04 August 2007

There's Idiotic, and Then There's Wrong, Here We Have Both.

I received this comment yesterday on the Anointed Barbies post and it took me a moment to decide what to do with it. My first instinct was to delete it immediately, but then I thought that maybe I should just reply to it in the comments section, which I did, but then I found that it was still bugging me, so I thought I'd post about all the reasons why this person is wrong - about me, about my children, and about many of you, dear readers.

Posted by Anonymous, 3 August 2007.
It is pretty irresponsible of you to force your adult views of Barbies onto your young children. I found this entire "burial" highly disturbing on many levels. It seems to me that you and your fellow "blogging mommies" are a bit too bitter that you're mommies at all...

It's not mean, just...wrong. The reasons are too many to tackle in paragraph form, we're gonna have to go with bullets:
  • My views on Barbies are complex and not even close to represented in this post. The idea for the mummification and burial - while I would love to take credit - were not mine. Eden had been reading a book about Ancient Egypt and wanted to do the project. She knew we had done art projects with Barbies in the past, so it just seemed to make sense. Naturally I was enthusiastic about the idea.

  • I am not bitter. It just doesn't suit me.

  • None of the "blogging mommies" who I read daily (I'm guessing you don't) are bitter either. Being a mother may not be all sunshine and roses, but we all love our children. And I think I speak for most of us when I say that if the stories on our blog tend toward the whiny, or the I-can't-believe-my-own-spawn-did-this-to-me, it is merely because one of the joys of blogging is the knowledge that we are not alone. Being a mother, especially of young children can be isolating, and blogging takes the edge off.

  • I'm not sure what these "levels" are of which you speak. But if the idea of death freaks you out, don't worry, you're not alone. However, while death may be a hush-hush topic in many households across our relatively repressed nation, it's not in mine. I'm not saying my views of death are healthier than yours, just that to deny the possibility of alternate views is naive and close minded, that's all.
  • Oh, and just so we're clear, one more thing on my "adult views of Barbies." It doesn't matter that you know nothing of what those views actually are, the point is this, if my views are different than those of corporate/commercial America (and they often are) wouldn't it be "irresponsible" of me to conceal them from my children? Pretend that the messages delivered to our children on an almost hourly basis are all just fine and good? I have many, many issues with the corporate culture in which we live. In fact, my children don't watch TV (except for videos), is that irresponsible as well? To deny them free access to all that Hasbro and Mattel and Fox and Disney have to offer? I don't know if you have children (I'm guessing not) but to unquestioningly accept everything that the world has to offer and not temper it with your own views and beliefs, that's not parenting.
All right, I think that about does it. Unless you all can think of anything else!


Queen Heather said...

I have a word or two I'd like to add.

I'd like to express my "adult views" on people who post snarky comments under Anonymous.

Chicken shit.

Nell, I think your daughter is brilliant to have read that book then do such a creative project. And she has a brilliant mom that lets her explore her creative ideas.

nell said...

Small Clarification:

Eden, while similar to me in many ways, is Andrea's daughter. I cannot take credit for her brilliance.

Annika said...

I have something to add: mind your own damn business.

Oh, and also - Eden showed me that book, and it is the book's suggestion to use Barbies (though it doesn't name the brand specifically). So maybe this person's time would be better spent leaving anonymous comments at the publisher's website. While s/he is at it, let me just say that the book also had some watercolor projects and a piece of sun paper with which we made a print of some leaves yesterday. Which was OBVIOUSLY BRAINWASHING.

Annika said...

OK, I hate to harp on this, but if it's irresponsible to "force" our "adult views on our children, then what about religion?

Jen said...

I'm a little shocked myself that someone would have a problem with the Barbie burial. (And I say that as a hard core Barbie lover.) I fail to see how little girls pretending to mummifyastic doll is disturbing or upsetting. And I certainly don't see how it demonstrates that you're at all "bitter" about being a mother.

The nice things about comments like this is that they make so little sense that you can really just write the whole thing off as mindless blathering.

Andrea said...

First off, Congratulations Nell! I think it means that you've Made It in the blogging world when you get an asinine angry anonymous comment.

Second, Holy Crap. While Eden would be flattered over such controversy surrounding her work (because she's that kind of girl), maybe anonymous thinks I should should shelter her from the angry comment as well, because it's just not pretty, like Barbie.

As Annika pointed out, the book that the idea came from was a book about art from Ancient History to the present. So maybe we should not talk to her about Art either, or what art means, or why people make art.

Also, I would like anonymous to know that Eden is not the kind of girl you can force anything on. She is is very bright and decidedly stubborn. She realizes on her own that Barbie is strange compared to the adult women in her life (and most women she sees everyday). She does enjoy things that i hate, but we talk about why I hate them and she makes up her own mind about it.

In fact, I just asked Eden what she thought about Barbie, she said "Pooey. Well, I like the pooping dog, and the peeing cat, cause their kind of creepy. But I don't like the dolls. I'm like that on my own, you didn't force me to be."

Queen Heather said...

Thanks for the clarification Nell. You're an awesome mom of a friend then and have awesome mommy friends.

