Last week, when the kids stayed home sick from school, I got out some old DVD's to entertain them. One was Barbie and The Three Musketeers. For the uninitiated, Barbie has a series of girl power animation movies. Some are better than others, but they all have those 'girly things are good because girls do them' and 'girls can take care of themselves' themes.
I covered "Don't mess with the dress!" a few years ago. My annoyance with fashion as girl power is why the DVD was in the back of the cabinet. But between Christmas break, the week of rain, and the flu that kept them home, I folded when they pulled out this movie. They like the sword fighting and this time that is what caught my attention.
In this version of the tale, Prince Louis's regent uncle conspires to kill him by making sure all the good guys are unarmed at the ball. Everyone turns their swords in at the entrance and picks up fake swords for a ceremonial sword dance. The bad guys smuggle their swords into the ball by disguising theirs as more of the decorative fake swords. When they make a play for Prince Louis, they expect no armed resistance. But Barbie (D'artgnan's daughter, in case you wondered) and her three friends, all aspiring Musketeers who were denied entrance because they were women, they engaged in a bit of passive resistance and smuggled in weapons. They disguised them as fashion accessories. (No, I'm not making this up.) They thwart the evil plot and save Prince Louis.
Even in fairy tales for 4 year olds, the bad guys know the necessity of an unarmed venue. And when a power hungry tyrant makes a move, the good guys need more options than just begging for favor, or mercy.
So why hasn't Barbie faced a backlash for metaphorical support of the 2nd Amendment? Because the metaphor, guns to swords, allows the makers to hide the real world implications that we don't want to think about, like effective self defense with weapons. The Barbie shows are only supposed to make little girls dream of girl power and rescuing the guy. It's the attitude that matters, not actual results. (See also, Head Start, green "technologies," the welfare state, childhood obesity initiatives...)