Monday, October 28, 2013

calgary herald article defending barbie

Thanks to the Cincinnati Public Library's research database, accessible through the library's website, I found this article.  I can't link directly to it so I am just copying and pasting.  It's from The Calgary Herald from 2002.  At last, someone who ISN'T dissing Barbie!

Barbie zombies taking over the world: Former doll owner wants people to understand: It's just a toy!

May 3, 2002

Ruth Handler, creator of Barbie, died this week. Now, could we also lay to rest the notion that a moulded piece of plastic is a role model for millions of living, breathing human beings?

Barbie is a toy that’s fun for little girls to play with, but that’s all it is.
I like Barbie. I played with the original 1959 version when I was little and my grandmother, who was trained as a seamstress in her native Russia, made clothes for my Barbie that were the envy of all the girls on our street.

“The Barbie doll is the ultimate symbol of our oppression, the bane of our existence,” lamented Lynn Meletiche, writing in Obesity and Health, a few years ago.

“What better way to ensure a constant supply of . . . decorative, non-feminist, non-activist women than to train little girls to emulate this look and attitude from a very early age?”

None of the little girls I knew wanted to emulate Barbie. For one thing, her head came off. None of us aspired to duplicating that achievement. Barbie’s feet were moulded so she was perpetually standing on tip-toe and her mouth fixed in a permanent, plastic smile. When she lost strands of hair, little dots showed on her scalp where they had been attached. We knew she was just a doll. Just like we knew that yo-yos, another popular toy of the day, were just yo-yos.

The baby-boom generation that played with Barbie grew up to be the most feminist, activist group of women the world has seen in quite a while.

Where are these legions of passive, ornamental women Barbie created?

Yet, the silliness continues. The normally staid Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter ran an article some time back entitled Barbie’s Missing Accessory: Food. Tufts reported that a group of Finnish researchers calculated Barbie's proportions are so wacky she wouldn’t have been able to menstruate, and “a lack of menstruation is one of the signs of anorexia nervosa.”

Maybe a lack of internal organs could account for the absence of menstruation. As for Barbie’s suspicious lack of interest in food, you wouldn’t be able to eat much, either, if your mouth were a painted grin and you were minus an esophagus.

I’m surprised the scientists didn’t note that keeping your eyes open all the time without blinking, as Barbie does, makes it impossible to sleep and therefore, Barbie must be teaching an entire generation of girls to be insomniacs.

M.G. Lord, author of the 1994 book Forever Barbie, lamented that one version of Barbie’s little sister, Skipper, “sprouted breasts when you twisted her arm one way and flattened out when you twisted it back -- a view of puberty that denies the true process of physical maturation.”

Lord shouldn’t worry. Most little girls are smart enough to figure out after one try that if you twist your arm, all that happens is your arm hurts.

Much indignation arose a few years back when a talking Barbie complained that math class is hard. A generation of girls was in danger of being turned off careers in quantum physics because of a vacuous remark programmed into a toy doll they played with at age seven.

I despise math, too, but not because Barbie told me to. I’ve always despised math. My Barbie could have shouted at me: “Math is fun!” until it blew a gasket and I still would not have majored in accounting.

There is something voodoo-ish in this pervasive belief that an inanimate doll has the subliminal power to influence the human mind. In their refusal to move beyond such nonsense, it is the adults -- not the children -- who have proven themselves unable to distinguish what is real.

“Barbie is a doll,” author Joyce Maynard writes. “Nobody I’ve ever known, however young, has mistaken (Barbie) for a real person, or confused her own self with a Barbie doll. The point is (to) play . . . You get to pretend.”

Not anymore.

When I was 11, my mother made me give away my Barbie.

Now, there’s an issue for the therapist’s couch.

1 comment:

skippercollector said...

Another article about this subject. You may have to copy and paste.