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Evolution of Barbie…Be Afraid (And That Sound You Hear is the Space-Time Continuum Cracking as Darwin Comes Back to Life, Slaps His Forehead, Dies Again, and Richard Dawkins Gives Up and Finds Religion) October 26, 2009

Posted by FCM in entertainment, gender roles, kids, pop culture.
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barbie has evolved…and its enough to make me wish i were a creationist.  i am literally afraid of whats coming next!

in the beginning…barbie was quite obviously a consumer product.  a way for sedentary little girly-girls to spend their time, and their parents’ money.  see above how barbie TM shamelessly reaches into your pocket with its new “skipper” creation.  skipper is slightly *smaller* than barbie!  so naturally, she needs a whole new wardrobe!  cha-ching! 

see below how barbie TM very helpfully tells you exactly how much everything costs and lays out all the available accessories in an attractive and functional pinwheel shape:

then…

barbie becomes life-like.  luckily she hasnt achieved sentience…yet.  but notice how barbie is no longer just a money-hole.  although barbie TM initially claimed that girls can pretend that they were “like her,” now…barbie is “like you!”  shes human-like.  she can move.  she can do the same things *you* do.  hooray!  a new friend!  and shes also available in blonde, brunette, and tahitian!  just like you!  you know, if you are from tahiti!  (cough, cough)

heres where things get interesting.  barbie is no longer just a money-hole, and shes no longer trying in all her plastic glory to be “like you.”  now, we are back to you get to be “like her”! and for reals, this time! real live human girls get to wear *her* clothes.  they get to carry *her* bags.  they covet *her* dream house, and her life, instead of the other way around:

and for the wimmins:

this made me LOL.  who is this crazy lady, and why is her midsection “censored”?  are her boobs hanging out?  or is she (OOPS!) wearing another designer on her opening day?  my favorite part (besides the senior VP of barbie TM outdoing himself with the corporate-speak) was when the designer-lady was asked for a “for-instance” as she was slobbering all over herself and her new products… she says that, “for instance”, this new bag is so great because you can, you know, fill it with stuff, and “throw it in the car and go.”  uh, last time i checked, hefty bags also fill that particular bill.  if i may channel elle from legally blonde for a moment:  “what, like its hard?”

and for the pièce de résistance:

tahitian-barbie makes her appearance at literally the end (10:30). i was beginning to wonder if she was invited. turns out, shes the belle of the ball! thats why, you know, she was LAST, and only showed up ONCE.  (facedesk).

Comments

1. femspotter - October 26, 2009

So where do you come down on the body image issue with regard to Barbie?

I had an interesting response to my Barbie post wherein a woman replied that she wanted her Barbies to look like her rather than the other way around. I guess, being brunette, I also wanted to see some reflection of me in my dolls, which were usually blond; but I do think Barbie is part of the culture of thin. I don’t think she’s the keystone, mind you… but it’s not like they’re rushing to make a plus-size Barbie either. Barbie represents the elite beauty – quite an unrealistic type of thin, and that’s not something every woman can achieve.

Having written the preceding paragraph, I must also confess that I do like fashion – it’s fun! Artsy! (Demeaning as a collective industry, yes – sue me!) I never miss an opportunity to stroll the Barbie isle whenever I visit Target. And I give Barbie dolls and accessories – cheaply made the way they are these days – to toy drives for little girls (or boys) not because I want to continue the trends of bulimia and anorexia in the United States, but because I think it’s fun to play dress-up. It’s fun to project your wishes on your doll and pretend that you too may one day be President Barbie. On this issue, I am not quite my cynical self.

factcheckme - October 26, 2009

my parents never got us barbies as children. i think i am scarred for life. it just might have turned me into the man-hating radfem i am today. they should put that in their ads. LOL my grandmother got us some faux-bies though, and they were great fun to play with, but werent “posable.” meh. as far as body image, i wish there was a way to have fun toys to play with yet NOT imprint unrealistic and harmful body-images on young girls. but any representation of the female, whether on TV, in art, magazines or in plastic are going to be unrealistic because the models are literally the embodiment of something rare. fleeting, at best. youth, beauty, and whatever body-type is deemed acceptable at any particular time and place. i swear i think we would be better off without photography, or even mirrors, for that matter. maybe we would be better off without eyes. i dont know. since we do have these things, though, and since its VERY difficult to get around it i guess we just have to somehow deal with the (i think) inherently problematic images we are shown. HOW we go about doing that, is another story. and i dont know the answer to that. luckily, i dont have children to which i can subject my little social experiments and non-theories.

what are your thoughts?


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