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Mercedes González Amade: I'm 38 years old and physically challenged. I struggle daily in this life be it on crutches or in a wheelchair. I have a 12-year-old son who is my main inspiration and for who I have fought tooth and nail. I hold a position in the governmental institution that serves the handicapped in my part of the capital. In the afternoons I practice tennis well away from where I live. My intention with Havana Times is to help spread the desire to live and to do so with dignity, especially to persons with physical and motor difficulties.

Girls or Barbies

May 31, 2016 |

Mercedes Gonzalez Amade

Photo: Orlando Dominguez

Photo: Orlando Dominguez

HAVANA TIMES — I live in the same building as two little girls who are both modern just like their mothers. These darlings are around 4 years old and even though they’re from the same family and live in the same apartment, they’re being brought up very differently. One girl is very simple and is how she should be at her age; the other however lives in a bubble of gifts and fashion, removed from childhood interests.

Their economic differences are reflected daily in the food they eat, the toys they play with, photos, etc. That’s normal; people should grow up in accordance with their economic means.

However, some people believe that their children are playthings, dolls we can use to our fancy, and forget that these are human beings in the making. A great deal of tension has built up between the two mothers and this affects the children.

Seeing one of the girls dressed with ribbons in her hair and smock brings back fond memories. However, it’s sad to see the other girl dressed up just like her mother, looking like a miniature woman.

We all go through that phase where we put on our mother’s or older sister’s clothes and shoes, necklaces and even imitate them; that’s a healthy and fun game. What isn’t healthy is for a young girl to adopt this playtime as a lifestyle. Walking for a short while in high heels isn’t the same as wearing them all the time. In fact this could ultimately affect the development of the young girl’s bones in her feet which are still growing and the damage could even be irreversible.

Every stage in life is unique and it’s important to enjoy them all with all they bring. Watching our children grow is one of life’s unmatched privileges and it’s a shame that we tarnish it by rushing through the stages. You have to go up the ladder one step at a time, it’s best not to jump rungs. Girls are so cute in their smocks and with ribbons in their hair, why dress them up in adult women’s clothes?

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What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    So, the ‘Barbie’ syndrome has reached Cuba.

  • Terry Downey

    Wait until the adolescent fashion show craze invades Cuba too… I can see that coming to Havana at least. Perhaps it’s already started.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Did you miss Chanel?

      • Terry Downey

        Chanel! Ha! Too rich for my blood. No, I’m talking about the beauty pageants and competitions for pre-teen girls that are now rampant throughout the US…. bordom-beaters for stressed out stay-at-home mothers who like to live vicariously through their cute pre-teen daughters, painting their faces with make-up and dressing them in costumes to look like adult women.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Childhood and youth are too short to be wasted on such nonsense Terry. Poor kids!

  • emagicmtman

    My youngest daughter, a real “tomboy” during her first twelve years, detested Barbies. In fact, I remember helping her construct a rather dark art “installation” of Barbies one Halloween. Dabbed in “nail polish” blood, we hung several from a tree, upside-down. Later, with her best friend, Henry, they loaded them into a boat which they launched into a roaring brook. Later, as a teen, she bought a satirical book with photos of Barbies in compromising positions. Along with yours truly, my oldest daughter had a sick obsession with another doll, “Chucky” (El Muneco del Diablo), and we watched all five or six sequels to “Child’s Play.” Despite these seemingly unhealthy responses to social norms, both daughters have turned out well. Both are autonomous and productive adults, with a strong sense of self. In the lingo of David Reissman, both turned out to be “inner directed,” and in a positive, socially responsible way, rather than “other directed” slaves to the social norms.