Barbie Got Back Part Two
I was going to write a Valentine’s Day post, but I did a post on the
completely made up totally true origins of the holiday already. So it’s back to our post on healthy body image! There is a song by Sir Mix-A-Lot, dedicated totally to this, and it is totes romantic.
You see? Even rapper knights from the 80s know that it’s okay for a woman to have some curves on her! So why not Barbie? That’s the conclusion Mattel came to after only 50 years or so. And lots of complaining. And their company profits sort of going down the toilet due to not putting effort into their projects anymore. So they made some gutsy changes that got Barbie on the cover of Time Magazine. No, I’m serious.
Yes, there is now a “curvy” Barbie with an actual behind, a bit of tummy, and healthy thighs. Also a tall, flatter Barbie, and a short “petite” Barbie, for all those freaky tall and short people out there. Just kidding. It’s actually nice to see a variety of doll shapes since some girls are tall and skinny (like I was, and I like my daughters are) and others are just short and petite which I used to envy until I realized I would always be able to reach items on the top shelf that they couldn’t.
I got all three shapes of doll because RESEARCH. Again, apologies for the naked doll pictures, but if you wanna see the shape, you gotta see it without clothes. And we all know Barbie always goes commando underneath her duds, with the exception of those drawn on skin-tone panties that look like she’s got some sort of infection going on. I also pulled back in the Lammily doll, based on an average of normal girl proportions, from my last post for comparison, though she’s a little more annoyed about the nude thing. Barbie is used to it, as she regularly lays around my house with no clothes, just as she did when I was a kid.
The Things, otherwise known as my testers, checked out the dolls and gave their opinions. The short one had a nice dress but scary looking eyes. The tall one was, like, tall. Thing Two strongly favored Miss Curvy. I told them we needed names, so Thing Two decided on presidents. Meet Jenny Clinton, Emma Obama, and Sarah Roosevelt.
Now for the pictures that will probably surface during their campaigns. We brought in highly-flexible yoga Barbie again (her name is Marsha Brady Trump and if you have to ask why, you probably haven’t read my blog much.) Since Curvy Ms. Roosevelt is the most controversial, I concentrated on her for most of the comparison shots.
So Curvy’s legs are noticably thicker, and you can see a bit of thigh. But you need a closer look to really see the junk in the trunk. This post is going to get so many views for all the wrong reasons.
So she has a butt – a real butt. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see very many behinds (not that I spend a lot of time looking but you know what I mean I think I’ll stop talking now) that are so nonexistent as on Flexi Trump. And once again those pencil legs really stand out, even if they can bend behind her body in a scary sort of way that – even scarier – real people are actually able to do in yoga class. Did I mention you can get stress fractures doing yoga? It’s true – a coworker did. And she thought she was getting healthy!
Anyway, I also wanted to compare Curvy Roosevelt’s body to the Lammily more average sized body. Come on, Meg! Come meet someone! No, really, we promise it will be better this time!
Again, we did the strip tease shot. Meg is filing a lawsuit against me, I’m pretty sure. She doesn’t get research.
The two dolls both have some added butt and thigh, though one has a shorter torso, and the other a longer one. I’m not sure really which torso is the most normal. Maybe it’s because women are shaped differently. Nah, it has to be problems with manufacturing! Curvy has skinnier arms and upper body, and her legs get skinnier in the calf down to the feet that are still too small to adequately support a normal person. Plus, while she’s wearing shoes here, I can tell you she still has no toes. Unlike the Lammily doll, who has some very detailed toes there. Evolution in doll making for sure!
My body has always been a bit closer to curvy, which is why I object when people complain – you’re shocked right? – that her body is unrealistic still. It’s called “pear shaped”. There’s also “apple shaped” (if you are bigger around he middle) and “stick shaped” (if you still have to wear undershirts instead of bras and you’ve been desperately searching for your hips.) I’ve had friends of all these body types. Not surprisingly, none of us are happy. Especially when we’re told we’re either too fat or too skinny. Just as this doll, like the Lammily doll, is “fat”, according to people with very thin minds.
Finnick from the Hunger Games doesn’t seem to mind.
Time Magazine complained about a few things. For one, the doll has no clothes to fit her yet, though they are coming out with some in the future. Oh, dear! It’s like someone might have to sew those clothes. And sell them. And they have sewn them and we have come. To Etsy, where I have never gone before. It’s truly amazing the talent out there that “average” people have to sew tiny clothes in perfect detail. Mattel and other companies need to employ these people.
I was asked if kids are really that affected by a doll. No, it’s not the doll – it’s the culture so many embrace, of one nearly impossible body. But as a parent, there are so many ways to combat it. They watch you in whatever you do and say (including how you hate your own looks, which is something I say too often). They also arrive without judgment (most of the time). Like the song in South Pacific, such attitudes toward skin color or body shape “have to be carefully taught”. I liked watching how my kids judged the dolls based on which ones they happened to like best. And they like most dolls with little notice of size, shape, or color. Disney princesses play alongside Ken and Barbie and it’s not totally unknown for My Little Pony or, say, a giant stuffed rabbit to invade from time to time. We like to call it creativity. Or madness. Both have a great spark.