Friday, February 13, 2009

Barbie Confusion

According to Deadspin, "The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has awarded its first TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award to Mattel's 'Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll.'"

I always hated "playing Barbie." It would be cool if I could say that I was conscious of the way Barbie made me feel about myself and my body, but I just hated her. She was too perky. And my friends sounded stupid when they tried to make her speak.

I voted for video games over the large-breasted plastic dolls.

But once I found my feminism, I realized that there was a lot to hate about these dolls. The unrealistic proportions, the pink theme of it all, the outfits... Despite some efforts to the contrary, Barbie is not a cool, normal chick.

And she's not supposed to be. She's supposed to be glamorous, skinny, hot, pink...whatever. That's what our society aspires to. Don't believe me? Take a look at some of the "hottest" movie stars around today.

Blaming Barbie for instilling an unhealthy body image or unrealistic expectations in young girls is like blaming GI Joe for aggression in boys. Barbie is just a symptom. Yes, there's a problem, but complaining about Barbie or even discontinuing the doll (never gonna happen) isn't going to fix it.

So that's why this random award for a particular Barbie in a "skimpy" outfit puzzles me. What is so different about this Barbie? And how, exactly, does it oppress anyone? That's a lot of power for one plastic doll.

Look, I get where these people are coming from. I hate that there's a doll out there who wouldn't be able to stand if she was a real woman. But there's a reason these things sell so well. I think it's misguided to blame a toy for our problems.


Anonymous said...

I played with Ginny dolls. I don't even remember what they looked like--I just liked dressing them in the clothes my mom and my aunt made. I still never learned to sew.

ANNA.UA said...

we can't blame our problems on anyone but ourselves. but i know that my kids won't play with that anorexic beauty.