A career in PR means always keeping your nose in the news. Seeing what’s new, what’s trending, and what opportunities are out there for your clients or company. Recently, I can’t seem to escape online sites, the nightly broadcast news or even social media without seeing a story slamming Barbie dolls. The latest post I saw noted a recent study revealed that girls who played with Barbies didn’t feel they had as many career options as boys.

Confession time: I played with Barbies until I was 12. And even then, sometimes, my best friend and I would still dig them out on weekends when we were bored at 13. I know, I know, NERD ALERT. But I LOVED them. I loved escaping into a world of scenarios that I could create, changing directions at a moment’s notice, and it even helped me to play out different things that were happening in my own life at the time.

They never made me feel that I couldn’t have a variety of jobs because I made them have whatever profession I wanted at the moment… A mom, the President of the United States, a swimming coach at Notre Dame, a chiropractor, Paula Abdul… I had a lot of aspirations growing up!

Playing with Barbies never made me doubt my confidence to be a successful professional. That’s probably the one area I have never had uncertainties.

My Barbie’s never made me feel self-conscious of how my body looked. That was the boys who called me chubby when I started to develop curves. And I’m pretty sure the dolls didn’t have anything to do with that.

If little girls are growing up feeling less than confident about any of these areas, it’s up to their mothers, grandmothers, teachers, coaches, female role models and mentors to educate them otherwise. To talk to them, and to lead by example. Show that the impossible can be reached, and IS reached every day by women. It’s not the dolls telling them otherwise.

Alison Monaghan  Alison with her first doll house built by her grandfather for Christmas.