I had a Barbie once that when you pressed her gianormous boobs, she winked. Not kidding...well, I sorta am. The button was on her back but you had to wrap your fingers around her bust to press it so it looked the same. Western Barbie! She had hideous 1980's blue eye shadow.

Anonymous said...

This is a DIFFERENT anonymous, and you can call me chicken shit, if you will. Just an additional comment after reading them all, is that I don't believe the mummification aspect of the exercise was as disturbing to me, as was the picture of bloodied, naked Barbie lying face down on the floor. It seems ironic to me that you would fight so hard against the negative female image that Barbie represents (which I fight against myself), yet see nothing wrong with introducing these young women to such violence-based ideas that women, in particular, struggle against everyday. Barbie or not, the image of any woman stripped down, and covered in blood, is not cool. Period.

Annika said...

If I may, Anonymous, you don't seem to be chicken shit so much as lacking in reading comprehension. That wasn't blood, it was holy oils. And even if it looked like blood (a point which I reluctantly concede), it is way less disturbing and violent than any Disney movie. Those princesses really go through a lot.

andi said...

Oh, the controversy! Methinks the first Anonymous was maybe a man. Or a woman who's panties were way, way too tight.

I loved this post, Nell. Very well written - as usual. Oh, and screw the trolls. That is all.

Steve said...

Yes you are a chicken-shit. Give yourself a name and stand behind your comment, or keep your mouth shut. Just because its possible to say what you want without anyone being able to know who you are doesn't mean its right, just or honorable to do so. By being anonymous, you protect yourself from having to accept any kind of backlash from the responses to your comment, which misses the point of these particular blogs, I think.

Lauren 02143! said...

Actually, I was there and it was not blood - it was nail polish.

Ciaran said...

Reading the bit about death as a hush-hush topic in the US sent me scurrying to a bookshelf looking for a quote from an essay by someone I admire greatly, Howard Gossage, a brilliant, renaissance ad-man who lived in San Francisco in the sixtes and seventies. Given six months to live, he wrote an essay on his reaction. Titled ' " Tell Me, Doctor, Will I Be Active Right Up to the Last?" '
The essay opened:
"Our society views dying as being in questionable taste despite the fact that ten out of ten still do it.'

Later in the essay he points out:
"As an aside, the ancient Egyptians, because of their notable death rituals, elaborate preparation of bodies, and staggering devotion to necropolises, are popularly supposed to have had a morbid preoccupation with dying, so that it hung over their entire lives like an immense pall. I think, however, just the opposite must have been true: that the Egyptians, because they had death so well sorted out, must have led vigorous, rewarding, and even sunny lives. It is hard to imagine how a civilization could have lasted for all those thousands of years - much longer than anyone else's - unless life itself had been purposeful and worth the living."

Pretty long eh? Maybe I should sign this "Anonymous."

Nell's Dad

nell said...

I have such wonderful thoughtful readers and I appreciate all of your comments, always, even the anonymous ones.

Yes, it was nail polish, and yes, I thought it was funny in a twisted sort of way, but the context of the ritual was paramount. It was a two day ceremony - the mumification and anointing took place in the evening, and the burial the following morning.

The "Barbie with Blood" photograph occurred after the little ones had gone to bed. It was Freya's Barbie, whom she had no problem anointing, but didn't want to wrap in fabric. The black and white floor and the naked Barbie covered in hot pink nail polish was just too much for my camera to resist. It comforts me to know that the other two Barbies suffocated peacefully in their wraps.

Blue Momma said...

What Annika said. I can't say it any better.

I just found your blog not long ago and I'm loving it. God, my feeds list is getting long.

I have yet to get my first snarky anonymous post (a real one anyway!), but I'm still have hope.

And I've tagged you, if you choose to accept.

Laura (Annie's daughter) said...

And what if some, if not all, mommies are bitter sometimes? Isn't healthier to admit bitterness in an adult forum rather than pent it up and deny it and churn it out as anger or worse - abuse and violence?

Being a mom (or dad) would certainly make me bitter sometimes - the having to entertain, clean up after, cook for, pay for. Having much less time for myself. What gift isn't bittersweet?

Bitterness is underrated.

Cathy said...

Well-written response, Nell.

Brillig said...

I have nothing to add except, ahhhh. How I love a good controvery. Yay Nell!

Heather said...

Oh bwahahahahahaha!

Seriously, the violence of applying fingernail polish to a toy? WTF? Nell, you should worry. har har.

Um, I'd like to let "Anonymous" know that my kids have an entire stash of weapons of mass destruction. I think nail polish pails in comparison of encouraging violent behavior.

Oh, I gotta run! gotta go having a kick-ass wrestling match with my boys!

Ewokmama said...

My little sister used to tie up her barbies with rubber bands and evil Ken would kidnap them. She got this idea from our mother, I'm sure, who always warned us not to go past the corner because we might be kidnapped. That is so much more disturbing and twisted than a mummy ritual, I think.

it's me, Val said...

Interesting! I saw this post a while back, Nell, and never thought two things about it. I just thought it was funny and wish I had the time to do an experiment so fun! :)