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Barbie: the bane of feminists, and why she is preferred
Whereas one could survey the literature on feminists’ reactions to the physical appearance of Barbie (Barbara Millicent Roberts), the following example makes unnecessary searching for other responses.
Feminists Jacqueline Urla and Alan C. Swedlund complained about Barbie’s unrealistic proportions.(1) They could have compared her to real women in her genre, namely glamour or fashion models, but they decided to compare her to the average proportions of women in the U.S. military. Hallelujah! The Army recruits’ measurements averaged 35.7 – 31 – 38.1 at 5-foot-4. This made me think...as an 8-inch taller male, my waist circumference is 30 inches...the feminist reaction becomes clearer...have the Gods forsaken feminists?
Whereas Barbie’s hourglass proportions have been toned down since 1998, it would be unnecessary to describe how much feminists still appreciate Barbie’s looks. Some feminists have appreciated Barbie being a career woman that remains single and has no children, but it is likely easier to ski in Hell than to find a feminist who likes Barbie’s unadulterated looks.
Barbie was derived from another very similar and popular doll, the Bild Lilli doll, which was meant for adults. Some have tried to come up with more anatomically correct dolls for educating children, but they have nowhere been as successful as Barbie and dolls similar to her. Some examples are shown below, including dolls that are abominable in my opinion.
“Anatomically correct” Amamanta dolls: a teenage girl, a pregnant woman and a woman giving birth.
The depraved minds behind the Amamanta dolls have no problems with exposing children to imagery of childbirth or recommending that children as young as 3-years-old be told that a woman gets pregnant when...
“dad's penis gets into mom's vagina. Then a liquid that dad makes that is called the sperm goes from dad’s penis into mom’s vagina. The sperm reaches the egg and it becomes fertilized, or ready to become a baby.”
Children shouldn’t be dealt with in such a straightforward manner. I recall babysitting a friend’s kid (4- or 5-years-old) who was asking pesky questions. So I showed him a gorilla and pointed out the gorilla's flat nose. Then I pointed out my pointy nose and the boy’s flattened nose. So where did he get his flattened nose from? I told him he was picked up from the jungle and was born to gorillas; a disease had turned his skin white. He didn’t want to believe this, but he did ask his mother whether he had a skin disease. The important point is that he stopped asking me pesky questions.
Anyway, what explains the popularity of Barbie? Albert Magro had drawings of parts of the human body in two formats, one slightly closer to the apes’ form and the other showing the more derived form, judged for attractiveness by 495 individuals.(2, pdf) Most judges preferred the drawing depicting the more derived form.
Contrast an ape female with Barbie. Barbie has many features that exaggerate the derived features of humans, and this is the reason behind her appeal.
The ape female, even though posing in a seductive manner, looks very unattractive from a human perspective.
O feminist, may thee see the light. Amen.
- Jacqueline Urla, Alan C. Swedlund. The Anthropometry of Barbie: Unsettling the Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture. In: Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture (Jennifer Terry, Jacqueline Urla, Eds.). Indiana University Press, 1995.
- Magro, A. M., Why Barbie is perceived as beautiful, Percept Mot Skills, 85, 363 (1997).