Feminism and Barbie

I watched Sunrise, I think it was Monday (or last Friday?), where the “Kochie’s Angels” (or “Larry’s Angels, I guess), were talking about the Barbie commercial that I posted above. It supposed to be “empowering” to women and young girls, telling them that gender was not an issue when trying to achieve your dreams. Even though the commercial is cute, the “Angels” unanimously agreed that it wasn’t empowering.

I agree.

First thing is that you have five or six year – old kids in these roles of professionals that they want to be when they grow up. Inevitably, the ad takes a condescending turn. Everyone is shocked that these kids are in these roles? And who wouldn’t be? Who, as a six – year – old, were taken seriously when they said that they wanted to be a singer, dancer, actor, or even any other profession? Not many I bet. Sure, kids are told that they can “be what they want”, but I think that most adults assume that most kids will “grow out” of their obsession, whatever that might be.

Another point that was made is that the whole ad is hypocritical. Makers of Barbie have long been criticised for making her such an unrealistic shape. The ratios of the body that Barbie has; the small frame, etc would never be healthy. In fact, if someone was like that in real life, they’d be infertile because of the problems they’d have menstruating. Most Barbies play on the unrealistic fantasy, the so – called “perfect figure”. Not to mention that really, Barbie usually often alienates minorities; people with a disability (although there was one or two dolls that were supposedly made with disabilities, although I only heard about that once), although there are barbies in the form of various ethnic backgrounds, the majority are still white and blond. Not to mention the fashion accessories that Barbies often where, e.g. the stilettos. How many times have women been told how bad they are for your feet and back?

Then again, it sells. Everything about Barbie sells and it uses the fantasy of the “average” girl to do it. Reminds me of “The Simpsons” episode where Lisa tries to change the Malibu Stacy Doll, only to have it backfire and the sales only sky rocket when the old sexist, dumb – blonde, stereotype was on sale again, with a “new hat”. Whoopi do!

Moral of the story? It’s SOCIETY that needs to change it’s attitudes: on women, on image, on attitudes toward minorities and the way men and women relate. It’s WE that has to talk with our wallets, credit/ debit cards, etc and be conscious about what we buy. It’s up to parents to love their children unconditionally, and instil a sense of self – worth that no amount of marketing and advertising can diminish. Remember:

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It all starts with us ladies.

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Zoo Weekly Has Stopped Publication After This Month, Playboy to Stop Naked Photos of Women – Win For Feminism?

Last month, it was reported in the media that controversial “lad’s mag” Zoo Weekly was going to stop publication and distribution after this month. This was welcomed by staff at blog Mamamia last month. The reason? Apparently, sales of the controversial lad’s mag has fell steeply. Which makes sense. You don’t continue producing what isn’t selling right?

Is this a win for feminism? The Mamamia staff seem to think so. Historically, ‘lad’s mags’ have always clashed with feminists, including Hugh Hefner’s Playboy back in the 1970’s (talking about playboy, they’ve reportedly stopped publishing photos of naked women).

Win for feminists? Well…

In the comments section of the blog post above, commenters condemned women’s mags such as ‘Women’s Weekly’band ‘Woman’s Day’ (Australia), for focussing on women’s looks and gossip. I do get the critic’s point.

We won’t win the war on sexism and violence against women until feminist of the Labor/ Greens persuasion stop beibg so divisive. As I’ve written before, we need all sides; conservatives and liberals to be united on the cause. Maybe we need to be open to unpopular opinion, and not scream every time Miranda Devine writes a blog post about issues like domestic violence.

In regard to domestic violence, I believe we need to be open to hearing about women from all walks of life, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who are statistically at higher risk of domestic violence than Anglo – Saxon women. I’m not sure about women of other ethnic backgrounds (and am too slack at the moment to Google for other information).

Which brings me to another point.

Last month, Daily Telegraph columnist and blogger Miranda Devine was condemned by Mamamia’s editor – in – chief Jamila Rizvi for a blog post where Devine strongly argued that women from an impoverished background, where unemployment and welfare dependence was high, along with certain lifestyles of women put them at greater risk of being victimised. After the backlash, she published a post with statistics from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics that indicated where the higher prevalence of domestic violence occurred. Yet, she was slammed by it. Why? Too politically incorrect? Because Devine is a highly conservative columnist who writes for Newscorp? My guess, it’s a mixture of the two, frankly. But in my opinion, we NEED voices like Miranda Devine and get all data we can to make sure that everyone who is affected by domestic violence can get the help they need, regardless of their ethnicity, Indigenous status or socio – economic background.

So, yeah, I guess for many, the collapse of Zoo Weekly is a victory for women and feminism. But it’s only a small victory in my opinion. If we’re going to make the world, or at least Australia, a better place for women. we need to be holistic about the goal, stop the liberal/ conservative divide and aim to help ALL women, even if doing so puts a stop to the ignorance of data that show any thing we wish that weren’t the case.