I always loved the piñata as a child, except for the whole blindfold and spin part which I truly hated. I hated not seeing what I was trying to hit. I hated the idea that I would most likely swing and miss. I hated not being able to see what was in front of me. It made me angry. It made me cheat. So I could see.
I had it down to a science. I would close both eyes until it came time to clobber the piñata with my baseball bat and I would do it. I'd wack the shit out of that thing, with one eye wide open, peeking through the space in the bandana.
I'm using this analogy because I'm pretty sure that I wasn't the only one cheating at piñata as a child, that as I type this there are children secretly peeking out of their blindfolds so they can get a better swing at the candy-bellied beast. So they can see what they're doing and do it well.
And although the piñata has little to do with parenting, the blindfold does. We must protect our children by turning their faces the other way. I disagree and here is why:
Recently I spent some time with a mother who wouldn't allow her daughter to play with a babydoll because she thought it too advanced for her three-year-old. She didn't want her to get the idea that a three-year-old mommy was natural.
"She's only three," she said. "It's not healthy for her to be pushing around a stroller and changing dolly's diapers. I mean, what are these toy manufacturers thinking?"
I kept my mouth shut but the voices in my head were screaming. CHILL OUT, WOMAN! She wants to play with her baby doll because she wants to be like you!
And seriously, am I missing something? What's the big deal? Why are some mothers so concerned with the fact their daughters want to play with dolls? And respectively concerned with their boys playing with trucks and other "masculine" toys. Have we become so politically correct we're forgetting about instinct? One might argue that it isn't instinct, but ideals prescribed to us by western-culture. Partly perhaps, but are we bending over backwards to see that our children live in their bubble-world of ambiguity and androgyny? Quick close the gate to the community or the children might see that on the other side of the wall their are real life homeless people. Real-life migrant workers who live in the fields in tents made of Cheerios boxes.
Are the suburbs creating delusions? Do they sell blindfolds at Wal-mart?
It seems quite en vogue for parents to call grocery stores to ask that magazines be placed away from their children's eyes. The same women who confiscate porn from their sixteen-year old boys because it's "unnatural." The same parents who don't allow their daughters to play with dolls because they're sexist, because Barbie is terribly dangerous.
Barbie is not the problem. Barbie is not a peer or a person. Barbie is a doll. I worshiped my Strawberry Shortcake but was never envious of her enormous head and strawberry-scented cheeks. I thought Barbie was fun to dress up and strip down and stick out the sunroof of her pink Corvette. Her underwear were built in which was always a dissapointment. Ken's too.
Tell me, did you ever feel bad about your waist because Barbie's was so small? Was Barbie ever your ideal?
Shouldn't we be educating the children we seem to be hiding the truth from?
I know their are eight sides to this story and many of you will disagree with me here, but how come so many parents have forgotten that telling a child (or human being) to look away only makes them want to look? Why is a woman's breast inappropriate? Why must we put fig leaves over the genitals of life and think this is what's best for our children?
How can women call themselves liberal and then be so quick to hide the real world from their children? To protect them? Preserve their innocense? Isn't it obvious that that's impossible in today's age? That it is perhaps, hypocritical and confusing?
Right. Tell your child to close her eyes in the Barbie isle. Dolls are scary. Dolls are bad. Everything is bad and scary. Let's all close our eyes and our children's eyes and walk around blind. The blind leading the blindfolded so one day the "bad kid" in school will tell the truth you have so tried to hide. Santa Claus doesn't exist and there's such thing as sex and no it isn't dirty, as long as you're safe.
We live in a society overcome with fear and paranoia. From our government to our communities, everyone is so afraid. Afraid to live. Afraid to have sex. Afraid of themselves. Scare our children straight. Scare them into their shells. Scare them so they'll only come out to shop at Wal-Mart for dolls with real-woman curves and magazines with women dressed in collared shirts with no makeup on. Makeup is bad. Beauty is bad. Wanting to be beautiful and feminine is bad-bad-bad. We live during a time where Janet Jackson's nipple is censored and women cannot breastfeed in public. Where the news boasts of school shootings and never school success stories...
...So we can be more afraid. So we can hold our children's faces toward the bleached walls, away from the window as not to feel the chill, or GOD FORBID, the neighbor naked.
There is no peace. Taking Barbie away will not discourage a future eating disorder. It's not Maxim Magazine's fault that children grow into sexual creatures who want to wear tube tops at twelve. It's the day and age. One cannot Blindfold their child to what has saturated society. I'm sorry, but it's too late.
If we choose to breed, today, then we must also choose to chill the fuck out.
But why not just lock them up and throw away the key? I could home-school my kids and then, no problem!
...Or better yet, why not take the blindfold off?
I do not want Archer to be afraid. I do not want my children to think that sex is gross and wrong and dolls are "stereotypical" or "sexist" or "inappropriate" for children, even if Barbie wants to wear a Bikini and a mini-skirt to the mall, instead of a business suit. I do not want Archer to hang out with the children of parents who are so paranoid they don't let their kids leave the house without their pepper spray, or play in the sandbox because there was something on the news last week about sexual predators lurking in the shadows of Jacaranda trees. I want him to be aware. I want him to see for himself. I want to help him understand.
How can you tell a child to look both ways when you insist he wear a bandana over his eyes? How can you educate a child when he can't even leave the house? With books? With educational programming and your own knowledge?
I truly believe that it isn't the job of the parent to blindfold, it is the job of the parent to point in the right direction. It is the job of the parent to protect the child from himself for that will always be his worst enemy. Not the woman in the bikini on the cover of Maxim or Barbie or the homeless bum who runs around with his dick out, like a lunatic. This is life. Life is dirty and messy and sexy and half-naked sometimes, even within the great wall we have built up to the sky. Even with bibles and seatbelts and precausions.
The way I see it we have two options:
We can blindfold our children and send them, dizzy and confused toward the piñata, or we can pull the blindfold(s) from their eyes and hold their hands through the darkness.