četrtek, 09. junij 2011

Is Barbie based on a German sex doll?

I always wanted a Barbie to play with as a child so I nagged to my mother to buy me one (or two or three...). Yes, eventually I wasn't satisfied with only one doll; I wanted to have all of them, including Barbie car and house of course. I remember my neighbor had a wide collection of Barbie’s and I was at her place every day because she had all of the “good stuff”. I secretly envy her because she had Barbie speedboat, a car, house, horse, cool Barbie clothes and shoes and also I envy her because she had Ken. Yes, yes…the Ken doll was really exciting because we could play like we were in real life. I could call it “a perfect life”, because Barbie and Ken had all! Besides house, cars and all of this stuff, they also had (or they still do) perfect bodies and great relationship which was based on (believe it or not) – sex. As we played with dolls we eventually end up with the scene when Barbie and Ken were having sex.
Anorexic Barbie
 Let’s have a look at the origin of Barbie doll:
The origin of Barbie doll can be traced back to Lilli. Lilli was a character in a German comic strip and she was (as others describes her) sassy, ambitious and she favored boyfriends with a lot of money. Later on they decided to make a Lilli doll, which was originally marketed to adults in bars and tobacco shops as a gag gift or a joke. Lilli’s first advertisements called her “the star of every little bar and many refer to Lilli as a “sex toy”. Ruth Handler (the creator of Barbie) was on a trip to Germany and she discovered Lilli doll. She believed that that kind of doll would enable girls (like her daughter) to imagine themselves in future also in other roles than just being a mother (because at that time, there were just baby dolls mostly). And voila! Barbie was created.

But what does Barbie really represents? There are several points to consider:
  • Her body image is way below normal
If Barbie was real human being she would walk on all fours because of her body proportion. In 1965 Slumber Party Barbie was introduced and it came out with a bathroom scale permanently set on 110 lbs (which is approximately 50 kg) and a miniature book with the title “How to lose weight” – inside was a simple advice “Don’t eat”. What message is that sending to young girls all over the world? Just don’t eat and you will look as skinny as Barbie, or what? Are they serious?!
Miniature book with "great" advice inside
Here I could point out also all the commercials and advertisements of beautiful, skinny, flawless women where they are advertising everything else but a product. But this is a different story…maybe I will talk about this one in other blog. But just to explain what I mean with one word – most of the ads you see are selling sex.  
  •  A need to be materialistic
Barbie would be nothing without her convertible! Oh, and she needs this house and a whole closet of clothes and shoes…Really? From first hand I know that this is how it is…I also wanted everything as I said at the beginning. Here is a good perspective from an article - Barbie's Effects on American Suburban Culture: “Barbie portrays the doll who could do anything. Her world is open for her. She reflects the time period during the beginning of suburbia where middle class families felt that they had the world open to them because of their new positions in suburbs. Barbie's many accessories represented the high consumption lifestyle of these new suburbanites. She had her dream house, completely furnished, a racy sports car, and a wardrobe that expanded almost every day. The economy was booming and consumerism was on the rise and this was shown in the objects and "necessities" that Barbie possessed. This shows that the majority of consumers of Barbie and her accessories were of the suburban middle class. This also holds true for the materialism in today's society. Individuals are constantly striving to own more and more. As Michelle Sit points out, the amount of accessories that children owned of Barbie could be tied in with their social class. The more accessories, the more money the family had to buy their children toys. Some children may have felt left out in this scenario. The ideals of Barbie are portrayed through this ideal of suburbia that material things are very important.”
  • Barbie girl song
Remember that song from Aqua? I sang it all the time when it came out…I was probably in grammar school and I liked that song – dreaming about how cool it would be if I was Barbie while singing that song. I can still hear it in my ears “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…life in plastic, it’s fantastic…” Huh, read the lyrics and see what the song is all about:

I'm a Barbie girl in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation

Come on, Barbie, let's go party
I'm a blonde single girl in the fantasy world
Dress me up, take your time, I'm your dollie
You're my doll, rock and roll, feel the glamour and pain
Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky

You can touch, you can play
You can say I'm always yours, oooh whoa


Clearly…it’s about sex! Hanky-panky indeed!

OK...so these are some points that I wanted to share…the conclusion is up to you ;)

5 komentarjev:

  1. Thanks Ajda! Barbi is a great example of how we are programmed from very early age. Time to release all misconceptions and start living as equals.

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  2. Cool Ajda - We must create a world where children are not programmed to fantasize about themselves in the image and likeness of a sex doll.

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  3. Yeh, my Lego world was just as plastic, but both toys employ a childs imagination

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