Rethinking Barbie

The redesigns of Barbie include a tall thin black Barbie, an average height plus size white barbie with blue hair, a tall thin white barbie with brunette hair, a short thin latino barbie, a tall thin red-head barbie and an average height plus size blonde barbie.
Barbie’s New Image

By Brianna Love

Today’s Barbie doll is often seen as an “anti-feminist” doll. It’s argued that she body shames women into thinking that her figure is the “ideal” of how a woman is supposed to look.

On the contrary, Barbie actually started out as a symbol for feminism. She was the first doll to exist that wasn’t a baby doll. It was society’s first doll that didn’t teach young girls how to nurture and become caregivers.

Barbie also allowed girls to imagine having a variety of occupations. Throughout history, it taught young girls that they could become anything, including but not limited to: an astronaut, a lawyer, a teacher, or an athlete.

With the onslaught of feminist critique, the makers of Barbie are currently concerned with the low sales of the dolls. This is due to the body image the dolls are portraying.

Over time, Barbie has evolved into a series of “ideals” that mothers no longer want to showcase to their young daughters.

Her “un-relatable” hourglass figure. Her long blonde hair. Her bright blue eyes, and her perky breasts appear as what society calls the “perfect woman.”

            “Moms are probably the most important influence on a daughter’s body image. Even if a mom says to the daughter, ‘You look so beautiful, but I’m so fat,’ it can be detrimental.”

Parents sometimes don’t realize how much children observe and learn while they are still growing.

I grew up with a mom and grandma who would diet fairly often. While I was always a petite girl, I still have that nagging voice in my head saying I need to “eat better and exercise more.” It was just the type of environment I was raised in.

We are so quick to blame television, the radio, famous icons, and anyone else other than ourselves. Granted, those mediums of information do play a role in how society views things. However, they are not the sole instigator.

            If the traditional Barbie was a real woman, she would be 5’9”, have a 39-inch bust, an 18-inch waist, 33-inch hips, wear a size 3 in shoes, and weigh about 120 pounds. This “perfect” body image would likely result in A LOT of health issues. For instance, the woman described would likely not be able to menstruate at all.

This was NEVER the common body image, but it was the “ideal” body image. Therefore, it gives an unrealistic expectation to young girls. One in 100 thousand women are born with this body type.  But, should we be body shaming the girls that are thinner or bigger than Barbie?

CJ
Cindy Jackson in 1979 vs. 2014

In 2016, the average American girl between the ages of 3 and 11 owned approximately 11 Barbie dolls. All were the same size, so that they could share Barbie clothes.

 

Barbie’s body image influenced Cindy Jackson so much that she underwent over 20 different cosmetic surgeries so that she would fit the Barbie body image. In 2006, she was named, “Britain’s most surgically altered woman.”

            “Why should we live in a face that’s foisted on us from birth? We choose our clothes, our hair-colouring. Why not our face?”- Cindy Jackson

Cosmetic surgery is a heated topic among feminists, in regard to whether it’s right or wrong. Some feminists think that we should be able to do whatever we want with our bodies. Including altering them into the way we want them to look. Others argue that cosmetic surgeons, “ruthlessly prey on women’s body insecurities.”

No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s safe to say that idolizing a plastic toy so much, that they spend millions of dollars to look like it, is a little overboard.

Kim Culmone, VP designer at Mattel, said, “Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress.”

Barbie was supposed to be a fantasy for little girls. The dolls were meant to be a tool for young girls to imagine more for their lives–other than the expectations to get married, have children, take care of the house, etc.

The company that created Barbie, Mattel, is now redesigning Barbie to be all different sizes: short and tall, a variety of waist sizes, and a variety of ethnicities. They are completely rethinking the image of Barbie.

Mattel struggled with deciding to redesign such a traditional figure, because in past test marketing groups, the children did not like the new variety of dolls. They wanted them to look like the traditional Barbie.

Hulu recently released a documentary on the process of redesigning Barbie. This documentary is called, Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie.

In this documentary, Mattel tells the history of Barbie and how she has evolved.

“Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, examines the world’s most popular doll, from her humble origins to her controversial persona today. In her 59 years, Barbie has become a fashion icon, a lightning rod, and a target for feminists. This documentary reveals unprecedented access to the inner workings of a toy giant during Barbie’s biggest reinvention.” –IMDb

After watching the insightful documentary, my view of Barbie has changed. I think she was just misunderstood and a little delayed in evolving with society.

 

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Advertising? Or Objectification?

Advertisement for "Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies" with one of Gogh's landscapes as the background
Advertisement for “Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies”

By Chloe Rigg

A picture speaks a thousand words.

