Monday, February 24, 2014

What It Means To Be a Barbie Girl

I've always liked Barbie. Sure she has that ridiculous and unattainable figure, but despite floundering between hundreds of careers, she always seemed true to her blond self holding utmost to her undying love for pink, her sisters, Ken.... She has it together. She lives in her freaking dream house. It's hard to not want to be like Barbie.

But this.......

Meet Blondie Bennett.

She is committed to living her life like Barbie. Obviously that means dieting, breast enhancement, plastic surgery, lots of bleach, botox, and spray tans. Keeping up with all that is a full time job. So she makes her living off online sugar daddies who send her money to see pictures of her dressed up as a sexy doll. As if all of this isn't enough, she is now also going to hypnotherapy to make herself dumber. And she excitedly reported that it is working saying "Recently I went to pick a friend up at the airport and couldn't remember if I needed to go to departures or arrivals. I also got lost for three hours driving to my mum's house - the house where I grew up." Nooooooo.
That's right this woman wants to make herself dumber. She explained, "I want people to see me as a plastic sex doll and being brainless is a big part of that."
The feminist inside me is raging. This is so sad on so many levels.
First of all, she way overshot on those boobies. Barbie is not that racked. 
Second, who said Barbie was stupid? Among her 100+ careers in her resume/closet, Barbie has been a Presidential candidate, an astronaut, a prima ballerina, a teacher, a doctor, a Vet, a news anchor, and a business woman. 

Any one of these careers would require loads of education, training, skill, and intelligence indicating she is absolutely not a vacuous woman. She is more likely a woman in debt with student loans. So what makes Blondie think that she is nailing it by becoming an airhead?  
And the upsetting desire to be nothing more than a "plastic sex doll" is probably the most distburbing part of all this. Especially because Barbie is not a sex doll. In fact, other than her chest which helps her fill out her clothes nicely, Barbie is missing all other anatomical components. And she is not even promiscuous seeing as she has been in an adroable long time committed relationship with Ken.

In fact, Barbie recently was under fire for appearing as a sex symbol in a special Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Among the critics, Forbes contributing writer Teresa Genaro said, “Every winter when the swimsuit issue rolls around, Sports Illustrated reminds me that in its world, women are still objects to be admired for what they look like, not for what they do. Adding Barbie to this year’s mix—literally a plastic, unhealthy, commercial exemplar for little girls—insults women athletes and women readers, who deserve better from a magazine that could choose to counter the objectification of women instead of glorifying it.”
But because she isn't stupid (and has revamped her image considerably since her "math class is tough" days of the 90s), Barbie wrote an incredibly empowering open letter posted on the Mattel website responding to why she chose to do this. And her response seems to go against everything that poor, misguided Blondie Bennett is striving for.
In her response, Barbie says, "I, for one, am honored to join the legendary swimsuit models. The word “model,” like the word “Barbie,” is often dismissed as a poseable plaything with nothing to say. And yet, those featured are women who have broken barriers, established empires, built brands, branched out into careers as varied as authors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.”
Yes, posing in your swimsuit can make you look like an objectified sex symbol. And yes, certain clothes and looking a certain way can make you appear to be provocative and promiscuous, but it doesn't mean you are. I happen to agree with Barbie that women should be able to wear pink to an interview at MIT and not be discounted for how they look. And while this means that I believe everyone should be entitled to create their own reflection and become anything they want, it still doesn't stop me from wanting to hate Blondie Bennett's choices. It is not Barbie who is the problem here, it is the idea that life is easier and nothing else matters if you are pretty. The problem is women seeing only one kind of beauty and finding themselves so worthless that they are willing to change who they are entirely. Barbie does not stand for these values. We have just pushed them onto her, shaming her for happily existing as herself because we need someone to blame. Do we blame He-Man for men behaving like scuzzy, egotistical gym rats?
Blondie Bennett needs to be going to hypnotherapy alright, but it should be for learning to love and be herself because that power of pink, power of being a woman, is what I always thought Barbie really stood for.

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