This month . . . .

“Hold On With Both Hands, Part 2”
     I’ve said it before, but the world is often too weird. Don’t believe me? A naked Barbie doll sits on the dining room table at the new house (we recently moved). I assume that she is resting there because she was unearthed during the relocation, but when I ask, I am instructed by my eldest that she was used at school. Art? (I hope — the panoply of possibilities makes me shiver.) Was she a nude model for some drawing instruction? No; math class. Oh, I say, relieved and confused in equal measure. I do not wish to appear stupid, but there seems to be no avoiding it. Math? Yes, she says, without any condescension. We are measuring Barbie’s different “parts” and scaling them to a person of normal height to see how disproportionately built she is. Ah.

     Who could have imagined a math class becoming a lesson in body awareness and anti-shaming? I am impressed, but don’t want her to see how impressed I am, because that in itself implies how cognizant we are of the way the world sees us and the insidious way that it wants us to “look a certain way.” I don’t want my daughter to spend hours in front of the mirror, either primping or regretting. Nor do I want my daughter to be a feminist. I want her to be a kind, generous, tolerant human being, who happens to be female. That is a lot to ask of her, so I don’t.

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