Sunday, January 19, 2014

Wasn't and will never be Barbie

Not gonna lie, I was kind of a weird little kid. Read too many books, was kinda chubby, and talked too much. But I do remember loving the whole Barbie brand. I was in love with dressing them up, making sure they had the best house, coloring in Ken and Barbie in their coloring books perfectly, playing the online games (I literally beat the Barbie Secret Agent game..), and I idolized the beauty that other girls my age had for years upon years. When I saw a Barbie a few days ago, it didn't remind me of the little bits of fun I had with the doll, it reminded me of all of my self-esteem problems that I had when I was so young.

Now, don't stop here and go, "It's a freaking doll. Get over it. She's thin, so what? Girls can be thin and healthy." Trust me, I know that. I get kind of frustrated over the constant battles between items that promote conventional beauty-- I'm all for destandardizing our standard, but sometimes it's just incessant. But when I look at a Barbie, I think of how all throughout elementary school, I wished to just be pretty and thin. I'd play with Barbie, looking at her thin legs, huge chest, gorgeous hair, and perfect makeup. We all wished to be at that 'cool' teenager stage where all of puberty had finally made us pretty. Barbie was that kind of pretty. I didn't know many cool kids then, but I knew that Barbie was probably a cool teenager. She wasn't cool because of all of her cool jobs, she was cool in my head because she was the kind of pretty I hoped to be some day. That's what Barbie instilled in me-- a desire for something unattainable, unimportant, and unrealistic.

What makes me frustrated about Barbie isn't necessarily the unproportional body or the way Mattel tries to make her because it's mostly adults that stir controversy over that. I've seen the photos of Barbie's dimensions and read about the organizations that have tried to stop some of their products, but I've seen them when I was at an age that I could recognize the faults and not worry about it. I get upset looking at a Barbie because when you're subjugated to it as a little girl and a Barbie is all you can think about getting for Christmas so that you can dress up her 36D bust and 18" waist with tiny, barely-there clothes, it hurts to know that other little girls are idolizing it too, hoping to just be... pretty. All I could think about then was growing up to have a bigger chest and be skinny. You can't understand at that age what conventional beauty means and that there are people trying to fight it. Or worse, you don't understand until later that that kind of beauty isn't always the norm and you've already had so many problems with it earlier. 

Call this a post against conventional beauty or a post against Barbies, whatever. All I'm saying is that this is a personal tale of a Barbie's unattainable prettiness really does have an effect on little girls, whether or not you'd like to believe it. 



  1. I love this! So completely true. I was also a huge Barbie fan as a child and it really is kinda sad to think that we idolized those dolls so much when they're completely unrealistic and there are many ways to be beautiful besides having those crazy proportions. Your sentence "Read too many books, was kinda chubby, and talked too much" literally describes me as a child, and the talking too much probably even now (haha) so I can definitely relate. It's hard to be a little chubby especially as a child and unrealistic models of beauty certainly don't help.

    1. Thanks so much, Taylor! I'm still just amazed by the photos of the real life dimensions and the fact that Barbie would probably have to have walked on all fours to walk... absolutely crazy that this is a DOLL.


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