I’m back for my second blog of the week, folks. And I’m going to talk about something a little bit different. I’m not one to sit and preach my opinions as if they’re facts, but this is something pretty important, and something I find worthy of sparking a conversation. Inspired by a Facebook post by one of my oldest friends, I want to write today about Barbie.
Unless you live under a really big rock, chances are that you’ve heard this week about Barbie’s new look. The Mattel company is releasing 3 new Barbie dolls to diversify the brand and, hopefully, make a doll with a shape that “real” girls can identify with. The new doll shapes are curvy, petite, and tall. They have also included different varieties of skin tones and hairstyles. Many have praised this “new Barbie” with comments about how this is an exciting time for women everywhere, because finally there’s a doll that looks just like us! But okay… I have a problem with that. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not using this as an opportunity to be offended, but we’re going about this whole thing the incorrect way.
As much as I am a huge fan of body positivity, there is a problem with this type of marketing. We’re still labeling women. By making such a huge deal of these new releases, we are still saying to young girls, “Being pretty is important. Looks are important. And now, if you don’t look like this array of Barbies that have been created, you’re weird.” Just as my wise-beyond-her-years friend Johnsie said,
“Barbie is not the problem. We are the problem.”
We are the problem. Why are we looking at this hunk of plastic as what we should attain to be? I don’t look anything like the curvy doll, even though her body type is supposed to resemble mine. And instead of creating an idea for little girls that looks aren’t what’s important, we’re saying “Girls! You can be tall like Barbie. You can be short like Barbie. You can be thick like Barbie.” Why aren’t we instead telling them, “You can be funny. You can be innovative. You can be witty. You can be strong and empowering and ingenious.”
It’s exhausting living in a world where we are constantly reminded of a standard no one can attain. This isn’t what I want for the next generation of little girls, wanting to add a “fat Barbie” or a “tall Barbie” or a “short Barbie” to their collections. The label is still there. These little girls are still going to know that these dolls are not the “normal” Barbie.
I won’t bore you for much longer, but I’ll leave you with this: why are we still emphasizing the importance of looks in every part of our lives? I know this is a guy problem too, they have to live up to unbelievable standards of muscle mass, so why not compliment someone’s mind today? Tell your friends, you are intelligent. You are hilarious. Your opinions mean a lot to me. I value the fact that I can have an intelligent conversation with you. Let’s create a generation of not only body positivity, but one that doesn’t focus on physical attributes at all. Because in the end, it isn’t going to be the beautiful girls who change the world, it’s going to be the brilliant ones.