Sunday, 1 May 2011
Playing dress up
As an eight year old girl I was allowed to buy a comic each week, and for years it was the “Bunty”. The comic ran from 1958 - 2001, (I was reading it in the mid 1960s). My favourite part was the back page that featured the cut out of a small girl, and a selection of outfits that could be cut out and clipped onto the figure. I would spend hours with these figures, often designing my own clothes for it out of scraps of wrapping paper or sketches I had made myself.
Fast forward forty years.
On Friday I was sat on the train waiting to leave the station and was mesmerised by the small girl opposite me. She was five years old – I know that because her dad had just told the train conductor for the purposes of her fare (which incidentally the conductor didn’t bother charging). I was in a bit of a world of my own when I noticed her, because I was looking forward to the Royal Wedding that was being shown on TV that evening. I was day-dreaming, along with probably about a billion others, about THE dress.
It was then I noticed what the little girl was doing. She had an iPad on her knee and it was programmed with the figure of a Barbie doll. She was scrolling her finger across the tablet and changing the dress on the doll. Occasionally, she would nudge her father’s knee and ask if he liked the dress. Sweet man that he was, he would have a short conversation with her then return to what he was doing. For 15 minutes, she must have changed the outfits at least a hundred times, and I found myself watching the upside down Barbie, and making my own preferences, cheering on this child’s sense of style and colour.
Which just proves to me that technology isn’t the death knell of imagination for little girls, old or young.