Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Yesterday, Amy posted I'm sick of heterosexism too, a very thought-provoking and challenging post. My reaction while reading consisted of several "Yes, that's true, but" and "Yes, but" responses.

My first instinct was to email her to discuss the post. But over time I've learned that when the "Yes, but" reaction hits that hard, I've got plenty of thinking to do. Rather than just throwing my thoughts at Amy, I've decided to do a post on the subject. (Amy, if you read this, you just avoided a long, rambling, and nonsensical email. Whew!) However, the issues are still percolating in my brain, so I'm not ready to do the post yet. Also, I'm not in a serious enough mood today.

In thinking about all of these issues, I remembered an "incident" that reflects my values and beliefs in childhood. To set the stage, you need to know that I played withh Barbie dolls, but I followed certain parameters. For instance, Barbie owned and ran a horse ranch, always. Barbie was not married, and she did not have kids. But she had horses. An entire herd of Breyer horses belonged to Barbie, the lucky woman.

Ken, the incredibly boring boyfriend

Duchess, the Clydesdale mare who served as lead mare for the entire herd. She always knew the best spots for grazing, and could keep order amongst the horses. Strong and wise, she could put her hoof down when she needed to.

One more thing you need to know: I've always been overly honest, and in addition to that, my mother always told us we'd be in a LOT more trouble for doing something wrong and lying about it than we would if we told the truth. The result was constant truth-telling, no matter how painful the truth was.

I was in my room playing, and my mom came in.

Mom: "Why is Ken in bed with Barbie?"

spotted elephant: "They're having sex. That's whey their clothes are on the floor."

I picked up Barbie and Ken, and dressed both of them. Ken left, and was tossed to the side.

Mom: "Where's Ken going?"

SE: "Oh, they're finished having sex now. Barbie wants Ken to leave."

Mom, starting to look very upset: "Doesn't Barbie want Ken around?"

SE, getting irritated that Mom isn't getting it: "Barbie has a whole group of horses to move to a better pasture today. She has work to do!"

Mom: "But Ken could help."

SE: "He doesn't know ANYTHING about horses. He'd get in the way. He might cause one of the horses to get hurt!"

Mom: "Barbie only wants Ken around for sex?!"

SE: "Yeah, why else would she want him around?"

Mom runs from the room, and would never, ever discuss this incident again.

I still have Duchess.


Amy's Brain Today said...

Hilarious story! I'm actually looking forward to hearing what you think about my post. And you can send me rambling emails any day. :)

spotted elephant said...

Thanks, Amy!

But the way my thoughts are jumbled-I'm arguing with myself-I'm not sure you would have liked this email. Rambling is one thing, incomprehensible another. :)

tekanji said...

hahaha, you made my day.

I don't think any of my barbies (or ken dolls) kept their clothing for more than a few minutes. But they all had sex with each other. Often in group settings. If I had paid more attention to my barbies I may have realized a few things about myself earlier in life....

hexyhex said...

tekanji: Me too! My barbies were all shaved headed, tattood dykes who were neatly paired up in happy lesbian relationships. I had one ken doll, who was someone's celibate brother. You think my mum would have put two and two together and realised her daughter wasn't going to grow up into a nuclear hubbie and two kids kinda girl. :)

le lyons said...

Literally, laughing out loud. Hilarious. I wish I had a story like that (will try my best to think of one now).

I also am planning a response post to Amy's...I didn't have "yes, but" reaction so much as the slow nodding, "fuck yeah" reaction.

I look forward to reading your post!

spotted elephant said...

Tekanji-Yeah-who knew how important play was?

Hexyhex-I love the role that Ken played for you! Did you get in trouble for chopping off their hair? I hope not. But I would have. :(

spotted elephant said...

le lyons-I'm anxious to read yours too. We ought to have a carnival on Amy's post!

hexyhex said...

Mum tried to rouse on me for it once, but I pointed out that I had other Barbies with long hair, and that they just liked to present themselves differently. She couldn't really yell at me for that without sounding like she didn't want her daughter to have individuality. :)

Biting Beaver said...

Oooh! I had Duchess too!!! I remember being VERY irritated at Barbies feet. With those molded feet it was impossible for her to get her heels down in a good riding position *grin*.

I also remember being angry at her clothes. They simply were not riding clothes, after all how in the hell can you ride Duchess in an evening gown and high-heeled feet?

I think I ultimately cut her hair and ripped her feet off. At least then she couldn't have an improper foot placement *grin*.

And to this day I still have the 'get your heels down' thing. My kids will probably tell you how, every time I gave them lessons in the pasture, I was incessently saying, "Get those heels down!!" hehe.

Kim said...

"He doesn't know ANYTHING about horses. He'd get in the way. He might cause one of the horses to get hurt!"

Mom: "Barbie only wants Ken around for sex?!"

SE: "Yeah, why else would she want him around?"

Oh my God--I have a new Shero (that's "she" and "hero" smashed together--where the hell do I get this stuff?) and her name is SPOTTED ELY-PHANT!

That is too funny and rather true. There are no men involved in my horsey circle at all, I must say.

And I had that same Breyer Clyde at a kid--named her "Chestnut" very orignal. Got rid of her. Bought her again on eBay a few years ago.

I have about 200 Breyers today.
Bumble drawing--must remember!

manxome said...

Great story, SE!

Barbie was just a prop for scale in my endless pursuit to create interesting environments. The apartments, the cars, the pup tents and cruise ships and all the accessories were all but base materials for my projects.

Buttercup said...

So funny. I can relate: My Barbie was the head of a harem of Kens.

Aishwarya said...


I only ever had one Barbie...couldn't be bothered with Ken. I lost Barbie's head and a couple of her limbs and ended up with a one-legged torso.

le lyons said...

SE - haha, we probably could! I would be afraid that it would turn into a whole bunch of negativity though...Your post was awesome.

Manxome - I did the same thing! I would get markers and draw floorplans on the floor of my bedroom (I had a big bedroom). The only other proper reflection I have been able to come up with is that all of my barbies were child-free. That's something...

I'm still not funny though. Must work on that. Note to self.

le lyons said...

oh - and in case that wasn't clear - I didn't use the ink of the markers to draw floorplans, I would line the markers up top to bottom to create floorplans. My mom (and dad) would have killed me if I actually drew on their fancy carpet. I wasn't even allowed to bleed on the damn carpet. If I was hurt they were all "Ack! Go outside, you're bleeding on the carpet!"

Sorry, didn't mean to start analyzing my childhood there.

spotted elephant said...

Hexyhex-How smart of you!

BB-That heels down command is impossible to overcome. I haven't been on a horse in almost 20 years (that hurts to say), but it's still with me. Now, doing yoga, I can't believe the stretch I used to get in my calves from heels down!

Kaka-Thanks. (blushes) ebay is deadly for renewing collections. I have no room, so I'm trying not to start up with the Breyers, but then I discovered the Mesteno line. Sigh. Always been a sucker for mustangs.

Manxome-I love that. Barbie as a prop for your greater projects. Very creative play-no patriarchy for you as a girl. ;)

Buttercup: Bwahahahahaha! A harem.

Aishwarya-Wow, you could think of your barbie as an experiment to recreate how we view the female body.

I just gave myself a headache.

le lyons-You are too funny. And my mother was like that too. I never got to play with play-doh because it would make a mess. Guess what I made a beeline for at friends' houses?

hexyhex said...

le lyons: My mum had the same attitude with running and lamps. It was as though she had radar to detect our speeds... as soon as a kid sped up past normal walking speed, we'd hear a shriek of "Mind my lamps!"

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