Stop Bashing Barbie: A Feminist Rant

I recently saw a post on Facebook from a fairly attractive girl I went to school with. She shared an article that accused Barbie not representing “real women,” but it wasn’t accompanied by the usual rant I had come to expect from these sort of articles. She wasn’t Barbie Bashing. She wasn’t championing the article or promoting it in a positive light. In fact she was doing the exact opposite. She was upset that this article had insinuated that she wasn’t a real woman because she has a smaller frame and figure similar to a Barbie doll. It’s easy to roll your eyes at a hot girl complaining about well,  being aesthetically pleasing, but she has a valid point; Aren’t all women, real women? 

No, Barbie isn’t anatomically real, I get that. I’ve seen that project that turns Barbie’s proportions into a real life sized woman. I also realize that physical misrepresentations in the media (and in toys) can hurt the body image of many young girls. Unfortunately, this is the kind of society that we live in. That doesn’t mean I want you to stop signing petitions and/or spreading your perspectives via social media. I enjoy seeing passionate perspectives, but when it comes to Barbie, I think a majority of the ‘feminists’ I’ve heard from, are only examining the physical aspect of Barbie – which is exactly what we don’t want girls to be defined by. Isn’t this the sort of thing we want to stop?

I will agree that Barbie doesn’t look like most women. She definitely doesn’t look like me with my tan skin and curly thick hair. Now while as a kid, I did wish for her silky straight locks, I also dreamed of doing the things that she did. And those things included more than just looking pretty and smiling.

Barbie has held jobs in male dominated careers and did so while wearing heels and lipstick. Barbie became a Surgeon in 1973. Only 34.3% of physicians and surgeons are women*. She also became CEO in 1984. Only 4.6 percent% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women*. Hell, she was a Presidential Candidate in 1992! She has been revamped as a Presidential Candidate four more times since, the last of which was 2012. I trust you don’t need a statistic to realize how incredibly progressive this depiction is for a mere child’s toy.

​       Most of the individuals who have declared wars against Barbie’s appearance will say that a doll is not just a doll. And they’re absolutely right and Barbie should get a little credit for being something beyond a physical manifestation of everything we think is wrong with the way female body images are portrayed. Maybe this ridiculous emphasis on body image will start to erode the moment we, as women, decide look past it. So here are just thirty, out of the more than hundred and fifty, kick ass jobs Barbie has held that I personally think are more important than how she looks.

• Teenage Fashion Model 1959

• Tennis Pro 1962

• Astronaut 1965

• Surgeon in 1973

• Olympic Athlete 1975

• CEO 1984

• Veterinarian 1985

• Doctor Army Officer 1989

• UNICEF Ambassador 1989

• Naval Petty Officer 1991

• Marine Corps Sargent 1992

• Business Executive 1992

• Rap Musician 1992

• Presidential Candidate 1992 *for the first time*

• Police Officer 1993

• Army Medic 1993

• Radio City Music Hall Rockette 1993

• US Air Force Thunderbird Squadron Leader 1994

• Firefighter 1995

• Engineer 1996

• Dentist 1997

• Paleontologist 1997

• NASCAR Driver 1998

• Major League Baseball Player 1999

• WNBA Player 1999

• Producer 2003

• Fashion Magazine Intern 2009

• Computer Engineer 2010

• News Anchor 2010

• Architect 2010

*All statistics were taken from the Center for American Progress’s website and based on information gathered for the year of 2014.*


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