Wednesday, March 4, 2009

If Barbie were real, she'd have to carry her ribs in her handbag

A state rep from West Virginia is proposing a statewide ban on Barbie dolls, I have learned from the Today Show. His reasoning? "I just hate the image that we give to our kids that if you're beautiful, you're beautiful and you don't have to be smart."

Ugh, god. He's a Democrat? I thought sexual repression and censorship were on the other guys' list of priorities. 

For everyone who was expecting a feminist high-five via the blogosphere, sack UP already. It's a doll. I owned a dozen of them as a child. I spent hours dressing them up in ridiculous clothes, planning elaborate weddings to that stud Ken (who was actually the "Eric" doll from The Little Mermaid as blondes didn't do much for me even as a five year old) and of course, consummating said marriage in the master suite of the Barbie DreamHouse. Once, Barbie beat the hell out of (and ended up decapitating) Skipper because Skipper kidnapped little Kelly. 

My point? Barbie was the source of countless hours of entertainment for my friends and me, and we are not worse off for it. Yes, I wanted to look like her when I was younger. Junior year of high school hit and I grew hips but not DD's and I got over it

I'm not saying the state rep has no point. He does. All children should be raised in a culture where health is the goal rather than beauty. Yet I remember many instances when my body image was tarnished, and they don't involve Barbie. They involve open weigh-ins in grade school gym class.  Ballet teachers pinching my inner thighs and clucking their tongues in disapproval. A mean boy at the public pool laughing at my un-filled bikini top.  More recently, my self-esteem took a hit when I went shopping for work clothes after four years of binge drinking and consuming more than my fair share of cheese curds.

I can't speak for everyone, but real life affected my self-image more than playing with disproportionate dolls ever could have. 

More importantly, we are in the middle of an economic meltdown, jackass. Maybe no one co-sponsored your bill because they are busy saving the country from implosion.