“I don’t like Barbie.”
“Oh, what?” I glanced in the rearview mirror at the girl in the purple dress and pink cowboy boots.
“She said she doesn’t like Barbie,” interpreted her older sister from further back in the minivan. “She doesn’t think that Barbie is,” she searched for a word, “realistic.”
I nodded to myself and smiled. “It is nice”, I thought quietly, “having children that are sensitive to the negative effects of an unattainable body image and the overwhelming fixation that our society has on physical appearance when it comes to-” But my thoughts were interrupted.
“She doesn’t like her teeth!”
“I’m sorry, what?” I tipped my head to the side and tried to hear them more clearly over the road noise.
“Barbie’s teeth! Lydia doesn’t like Barbie because her teeth are yucky.”
“Yes,” Lydia agreed, “Her teeth are all gross. We have a game we found, on the computer, and Barbie is at the dentist and you have to fix her teeth and you can tell…” she shook her head sadly, “Barbie doesn’t floss.”
We drove on in silence for a few moments while I changed lanes and struggled to come to terms with this new revelation concerning Barbie.
“Yeah,” Clara continued, “And it’s weird to me because we were at the store the other day, and I saw Barbie and she was a dentist! So she obviously used to be a dentist at some point, but now she isn’t. But she still doesn’t floss! You’d think she of all people would know better.”
“And tell them about the windows,” Lydia said, quietly encouraging her sister. Obviously, this was something they had already discussed previously.
“Oh, yeah, the windows! So, in this other Barbie game, Barbie’s friends keep accidentally breaking the windows in her house and she has to keep fixing them over and over. But, like, I don’t understand how she can afford it because it’s in the middle of the day, and she is at home, so she obviously doesn’t have a job now. So, how can she afford to fix so many windows? Windows are really expensive! That’s not very realistic, right?”
“Yes,” I confirmed, “windows are expensive. And you’re right, I don’t know how Barbie can afford to keep fixing them since she no longer has a job. Not since she was fired from being a dentist because she doesn’t believe in flossing.”