Margaret’s mother gave her a Barbie doll for her 6th birthday and told her she’ll be just like her someday. Margaret brushed Barbie’s long blonde hair with a plastic pink comb before combing her own hair, tangled and black. Her mother had given her a variety of dresses for Barbie to wear, all frilly and fabulous, including a wedding dress with puffy shoulders and yards of lace. Margaret’s mother helped her put the wedding dress on Barbie and remarked how beautiful she was. When her mother left, Margaret removed the wedding dress from Barbie’s frail figure and tossed it on the ground, leaving her naked. A week later, the dress was back on Barbie, with matching shoes and accessories.
In junior high, Margaret and her friends were required to register for a Sewing, Teens, and Tots course. The objectives were to prepare students, namely girls, for their eventual roles in a household. They would learn how to sew pajamas, cook meals, and take care of children. Her instructor spoke so highly of the “baby think it over doll” experience, where students take home a doll that triggers crying at random intervals, to teach women how to respond effectively to your newborn. Margaret was delighted to be given the opportunity to practice a skill so important. After the first round of students took their dolls home, and came back after the weekend tired and irritated, she concluded that these girls didn’t try hard enough. They didn’t put in the effort required. She knew she would do better, because she wanted it more. She wanted to prove she could. She had packed the best baby clothes from the classroom bin, and her and her baby boarded the school bus on a busy Friday afternoon. By Saturday night, the crying doll was too intense for her so she ripped out the batteries despite her mother’s disapproving glances. She gladly accepted an F on Monday morning.