The new Girl Scout Barbie is due to roll out in stores this week. Consumer groups, as well as some people involved with Girl Scouts, are pushing back against it. Last year, a “Barbie, I can be anything” fun patch for Daisies and Brownies came out. Which created some very mixed feelings.
The requirements for this fun patch are that the girls complete a booklet to match up their character traits with the careers they’re best suited for. The girls then come up with an idea for a Girl Scout badge and possible real world applications. It really is a great fun patch, but my troop has not worked on this “fun” patch as my troop’s focus has been in earning official Girl Scout Badges and Journey’s.
Some believe that this is not a good match or model for our girl scouts, saying this Barbie undermines the Girl Scouts mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character. Others believe this is a great way to get girls interested in Girls Scouts.
In a clip from the Today Show, one Mom said “I think if girls didn’t identify with Barbie, it might create a problem for us as parents, but girls love them. They represent what they love, it’s a win-win.”
In March, Ana Marie Chavez, CEO of GSUSA told Parade magazine “I see girls lobbying town hall to build a safer crosswalk for their elementary school. My world, when I was a kid, was my backyard. Their world is the globe”. “We are tying the fun girls have playing with Barbie to an opportunity to gain insight into the careers of today and tomorrow, through patches and discovery along the way,”
I looked up all of Barbie’s careers on Wikipedia, she’s been portrayed as everything from a babysitter, a teacher, a pilot, a military officer, an Ambassador for World Peace, a Scientist, to a Computer Engineer.
Upon seeing a picture of the Girl Scout Barbie, my initial thought was “why couldn’t they have made her a troop leader (since she’s obviously an adult) and made younger Barbie dolls as the girl scouts (her troop) and what’s with all the pink?” However, when I showed my daughter a picture of Girl Scout Barbie, she said “oh, that’s neat”. So, Girl Scout Barbie is obviously Girl Scout approved. Just like the Girl Scout Build-a-Bear. Maybe it’s just a feeling of being represented in the world.
I am not going to sit here a bash on Girl Scout Barbie or GSUSA for this partnership. I don’t think my 7 year old wants to grow up and be Barbie any more then she wants to grow up and be a Build-a-bear. However, I do believe that the mere thought of Barbie brings to mind a definite stereotype that Girl Scouts volunteers work so hard to overcome.
It is just a toy but I do wish that GSUSA could work up a partnership to endorse other types of toys: explorer toys, scientist toys, detective toys, how about some veterinarian toys or….. camping toys. I think those types of toys would better represent some of what Girl Scouts do at the Daisy, Brownie and Junior levels (the target audience for Barbies). It would also sit so much better with the volunteers that guide the Girl Scout programming and consumer groups alike. on the flip side, If my daughter wants a Girl Scout Barbie, that’s fine with me.
I must say this again, I am not trying to bash on the Girl Scout Barbie or GSUSA. I love Girl Scouts. I love the program and everything it does for our girls. I love the overall message it sends. I am not going to let a Barbie get in the way of my overall thoughts of such an important part of my girls life. I am proud to represent Girl Scouts by being a volunteer for my service unit and to be a Troop Leader. Girl Scouting helps more then the girls involved, it helps the adults involved as well. By the way, Barbie, I love the handbag.
What are your feelings and thoughts are on this partnership and the possible image it creates?