The Barbie Dilemma

I have been debating about posting this for about a week now. As a disclaimer this blog is not politically affiliated or themed.  It just so happens that these two posts are close together.

In a discussion about women and today’s society the topic of Barbie Dolls came up. I grew up playing with Barbies and still sometimes long for the days when I could sit, construct elaborate houses, and imagine for hours.

According to some, the fact that I would be willing to buy my daughter a Barbie Doll means that I am anti-feminist and buying into the male dominated culture.  I was informed that Barbie forces an unattainable physical goal into the impressionable minds of young girls and contribute to the standard objectification of women.

What I find most interesting is that there is this obsession with making Barbie realistic. At the same time they are banging down the door demanding her proportions be real, the same people are requesting that she be made with undergarments that can’t be removed.  How is that realistic? If Barbie’s current proportions cause girls to have body image issues, then manufacturing her with permanent underwear would imply that  they should be ashamed of their bodies. Almost like there is something wrong with being obviously female.

So as I step down from my soapbox , this is what Barbie taught me: Barbie could always be anything she wanted. She was never limited by anything or anyone. I got to live a hundred different careers, places, and lifestyles.  Barbie was always empowering. Being pretty, being feminine, being a girl isn’t anything  to be ashamed of. By telling girls through actions and words that it is wrong to be girly and like pretty things isn’t liberating or empowering. It is teaching them limits where they don’t exist.

(Careers of Barbie: click to open a new window)

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3 thoughts on “The Barbie Dilemma

  1. Interesting point of view, I’m not a big fan of Barbie’s representation, but I see where you are coming from and agree that we should be wary of the messages we are sending to girls. Thanks for sharing

  2. Tina says:

    Well, if women think that playing with Barbies warped girls minds, then I guess I am really messed up for playing with perfectly flat paper dolls…. hmmm… Nice blog Abbie! Love it!

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