Thursday, April 23, 2015

Children’s Program Review: Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse

by M. J. Joachim

Materialism and supreme self-indulgence were among the first words that came to mind when I watched Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse. I’ve never been a huge fan of Barbie anyway - negative self image messages aside, she never fit the bill for what I believe woman should aspire to be.

Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse is a major disappointment, and for many more reasons than one might think. Let me share the short list, which you can expand upon simply by adding anything and everything related to the same categories.

  • Male and female stereotypes (extremely dated, outdated and everything in between)
  • Dumb characters (literally acting beyond stupid in their roles)
  • Vanity (promoted, expected and influenced as a positive attribute for anyone watching)
  • Greed (strongly encouraged)
  • Immediate satisfaction (everything is easy, no one has to work, life is about getting what you want NOW)
  • Sexuality exploitation (girls getting way too girlie to please and keep the boys; boys being way too macho for their own good to get attention from the girls - Mattel makes money on this message)
  • Infighting (Who knew there were so many sides in the Barbie Wars?!)
  • False self image (girls don’t and never will really look like that; neither will boys)
I could go on…

Instead I’ll simply say that if there were a list of shows trying to dumb down our kids, this one would definitely be near or at the top of the list.

I know there are a lot of Barbie fans out there; I also know there’s a whole lot of money to be made on collectible Barbies and I’m pretty sure Barbie is one of Mattel’s most successful toy lines. Well, I guess we can surmise why this show made the airwaves. Follow the money trail. Such a sad state of affairs when money is so much more important than providing our kids with positive and meaningful messages in their program choices.

Here’s to raising healthy, happy and educated kids, regardless of any message the toy market sends their way.

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Barbie Dreamhouse, Barry Haynes, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 License