Do As The Doll, Not As I Do: Thoughts On Barbie’s New Bod

by Samantha Noyes

The public screams for joy over new Barbie are kind of nauseating when you think about it. I mean, I completely understand having Barbies representing every color of the rainbow — hell, there are a lot more they could do, but it’s a start.

But these tears of joy over a plastic doll, more than likely put together in shady situations, is such nonsense. It’s a fraud, and we’re lying to ourselves if we think it’s going to make a difference.

Back in the ’90s (Were you even alive back then? Ugh youth), they released dolls that had realistic shapes and guess what? Nobody bought them. Nobody wanted the fat white doll in ill-fitting attire. 

The “Happy To Be Me” dolls weren’t the mold breakers they thought they were going to be. Maybe they were too progressive for us; we lived in a world where we weren’t supposed to ask or tell someone our sexual preference and the only fat role models we had were Rosanne and Rush Limbaugh. Probably listing an addict as role model isn’t smart, but would it have been better if I had said Elizabeth Taylor there instead? #Shade

But now we have new Barbie, and she comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors — crisis averted? Hardly. While the thought does count in this situation, we have bigger problems to deal with. But we don’t want to. How can we be so excited and tell girls to accept and be proud of their bodies, if we can’t do the same thing?

Raise your hand if you go from one extreme to another in the diet world. Raise your hand if you over do it at the gym. Raise your hand if you’ve used laxatives to lose weight. Raise your hand if you’ve starved yourself. Raise your hand if you’ve made yourself throw up.

What I’m trying to say is, isn’t it hypocritical of us to teach the children to be proud of themselves, when we can’t even do the same damn thing? Granted, sure, you want to stop your daughters from making the same mistakes as you do every day — but why not work on yourself and have an open dialogue with your kid instead having a doll do all the heavy lifting?

By the way, the doll doesn’t come with an invisibility cloak. Your children are still going to see and hear the shitty things you do and say about yourself. They may be young and not as worldly as you, but they’re smart and can pick up on things fast.

Maybe the doll isn’t the problem. Maybe we are.

I’m sure everything I’m saying will be discounted, since I don’t have children, but in the immortal words of RuPaul, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else?

You know who can be loving, but also incredibly awful? Kids. They’re adorable, but they’re also little bastards. What’s going to happen when everyone busts out a Barbie with the perfect body and little Mavis slowly takes out her short, stumpy and pudgy Barbie? Kids are going to call her out for being different. Do you remember how hard school was? The slightest thing wrong with you, boom that was your label ‘till the end of days.

So, if anything, you’re giving kids yet another reason to pick on each other with these dolls. So if you’re down with paying for years of therapy for your child, have at it.

I was lucky growing up. My parents treated me like a kid, but they were smart enough to have adult conversations with me. I knew what was real and what was make believe. I knew that Barbie was a teen model, and not everyone is going to look like a teen model or a model when they grew up.

Sure, there are some genetic freaks, who hit the proverbial jackpot that roams the earth and teaches us that life isn’t fair. But just because they’re beautiful and perfect, doesn’t mean anything. Do you know how many lovely people with allegedly perfect lives that are fucked up?

In the words of Tolkien, “All that is gold does not glitter.”

Let’s talk about how awesome a life of a human coat hanger is for a moment. Clothing is pinned, sewed and manipulated to move the way the designer envisioned. All they do is work out and eat special diets. Some have curfews, and some make very little and live in squalor. Granted, there are a few exceptions to the rule that make money and people book up months/years in advance. But that’s not always the case and even if it is now, doesn’t mean they’ll be in or wanted in a season or two from now.

Same goes for every other industry in the world. For every Henry Ford, Bill Gates & Elon Musk, there are a billion Daves who didn’t get that investment or never came up with the must have invention and never got a chance to shine, but they kept on trudging. It’s a part of life. We all can’t be Larry, Moe or Curly — some of us have to be Shemp.

I love writing. I would love to do it as a career, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. So I work my job, and I keep on trudging. I deal with getting no response from editors or deal with peons with an ax to grind and takes it out on the unsuspecting freelancer.

Struggle makes you stronger sometimes. Sure, it sucks, and life is better when everything is handed to you, but when the shit hits the fan, they’re they first to go off the deep end. Whereas you are smart enough to know to turn the fan off, clean up and start fresh. It’s not your first rodeo.

So wouldn’t it just be easier to pick up a copy of Vogue and explain to your daughter how the world on the pages is fake? Explain what is done to make the women look so perfect and tell them, just because you’re not *insert flavor of the month here*, doesn’t discount who you are as a person?

I think that lesson is worth more than a plastic doll, that’s going to be tossed to the side in a matter of time, but then again what do I know?

Images via Mattel

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