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Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer

Barbie Vlog Teaches Girls to Drop the ‘Sorry Reflex’

“‘Sorry’ is a learned reflex, and every time we do it, we take away from our self-confidence.”
PUBLISHED ON 07/27/2018

There's been a lot of pressure to modernize Barbie lately. As a result, the almost 60-year-old doll now has more career options (like robotics engineer), keeps a vlog and has a lot more to talk about these days than how to decorate her dream house. In fact, she has a very important message for young girls: Stop saying “sorry” all the time.

Barbie has had a vlog going since 2015, and has used it to tackle all kinds of issues for young kids, including bullying, being sad and even gender inequality in the workforce. (May as well start early!) Her latest topic is something that can plague girls throughout their lives: the habit of apologizing.

Barbie, who has swapped out her plastic-y make-up for a more natural look, brings up the real issue on her vlog about how girls in particular are always saying sorry for everything. “Like it's a reflex,” she says, “and that somehow everything that goes wrong is our fault.”

This more thoughtful version of Barbie—who talks a lot more like an empowered, thoughtful teenager than her “math is tough” previous incarnations—gives some pretty spot-on examples. We apologize when someone bumps into us, we apologize when we're served cold food at a restaurant and have to ask for it to be heated, and here's a big one: We even say sorry after getting excited and exuberant about something.“But ‘sorry’ is a learned reflex,” she says, “and every time we do it, we take away from our self-confidence.” Good point, Barbie—why are we apologizing for being happy about something? For being ourselves?

Barbie emphasizes that it’s important to be kind and thoughtful and polite, and offer up a sincere apology when it’s warranted. But instead of saying sorry when we haven’t done anything wrong, she suggests trying out another phrase: Thank you.

“If you feel sad, instead of saying sorry, say, 'Thank you for understanding my feelings.' When the restaurant serves you cold food, you say 'Thank you for heating up my food.' When someone bumps in to us we say, 'Oh that's all right.' Give them a smile.” We hear ya, sister.

So for all you progressive moms with little girls—if Barbie's still on your bad list, you might want to take another look, and a listen!

PHOTO: Courtesy Barbie