cold that he generously shared with Jelly. And lest the dog be left out, we ended the weekend with an emergency trip to the vet for Berkeley, who has a nice case of conjunctivitis. Fortunately, that appears to be viral in nature, probably not contagious to us, though it does require an ointment. Not drops. An ointment. That I have to put directly into her eye.

Earlier in the week I was concerned because Moe wasn't eating much. He seemed hungry but every time we sat down to eat, he pushed the food away, even more than usual. I wanted to make sure he didn't have a really sore throat that might need medical attention. So I loaded the kids in the car and drove to McDonald's. This decision was entirely based on my son's medical needs and not at all because I was feeling lazy and needed to get out of the house, even to just go through the drive-thru. And sure enough, Moe scarfed down his nuggets and fries, indicating that he was grumpy and picky, not very sick. Who needs medical school?

On this trip to McDonald's, I got the kids a happy meal to share, and although I got the toy for boys (a matchbox car), the packaging has both the "boy" and "girl" themes. The girl theme this time was some kind of Barbie fairies and said: "Carrie is a Purse Fairy because her favorite accessory is purses. Taylor is a Shoe Fairy because her favorite accessory is shoes."

Let's think about this for a minute. Does that mean the Tooth Fairy's favorite accessory is teeth? And more importantly, really, Mattel? After the whole "math is tough" debacle, couldn't you at least try to mix in a Book Fairy or some kind of Good Deed Fairy? In the name of research, I decided to look up these Barbie Fairies and see what they are all about. It turns out they are characters in a Barbie movie, and Carrie and Taylor are not just fairies, but movie star Barbie's stylists, so they are, at least, career women. For Taylor "the more fabulous her shoes, the stronger her magic is."

Despite her frightening proportions, I've never been that offended by Barbie, certainly not any more than the size 0 mannequins in every clothing store window (though don't get me started on those slutty Bratz dolls). And honestly, I see nothing wrong with accessorizing. I'll even admit that for a moment I wished that the Shoe Fairy would pay me a visit. But the jump from "shoe fairy" to little girls believing that they get their power from their shoes, rather than their brains, is so small I can almost reach out and touch the stripper pole.

The stereotypes seem to go on and on, with Raquelle trying to steal the spotlight from Barbie, because women always have to take each other down, right? I am kind of interested in Princess Graciella, the "Fairy Princess of Gloss Angeles," who, with a name like that, must be a pretty cool drag queen. Look, I don't expect Barbie to teach my daughter science, but I thought we had progressed at least a little further than this.

I was grateful for one clarification, however. After Ken and Barbie's seven year separation, their reconciliation was made official on Valentine's Day of this year when Barbie changed her Facebook status to "in a relationship." Despite this, there has always been some debate about Ken's sexual orientation. This movie seems to clarify things for us: "Funny, hip and super cool - he can handle any situation...even being snatched away by fairies!"

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

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