Barbie made the headlines last week, and it wasn’t because of her daring rescue of a kitten falling out of the Barbie mansion. Mattel released three new body shapes- curvy, tall and petite- for its line of Barbie dolls, making the most dramatic changes to her appearance in her 57 year life span. Yes, yet again, Barbie is back in the news because of her plastic figure. See, she had work done to make her look more like…who, exactly? Bless her heart, the poor gal can be a perfect 10 and still be forced to change.So much focus has been placed on making Barbie look like the “average” woman. But in order for Barbie to truly look like the person with which she plays, I’d think she’d have to take on more of a transformation than simply becoming taller or more plump. Wouldn’t she have to also be short and baby-faced, being that the person playing with her is actually a child? And if there is a pre-teen who still enjoys playing with Barbies, then wouldn’t the doll need to have acne, a flat chest and awkward posture? Last I checked, it’s youngins – not grown women- who play with dolls, using a little known thing called “imagination”. In other words, kids can play with toys knowing that the toys don’t have to look just like them.
On second thought, you know what? Since we’re all being so politically correct, I’d like to know where my look-alike Barbie is. Of course, she’d have to look a tad grungy after not showering for a few days and have puffy, bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep. Don’t forget the pudgy, stretched-out belly and saggy boobs caused by three pregnancies and too much chocolate. And I’ll be offended if her eye brows are perfectly manicured, because that wouldn’t reflect my face to a tee. And she’d better be wearing a dirty bath robe and have coffee breath and hairy legs. I’ll name my Barbie “Mom” and I’ll think she’s impeccable because she looks just like me. (Insert eye roll.) Is it so wrong to have a doll in which our girls can emulate? At least Barbie is always smiling and positive. And isn’t it great that she is passionate and loves life? I mean, I’m all about good things: I love that there are Barbies of all skin and hair colors, and all types of professions and hobbies. I actually remember being excited about getting a brunette Barbie when I was young, not because she looked more “real” than the blonde, just because she was different and new. But while we love that God made all humans unique, do we really expect a company to manufacture toys in the same way? What a boring world we’d have if we all looked like the original Barbie. Do we really think that little girls give a toot about the body shape of a Barbie? Again, if so, then they need to be playing with dolls who look like a little girl. But if we as parents are relying on a plastic figurine to give our children self esteem then we are in big trouble.Give me a damn break, y’all. It’s called pretend. It’s called imagination, which is something I have a feeling the majority of children in today’s America lacks because of our propensity of political correctness. I’d also gather that with the reduction of imagination comes a reduction of happiness. How can one be happy if one is in a permanent state of comparison and feeling offended?If you’re so worried about your daughter being upset over a doll’s thin waist, then put them away and go outside and play with dogs and birds and bunnies. You know, nature. Where things are real, unlike a plastic toy with matted yellow hair. Better yet, encourage a love of reading, which will inspire their imagination. Or if your child insists on playing with Barbies, why don’t we let them go old school and break out the scissors and mom’s makeup and nail polish and make her look the way they want?Let’s stop putting so much pressure on Barbie’s stiff, molded shoulders. Maybe if we stop putting so much attention on things like the appearance of a plastic doll then we’d allow our daughters to do what they should be doing: Playing without worry. Let them do what imagination is supposed to do: Allow them to dream of life’s possibilities and fantasize about a bright future for themselves with their body and mind. Let’s promise to stop putting so much weight (no pun intended) into body shaming Barbie (or anyone else for that matter), and focus on putting more emphasis on encouraging our girls to have limitless hopes and aspirations while leading a healthy and fulfilling life.
Photo Credit: Tonya Palumbo T&T Photography