Sports Illustrated just announced Barbie as the cover model for their 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition. Immediately, the controversy started. You can have an opinion or not about whether Barbie is appropriate to put on Sports Illustrated. That’s another subject. But, the controversy is always about self image. Is the self esteem of young girls based on the unrealism of a doll?
Growing up, I played with Barbie. I also played with trucks and Star Wars figures. Many times, Barbie went for a ride in the bed of my toy dump truck and she talked to the neighbor boys’ Star Wars figures. That’s when Ken wasn’t around, of course.
Not once did I want to be like Barbie. Wait…No! I lie! I wanted Barbie’s clothes. I wanted Barbie’s Corvette, horse, and horse stables. Mostly, I wanted her dream house. You have no idea how I coveted that dream house! But, I never wanted to BE Barbie.
I’m sure Barbie would have preferred to be me. First, if I cut my hair and don’t like it, I know it’s eventually growing back. If I cut Barbie’s hair, her hair styling days are done. Not to mention, between being a teacher, an astronaut, a rock star, or whatever she is this week, that little doll never gets to sleep. To top it off, she’s shouldering blame for the lack of self esteem in millions of girls and still flashing that perfect smile.
Barbie is a doll! A doll who was supposed to be a “teen fashion model”. Maybe I wanted to be a fashion model at some point, but I’m too short and like to eat. That has nothing to do with Barbie and everything to do with real women.
While we tell our daughters to embrace their beauty, we’re seeing covers of Glamour and Cosmo at the newstand showing us how to be beautiful if we only lose a little more weight, buy the latest fashion, and learn about the things that WOW men. (Note: Giving them attention and feeding them before midnight does wonders). The women who are the ideal of “hot” are celebrated and those who don’t fit the ideal are laughed at. It would be nice if it didn’t happen, but I see it on the Internet all the time. Dislike someone for their character, not their looks, is the message we need to send out.
But, back to Barbie. She’s still a doll. She’s fun to dress up. If you get a lot of them together in one room, you might find a headless Ken nearby (least that happened in my house and no one confessed to it). She’s not real. She’s not a standard for anything, anymore than Ken is a standard for men. Now, G.I. Joe….I’ll let someone else write about that.
[© 2012-2014 by Lisa Magoch Johnson/Being Artemis All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Lisa Magoch Johnson/Being Artemis]