What age are Barbie dolls appropriate for? My DD will be turning five next month and want one (or a lot of them really). I think she is still a little young for them, I am mostly concerned about body image, etc and my DH is dead set against them. If it were up to him she would never get any. A few of her friends turned five recently and got some  for their birthday parties which is where my daughter first saw them.

Anyways, are you for or against Barbies? Am I overreacting? I did have a few Barbies when growing up but I didn't get any until I was 7 or 8.

Re: Barbies???

  • I think 5 is a fine age to get a Barbie doll.  My sisters and I played with them and I don't see a problem with them though.  I will hold out as long as I can though!  I just prefer baby dolls.  But it is a different kind of imaginitve play with Barbies vs doll I will let her have both.

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  • I had an older sister, so I'm sure I got them younger.  My DD has 2 - a ballerina one and a horseback riding one.  They are not my favorite toy or hers.  She plays w/ them occassionally, but not often.  We bought her the horseback riding one b/c we saw it at a store and she loves horses.  the ballerina one was a gift. 

    I'm not making any hard and fast rules about any toys really - if she wants a Barbie, I'll get her one, but I'll pick one I think is appropriate.  And, we'll talk about it too. She needs to know that's not how normal women look but I don't want her to be the one girl who doesn't have a Barbie either.

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  • hocushocus
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker

    If my kid asked for a barbie or ken doll I'd get it now and she's 3. 

    get why parents don't like barbies but I think it makes it a bigger deal to reject them than to just have them and talk about bodies and "real" vs. "pretend". Barbie is a pretend. She doesn't look like a real person  and neither does elmo or her spiderman or most of her other toys..

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  • Mom of older kids chiming in here!

    If you're ok with Barbie, 5 is probably fine.  But you actually seem uneasy with Barbies, and your H is totally against them.  So maybe you need to think twice about giving them to your DD.  If YOU give them as a gift, you'll be sending a powerful message to your child that you think these are "good toys" and that you are encouraging her to play with them.  If you don't think they're "good toys" then don't give them.

    I didn't have Barbies as a kid.  My mom was against them. It was not a big deal, and I don't feel I missed out on all that much. When my friends played Barbies, I played along, but I just had to borrow one of their spare dolls.  No biggie.

    We did not plan on getting my DD Barbies.  But she has received a two of them as gifts from other people.  We didn't make a big deal out of it, and we let her keep them. She played with them both when she got them, but they mostly wound up in the toy box.  Incidentally, one was a "baby doctor" Barbie, and she came with all the delivery room stuff. 

    If your DD is asking for them, maybe talk to her about it. What, exactly, does she think is "neat" about Barbies?  Is it that her friends have them?  That they come with clothes?  That they're "fancy?"  Maybe you can find some other toy that would satisfy what she's looking for and still be okay with you and your H.  

    Secondary English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

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  • I don't see the problem with Barbies.  Ditto PP who said no toys looks like a real person. DD got some as gifts when she turned 4. I got her Cinderella and Jasmine barbies since she loves the charaters.  DD plays Princess with them.  She prefers other toys.  

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  • I am anti Barbie. My MIL has bought LO some Barbie brand dolls that are more little girl ish, no figure to them. Not loving even that but I'll deal. If she gets one as a gift at a birthday I will not throw it out but I will not buy them or encourage them. There are much better dolls IMO for pretend play and whatnot. I'm not militant about the body image thing because let's be honest: Movies and comics about superheroes don't exactly promote a realistic body image for boys either, yet they don't seem to suffer, so I'm not going to blame Barbie. I just don't like spending so much money on a brand when there are more creative versions out there for less money.

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  • DD has 2 ballerina barbies (she got them as gifts maybe when she was 3) and then she got another mermaid one for her 4th birthday.  Shes' got a snow white barbie like doll too.  I think 5 is an ok age, as long as you're ok with it.

