Friday, March 19, 2010

True To Life Barbie?

I’m about to do something a little different than normal. I’m going to pass over the funny and focus on something else. Bear with me. The funny will be back.

I was reading the blog Storked! on, written by Christine Coppa, as I do every day. There was a guest blogger today as there may be from time to time. She wrote about how her daughter, all of five years old, was already conscious of differences in body type. Kids notice stuff, dude. They can differentiate between big and little. She said that her five year old asked, in a burst of childhood innocence, why Barbie’s tummy looks the way it does. This woman panicked, or at least it seemed like she did. She was already picturing a long, hard road of body dysmorphia for her child, dependent on her response to said question.

What was her reply? That Barbie’s aren’t real and that some real women’s stomachs aren’t flat. Well-played and true. Personally I would have said something similar but basically saying that everyone is different. Barbie’s are made from a mold and we aren’t. After the blogger sidestepped that landmine, she complained about the lack of dolls with body issues, Cellulite Barbie and Pot-Belly Barbie for example. Is that really what you want to see? You want to buy your daughter a Barbie with big ol’cottage cheese thighs? You want to teach her that heavily dimpled skin is preferable?

What I can’t figure out is why you would want there to be a Barbie with cellulite. It seems kind of like hoping that the cheerleaders in high school got fat. I guess Barbie has just had it too good for too long and now we, the flesh and blood women, want revenge. Give her excessive pockets of fat! That’ll show that plastic bitch. Smirk at me, will you? Is it just that we hate those who have the things we wish we had? Smooth thighs for example?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to promote Barbie as a body role model and say that’s the only way to be. I know it may sound like that’s what I’m getting at. That’s not what I mean. Ellen asked why there aren’t dolls who look like real life women. Hey, much as we may hate them, there are a percentage of women who don’t have cellulite. Should we just leave them out? Purportedly, fifteen percent of women do not have cellulite. Maybe Barbie is true to life for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also not saying that we should be teaching girls that having fat is unacceptable and wrong. I’m also not saying that we should encourage attitudes like the woman recently in the news for attempting to become the World’s Fattest Woman. I’ll bet ten bucks that she doesn’t get a doll in her image either.

Having cellulite is ok. It’s not preferable and it shouldn’t be something to aspire to, but it’s ok.
Barbies are not real. We don’t need to react towards Barbie the way those fascist Harry Potter haters act towards the books. They can’t just say ‘it’s not real; it’s fiction’ and go on with their business. No, they want to get rid of it.

No, Barbies don’t have cellulite. They also don’t have acne, but some women may think that there should be a Barbie that does. The same may be true of scars, cankles, moles, freckles, stray chin hairs, dry skin, eczema, bunions, bruises, split ends, broken nails, stretch marks, razor burn, asymmetrical boobs, and a neglected bikini area. Does that mean Mattel needs to develop Barbies that have all these things? God no! I don’t want to see a new collection of Broke Down Barbies. We need to make peace with our bodies and not try to force Barbie to develop our physical imperfections.

Barbie has undergone changes over the years anyway. Her bustline has decreased at least. Let us not forget, though, if Barbie were a real person she would be six feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. Her measurements would be 39-19-33. She would have enough problems even without cellulite.

So yes, we should teach our kids that having cellulite is ok, but we shouldn’t ask Mattel to make dolls intended to make girls WANT cellulite. And to answer the question why don’t they make Barbies with cellulite? Because it’s not appealing to the eye. That’s why you buy Barbie, because she looks like fun.

It also might be fun if they were to come out with a Barbie that says “I love my fat ass!” But it would be a much different type of fun.

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