Barbies and Building Blocks

Ever since childhood

My toys have been mingling

From both sides of the gender spectrum

Building blocks were blue and red

Barbie’s dresses, shades of pink

But when I mixed them both together

Nothing ever felt wrong



My parents bought us all these toys

Wrestlemania figures

Toy horses with shimmering saddles

We did with them as we wished

My brother fought me over a doll

He wanted her to ride his horse

I played Pokemon in a red, gauzy dress

My hair knotted and frizzed from running

Our building block towers, standing tall

Never required a clothing boutique

Nor needed a mechanic’s garage

I played with Hot Wheels racecars

Sent them flying down the stairs and railing

I loved when Barbie wore a leather jacket

She looked better with it on than a dress

I stole a black marker and gave her a goatee

She made it look better than Ken’s dumb mustache

My brother always chose the pink and purple cars

Tonka Trucks in blue, red, and green were my favorites

I could play anybody under the table at YuGiOh cards

Gender roles were never present

In those precious, innocent years

Nobody reminded me that I was a girl

Nobody told my brother that he was a boy

We were aware of what we looked like

We were never confused

So when did our toys start being designed

Because of what was between our legs?

Humans are categorized from the very start of existence

The thick black line is drawn

Down the middle of the genders

Color inside the lines

That were drawn around us

Don’t let your pink crayon touch his blue one


Be different


Like Barbies and building blocks


11 responses to “Barbies and Building Blocks

  1. My sisters and I were trying to figure out how to convert one of our Barbies into a Ken doll once because we didn’t have one. First we cut off Barbie’s hair but she still looked like Barbie. Her breasts were too hard to cut off (it’s a wonder we still have fingers). One of us got the brilliant idea of taping her waist until it was the same size as her breasts in order to hide them. We used an entire roll of electrical tape and end up with a bald, 300lb Barbie with a jet black torso… who couldn’t fit into any clothes.

    I think we hid her under my grandfather’s snooker table along with the empty roll of tape. I wonder what he thought when he found her later.

    I love your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am dying to see a picture of said “Barbie.” My sister and I went through a weird phase where we just cut off the hair of every doll we owned. We had a big box of dolls with buzzcuts and mullets…I think we might have attempted the tape fiasco that you concocted, as well. One doll ended up looking like a bald dominatrix. Yeah…
      That’s a hilarious story, though. Love it. Thank you, too, for loving the poem! (:


  2. I look around, sadly, at my friend’s kids who are having kids, and I see another generation of children pushed into gendered expectations.
    But, I do see enough exceptions to give me some hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I worry for what the future holds for some of these children of the world. Hopefully some of them will make it out on the other side of the black hole of gendered society and day-to-day life. I’m glad that you’re already noticing enough standout that perhaps the world won’t go to hell in separate pink and blue handbaskets.


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