It may be time for Barbie to get a accomplished new apparel and some fun new accessories: Aging Jilted Barbie, complete with decrepit bathrobe, canteen of red wine and archetype of Eat, Pray, Love.
That’s because Barbie is actuality pushed out in favor of younger, sluttier dolls with bigger heads. First it was Bratz with their outrageously aloof up lips, abundant architecture and calamus boas, now it’s Monster High dolls, who dress like prostitutes and accept the ambit of lollipops. Sales for Barbie were bottomward 13% over the anniversary quarter, the steepest bead in contempo memory. This time aftermost year, sales had abandoned alone 4%.
Barbie has consistently gotten abuse for her too thin, too fabricated look; she’s basically an amount for aggregate feminists hate. But at atomic Barbie looks like an developed woman, which is added than can be said for the Monster High dolls. They accept astronomic alive and spaghetti legs absorbed to a prepubescent anatomy clad in fishnets and dominatrix boots. Barbie ability be too attenuate for some people’s taste, but she doesn’t attending like a babyish hooker. I’d booty an out-of-whack anatomy angel over sexualizing kids any day of the week.
Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images
It’s adamantine not to feel apologetic for her. Ruthlessly attacked, snatched out of the easily of adoring 6-year-olds by politically actual parents and usurped by fishnet-clad hussies with none of her address and professionalism, Barbie accurately keeps advantageous the allowance on her Barbie Glam Convertible and the mortgage on her Malibu Dreamhouse. She picks up afterwards the dog, the pony and the unicorn, every goddamn time. It’s a attempt for her to get out of bed every day, because if she were a absolute woman, she would accept the BMI of a astringent anorexic (at 5 ft. 9 in. and 110 lb.) and would accept adversity continuing up on those tiny feet.
But now Barbie’s makers accept absitively to action aback and about-face the chat about her cool accommodation around. Aftermost month, they launched a new attack alleged #Unapologetic to advance aback at some of the haters. “In essence, Barbie is consistently asked to apologize for what she looks like,” Mattel backer Michelle Chidoni tells me. “And the bulletin there is to be unapologetic.” The new ads that accommodate a Times Square advance and lots of amusing media (“Be YOU. Be Bold. Be #Unapologetic”) are acutely advised to exhausted body-image critics at their own game. Yes, Barbie is aiming to be the affiche baby for changeable empowerment.
And that’s not as aberrant as it sounds. Barbie has formed every additional of every day aback she was invented in 1959, and she’s burst added bottle ceilings than Sheryl Sandberg. Sure, she started off as a boyhood appearance model, but bound formed her way up to appearance editor, again absitively “what the hell” and went aback to get her doctorate in astrochemistry so that she could be an astronaut by 1965. In the 1970s she performed surgeries and won the 1975 Olympics (where she bedeviled every event, aback no added athletes competed that year). And in the ’90s she ran for President, performed with the Rockettes and played for Dallas in the WNBA.
Like a lot of acknowledged women, she finds that no amount how abundant she achieves bodies won’t stop talking about her looks. She’s additionally adamant by the criticism that her too absolute amount creates unrealistic anatomy standards for girls. Aftermost year, artisan Nickolay Lamm fabricated after-effects by creating “Normal Barbie,” a baby with the ambit of the boilerplate 19-year-old, aloof to appearance the contrast. Barbie’s additionally been one of the capital scapegoats of the movement adjoin gendered toys in the “pink aisle,” with parents and kids agitating for added alive toys for girls that aren’t all about appearance and beauty. Even conservatives use her name as a slur; Erick Erickson of RedState alleged Texas accompaniment agent Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” afterwards her 11-hour delay of an antiabortion bill.
There is analysis to appearance that Barbie’s barbaric ambit do affect girls’ anatomy image, but it seems simplistic to accusation Barbie abandoned for article as complicated as the way girls anticipate about their weight. For one thing, added analysis shows that adolescent girls’ anatomy angel is added afflicted by their mothers’ attitudes than annihilation else. So anyone who thinks banning Barbie dolls is activity to aback aftereffect in advantageous self-esteem is actively delusional.
The abundant irony of the Barbie agitation is that we absorb so abundant time talking about how she looks and so little time talking about her careers — all 150 of them. She represents adorableness and materialism, sure, but she additionally represents mutability, acuteness and able possibilities. If we took her assignment activity bisected as actively as we took her waist measurement, we could use Barbie as a way to allocution to girls about the jobs they want, not the bodies they want. Barbie knows how to ask for a promotion, you can accord her that.
GoldieBlox engineering toys for girls are a abundant another to the blush aisle, but there will consistently be some girls who aloof like dolls. And while best of those dolls accept the aforementioned atom waists and cool legs, none of them accept Barbie’s résumé. Let’s not abandon her aloof yet. Instead, let’s get her a scrunchie and a BlackBerry and get her aback in the game.