This Tattooed Mama’s Defense of Tattoo Barbie

(image from article)

My history with Barbie is strange, much like my history with everything else. :p The big deal with my parents was I used my allowance to buy my own Barbie and she was White. My family only got me African American Barbie dolls so I could have toys that “looked like me.” That is in quotes because I am biracial and have an olive complexion. NO mainstream doll looks like me.

But I digress…

Now the parents are whining and complaining that this collectable has tattoos. I won’t lie, when I was a kid, I wanted tattoos. They were in the vending machines with the candy, they came free with comics I bought, in party favors, and on men AND women I’d see in my day to day kid life. Barbie didn’t make me want a damn thing except more Barbies. I didn’t even play “Barbie” with them. Me and my best friend had basket ball games and played X-Men with them.

I dunno if Barbie gave me poor body image (I think it was more likely the boys calling me a “charging buffalo”) but I can tell you it was the TATTOOS that made me wanna get tattoos. Not some stupid doll. I thought the temporary ones were fun but I always wanted one that wouldn’t peel and go away. My mother said “Not till you’re 18” figuring I’d get over it. The summer I turned 18, I got my first tattoo. Was my mother pleased? FUCK no!! But as an adult, I can make shittastic decisions.

Now that I’m 30, I STILL love that first tattoo and have gotten three more (most recently Monday night). Every one is of spiritual importance to me.

“What are you gonna do when you get old?” Easy, I will be old and have tattoos. Duh.

“What about the risk of disease?” If you go to a clean, reputable place and take good care of your skin art, this is a non issue.

“What if you get sick of it?” I go by the hard an fast rule of picking a design and waiting 3-6 months. If I still like it after that time, I go for it. It also gives me time to save up the money.

“What if your kid says SHE wants one.” I will tell her the same thing my Ma told me: “When you’re 18.” With the added caveat to not get any damn trendy tattoos, go to a clean place with a good reputation, and don’t ask me to pay for it.

Right now, my kid is 4. She does like tattoos but said flat out she only likes the temporary ones. On the other hand, she complements strangers on their tattoos if she likes them. She doesn’t think tattoos are bad things, just something people can have. Or not.

The mere possession of tattoos doesn’t make me a bad mother. There are plenty of ways I can screw up my kids (I’m sure there’s some hair pulling when I say I include her in my Pagan traditions) but what I mark MY skin with is not one of them.

Bottom line: If you are so terrified that a doll will forever ruin your child’s life, the problem isn’t the doll, it’s you. I don’t expect tokidoki to do my parenting for me. If my daughter is doing/saying/watching something I don’t agree with, I tell her so! She tells her teacher her mama thinks Sponge Bob is bad and won’t let her watch it. You wanna let your kid watch it? Fine. I don’t judge. But if we’re going to teach our girls they can be anything they want (and Barbie’s been a doctor and even a NASCAR driver!!!) they can certainly have tattoos if they want them.

And honestly, people… It’s a DOLL. Just don’t buy it if you don’t like it.

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