Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy birthday, Barbie!

When you're hot, you're hot!

West Virginia lawmakers hope to ban the gorgeous Babs (and other dolls with inhuman proportions) from the state on her 50th birthday, March 9th.

Whuh-huh? I ask you, who wants to play with a doll that looks like your neighbor? Barbie is supposed to be a glamour puss. If a doll had the proportions of a "normal" woman, she would most likely not be a model. And Barbie was born a model, after all. But she's also been a vet, a gymnast, an astronaut, a presidential candidate, and Rosie O'Donnell, of all things (as I understand, this "friend of Barbie" is made from a Barbie head and a Ken body. Why is that fun?) And by the way, Mattel did put out an athletic Barbie with a more correctly proportioned body, one that could stand on its own on with its huge feet... which nobody bought.

As a little girl, I wanted to play with pretty things and make my own scenarios, not be handed a clunky doll and forced to reenact real situations. That doll would have been thrown in the trash! (I would keep the accessories for my Barbies to wear, though...)

Considering the average American woman is overweight, how exactly would that translate to a small doll? I guarantee it wouldn't be much fun to play with. Think of an average woman, say, someone in the grocery store. Her clothes wouldn't lay right, makeup fair, teeth a maybe a little yellow, her accessories are all wrong, and she is pushing a cart with a screaming child. There's a reason why Barbie is fun, people -- escape from reality!

The problem is actually not that Barbie is so sexy, it's that America is becoming less so. People are becoming fatter and fatter, and perhaps if Americans have something else to focus on, the obesity epidemic will not be front and center anymore.

Their argument actually goes both ways. By hoping to pass this bill, West Virginia is suggesting that in order to be considered smart, you may not be attractive at all, let alone sexy. What about all those poor souls who are beautiful, have great figures, and are also rocket scientists? They do exist, you know. Don't ostracize them!

So ban Barbie? I certainly hope so -- that will make my collection worth so much more!,2933,504456,00.html

And lest you think it can't be worse, Barbie also has reason to complain...


Paula Light said...

Oh dang, I threw all mine out! I think Barbie sends a bad message, but not about looks. It's about mindless consumerism. First Barbie, then her friends, next her car, dreamhouse, yacht, jet... All destined for the trash heap.

The Clever Cat said...

Drat! I could have taken them off your hands! ;^)

You really feel that way? Aww. What about those of us who collect the designer and vintage ones? They are really special! Bubble cuts and clothes of higher quality than those for real people, at least back then. Tiny snaps and cinched waists. Busy Morning and Prom Date. They were amazing!

Hmm, I dunno. Growing up, I focused on the dolls because they were pretty, and I just wanted to be pretty too. I still use my dark-haired Hispanic one for inspiration. Yes, I suppose I did have the Barbie department store with all the accessories, shopping bags, and "glass" cases (but I still do!). It was the 80's after all. Consumerism was the name of the game... twenty years later, Barbie is sure not the only toy with extra pieces. We also loved our Lego, (back then as well as today) which seems to never have come under the same scrutiny.

My sister and I shared the town house (and then the dream house, although technically it was hers, a long-awaited, never-boring, perfect present. If I had it now, I would paint it and the furniture and make a one-off, modern, Frank Lloyd Wright-type "dwelling," but that's just me.) Sis was the one who had the horse, the van, the car, etc. and those were the items I didn't really care for. So I think it depends on the kid, and how the parents choose a doll to buy (glamourous for me, vs. international for my sis), and when, and what type of stuff to use with them ("fur" coats from Sears for your 8.5" fashion doll? We had 'em!) But then again, my mom made our clothes growing up, and Barbie clothes too. We made furniture from spools. We sewed our own tiny pillows and my dad built a wardrobe for her clothes. We certainly did not have every item, but we appreciated them when we did receive (or buy them ourselves.) Maybe my view is skewed, but I hope not. I still think Barbie stands for beauty and glamour, and that West VA lawmakers need to remove their heads from their asses and focus on something productive, such as the actual education of children, not the creation of silly time-wasting bills about Barbie!

Phew! *wipes brow, steps down from soapbox*

coffee said...

WV legislators had to realize proposing a Barbie ban would cause a big media stir but, then again, maybe this was strategic...

The Clever Cat said...

Ah yes, strategy. You're right, WV is not usually front and center in the news. Good point, Coffee! And thanks!