 A Van Gogh piece might suggest, “warmth, radiance, summer.” While a piece by Salvador Dali could conjure up, “surreal, strange, unimaginable.” Now, what thousand words are recalled by this:

An advertisement for Skyy Vodka depicting a man standing over a woman on a beach
An advertisement for Skyy Vodka

For one, it takes a couple of looks to even tell what product is being advertised. And second, I think more than a thousand words could go along with this picture. And they aren’t as radiant as a Van Gogh painting.

Continue reading “Advertising? Or Objectification?”

Why you shouldn’t Stress about Spring Break

By Makayla Sundquist

Spring break!

The words I love spring break are written in the sand on the beach
Sand writing supporting Spring Break

A time spent traveling to far off locations, working at home, or binge-watching Netflix and eating ice cream all day. I never used to be anxious about spring break, because I always spent it skiing in Sandpoint. The bulky winter clothes were perfectly acceptable. No one could see my face because of my ski googles, so makeup was out of the question. Spring break was the perfect week. I did not have to worry about my appearance.

Well, that is certainly changing this year. This year, I am planning a trip to Honolulu, and I am very excited. However, as soon as I bought my plane ticket, the pressure was on. I need to be “spring break ready.” I was going to have to wear a bikini! What if people saw my stretch marks, or cellulite? What if my tummy was too chubby? My legs were too big? Instantly, all of these thoughts crashed into my mind.

That’s it, I told myself. Eat really healthy and exercise every day. I wanted to look AMAZING on the beach.

But, here is the thing…

Continue reading “Why you shouldn’t Stress about Spring Break”

Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.

Renaissance artwork depicting seven nude women standing in a row
Renaissance artwork by Hans Baldung titled “The Seven Ages of Women”

By Chloe Rigg 

Pear.

        Apple.

                     Hourglass.

These words seem to have no connection at first glance. But, they are actually different female body shapes. These classifications tie into modern beauty standards and body image. Today’s society wants women to strive to have porcelain skin, be tall, and skinny but with some curve. These body standards exclusive to the diverse multicultural world we live into today. One might think that beauty standards have always looked like the traits previously described. Looking back into history through different cultures will prove this completely wrong. What society defines as beauty is a fluid idea that could change at any moment.

So, what traits portrayed the “ultimate” beauty throughout history?

Continue reading “Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.”

Love, Don’t Shame Your Body

A drawing of nine women of various body sizes standing together in their undergarments. Each woman has a letter painted on her stomach, which together it spells "beautiful." Art by Isaiah Stephens
All Body Types Are Beautiful

By Brianna Love

Body positivity is a serious problem among women. It doesn’t matter what size a woman is. It’s almost a guarantee that she is self-conscious about her body. Recently, our culture has turned away from “fat-shaming” and focused on “skinny-shaming.”

Why do we care so much about what other women’s bodies look like?

I think it goes back to the basics of bullying. I will put you down to make myself feel better. We let our own insecurities affect the way we treat others, and it’s time to put that tendency to an end.

Continue reading “Love, Don’t Shame Your Body”

Not So Pretty In PINK

PINK Bus stairs reading, Pink Campus Tour 2016. Your School. Your Pink. #pinkbus. Follow vspink on snapchat and instagram

By Chloe Rigg

Clothing has been an ever-changing part of society–practically changing with every generation. Some styles have been more bizarre then others, “‘Many [a woman] makes two breastbags [bags for the breasts], with them she roams the streets, so that all the young men that look at her, can see her beautiful breasts; But whose breasts are too large, makes tight pouches, so there is no gossip in the city about her big breasts.’” Though it might sound like a medieval rap lyric, this quote is from a 15th century satirical piece about women’s “bras” at the time. Though having vast knowledge on 15th century clothing might be a cool icebreaker, you don’t have to look far back into history to see how lingerie companies have affected women’s body image and self-esteem.

Earlier in the week, another Women’s Center blogger took a deeper look into why the PINK bus on campus was a good thing, and it doesn’t make you a bad feminist to support it. Because every argument has two {or multiple} sides, I will be discussing the negative aspects of the campus PINK bus.

Continue reading “Not So Pretty In PINK”

#PINKBus & Feminism

A side-angle image of a pink tour bus with white polka dots that says
Victoria’s Secret PINK Tour Bus

By  Brianna Love

On Thursday, Feb. 18, the Victoria’s Secret PINK Tour Bus stopped by at the University of Idaho campus. The bus brought with it a lot of controversy. Should this be allowed on university campuses?

Well, why shouldn’t it be allowed on campuses? This great marketing strategy for the PINK brand allows students to shop brand new products on their own campus. For students at the University of Idaho, this is a treat because there is no local PINK store.

Does this go against what feminism stands for?

Continue reading “#PINKBus & Feminism”