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.
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:
It all starts with us ladies.