First I have to say I agree that you should be upset that Ty is trying to use your daughters for a fast buck. The fact that they are trying to convince us that the dolls aren’t your daughters is laughable. The quotes in their press release pretty much says they are the girls. But know that I’m right there with you over the exploitation and the aging of the girls into teens for the dolls. And that changing the name of those dolls doesn’t diminish what they did.
BUT…I will selfishly ask you to not shelter the girls away too much during your stay in the White House. Our kids need your girls.
In the Fall 2008 issue of the Girl Scouts LEADER magazine, I was asked how we as loving parents deal with celebrity worship. One of my suggestions that did not get in print (the interview was done in the spring) was to focus on the positive celebrity starlets out there. I was thinking of any girl celeb who hadn’t been caught drinking, clubbing, or without panties on. If asked that question today, I would say that we should point to Malia and Sasha.
You and the President have done a remarkable job raising the girls. You can tell how happy they are just by looking at them and that tells me they come from a happy & loving home. I never felt that the girls were accessories to the campaign, but rather girls trying to spend time with their busy parents. And as a busy mama myself, I found great solace in that.
My 5-year-old daughter swoons over your daughters, as I suspect many other kids are doing. My husband, daughter & I have watched the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert at Lincoln Memorial” half a dozen times. Each time chills go up my husband & my spines as
we listen to U2 sing. I cry each time “This Land is Your Land” is sung. My daughter squeals “The girls!” each time one of your daughters is on screen. Yes, I’ve done a fairly good job shielding her from entertainment that I think is geared towards older children, but she knows the Hannah Montanas of the world. But none have elicited a squeal or the beam of pride & awe that my daughter gives your two.
I also agree that the release of dolls resembling the First Daughters is yet another progressive step in our country’s discussion about race. While my family is of Mexican descent, I am overjoyed to think that thousands of non-African American girls would be playing with dolls that aren’t blond and blue-eyed. I get teary-eyed when I think of all the African-American girls in this country who have what could be said the ultimate role models in your daughters. Then to have them in doll form? Oh my, what a moment! But of course, the dolls should be produced under the guidance of the family, especially the girls themselves. I do admit to hoping for a full First Family doll set for my squealing daughter.
Yet, as a mom of a young girl and the watcher of too many documentaries on the Drew Barrymores of the world, I know the pitfalls of early celebrity and can only imagine the weight of being role models to a nation. You have said that the girls will still make their own beds - a clear sign that you want to keep them grounded. But as I said earlier, I am being selfish.
I see the world around our daughters getting more and more toxic, pushing them to grow up far too fast, sexualizing them with music, movies, clothing and spa treatments and the demands of school. Then there are us parents having almost no control over what they are exposed to. I know where our girls are headed, they will soon have their school books and walls covered in Teen Beat posters of the latest Hollywood star just as Michael J. Fox covered my walls. The fact that my daughter took your family picture from Parade magazine and put it up on her wall, well, that moves me beyond words.
I know we are asking a lot of your family. We hope your husband cleans up eight years of mess domestically and internationally. We look to you as not just a fashion plate, but also a strong woman who is proud to be call herself a mom first. And yes, I have pointed to your daughters and told mine, “The girls have to keep their room clean too!”
I hope that you are able to find that crazy balance one needs to raise a child in today’s media spotlight. I know that you need to keep the girls from prying eyes. But I hope you also know that the world needs your girls too. Our sons & daughters who need to see two intelligent girls doing amazing things. Don’t think less of us when we cling to the glimpses you allow us to take into your family’s life. For me it’s not about celebrity, but rather about wanting to share in the beautiful love that I see when I see your family. Thanks.