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  • jlw2505jlw2505
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments Combo Breaker 5 Love Its
    I have no issue with Barbie and grew up playing with them as did my friends.  None of us have body issues.  Body issues come from the real people in life, not a doll, in opinion.  Don't make life about how your DD looks but how she feels, how active she is, if she is happy and all that stuff vs her weight and how her outfits look on her.  Back to Barbie, 5 is a totally fine age for Barbie's.  My older DD was around 4-5 when she got her first one and my younger DD was younger due to big sis having them.  I recall both getting at least 1 for their 4th birthday and it being huge at bday #5 and #6 for my older DD.  Her 7th bday is coming up and I am really wondering if she will still get a bunch (only a handful of friends coming to the party).  My girls love them although they are not played with a ton.  They do need help when they change the dolls clothes but they are like that with their American Girl dolls as well although they can do some of it.  My 5 year old has a few of her Barbie's that they sleep with but most are in a toy box in the play room.  We do have a bunch of the Barbie books and movie's and the girls LOVE them.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • I'm neutral on Barbie. I was never super into Barbies as a kid. I wouldn't have bought any for DD unless/until she really showed interest, but she ended up getting a giant set of 7 Disney princess Barbies for Christmas from someone. Go figure, she loves them. She's 4 and the clothes are still hard for her to use and the pieces are too small and easy to lose. I would have waited longer. But whatever. She also then got a set of "career"/action Barbie clothes at the next holiday from the same people, so those are cool--astronaut, SCUBA diver, karate outfit, etc.

    She still doesn't really know Barbie as a brand and just thinks of the dolls as her princesses, I.e. "The princesses have to take their naps now." 

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  • ncbellencbelle
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
    I had Barbies as a kid but as of right now, I have no plans to buy them for my kids.  For me it's more the commercialization thing than just the body thing although that bugs me too - it's not just that her body is unrealistic; it's about the fact that it's "sexed up" and her "thing" is fashion and beauty.  But I also don't like "princess" culture (which I think is way more overbearing than it was when I was a kid in the 80s) so that skews my viewpoint as well ;)
  • I have no problem with Barbie. I think a lot of the appeal is that there are so many different accessories. DD1 got her first Barbies from us around 4 years. I actually found a bunch of multicultural "Barbies" on clearance when she was really little and bought them all. They came with the traditional outfits for their culture, which I thought was pretty cool. The only thing I wish now was that every play set didn't come with the same blonde haired blue eyed Barbie.

    I had lots of Barbies growing up, and my mom even built us a huge Barbie house. I don't remember every looking at Barbie and thinking that's what my body should look like.

    DD2 started playing with her sister's Barbies at 2.5 years. She likes to have them drive a car or take a shower or swim in their pool... It's no different to her than the Plan Toys dollhouse we have. She plays with both equally.
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  • image ncbelle:
    I had Barbies as a kid but as of right now, I have no plans to buy them for my kids.  For me it's more the commercialization thing than just the body thing although that bugs me too - it's not just that her body is unrealistic; it's about the fact that it's "sexed up" and her "thing" is fashion and beauty.  But I also don't like "princess" culture (which I think is way more overbearing than it was when I was a kid in the 80s) so that skews my viewpoint as well ;)

    All of this! The body thing is weird to me (it's design is based on a german s@x toy, kind of creepy), but not the biggest issue. The commercialization/princess culture is so much more today than when we were kids, there is a great book that deals with this issue called "Cinderella Ate my Daughter." 

    That said, I won't hold my daughter back if she really wants any toy, that just makes them more appealing. I'm just not pushing them or remotely encouraging them. 

  • If you do not get them for her now, she will never play with them.  My niece is 8 turning 9 and will not play with them anymore.  She says that she is not a child anymore.

    I so sad at this statement cause I can remember playing with dolls till I was at least 10 maybe almost 12 Embarrassed

    But if you don't feel ok having your DD playing with them then buy a dress-up doll that you are ok with, like polly pocket or something like that. 

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  • LoCarbLoCarb
    5000 Comments 250 Answers Sixth Anniversary 100 Love Its
    DD1 (4) loves barbies but rarely plays with hers. They are similar to the princess dolls so I think age 5 is appropriate. DD1 rec'd her 1st princess doll at 2.5
    Mommy of two girls: DD1 4/14/9 DD2 4/15/11
  • DD got her first Barbie at 6.  Its def a part of social play for us.  DD and her 3 closest friends love, love, love to play in DD's doll house with Barbie & Ken and sometimes other dolls.   I have noticed DD's friends getting into Monster High..that I am unsure of.  
    Turning 3!!!
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