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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White Privilege

White-privilege1
Poster of White Privilege

 

By Beatrice Santiago

Privilege… It exists.

What is it?

Where does it come from?

When I think about defining “White Privilege,” I think about how it has affected me in my life. So many moments that I can’t seem to name a specific one. When searching for “white privilege” definitions, it was hard to find some examples. Here is what I found:

Cambridge English Dictionary:

“White Privilege: the fact of people with white skin having advantages in society that other people do not have. The concept of white privilege explains why white people have greater access to society’s legal and political institutions.”

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The Taboos of Tattoos

A Victorian woman with tattoos from neck to toe
Circus woman La Belle Irene

By Chloe Rigg 

Tattoos.

Whether you think they’re trashy or artwork, they’ve been a part of society practically since the beginning. Historically, women aren’t shown as having tattoos, but they have become less taboo since the late 19th century. In 1882, the first American tattooed women, Nora Hildebrandt started an exhibit displaying her neck to toe tattoos with a reported 365 different tattoo designs. Thankfully, today’s tattooing practices aren’t quite as painful as a single needle (not attached to a machine) being driven under the skin a single pin prick at a time.

Today, tattoos aren’t exclusively for sailors or gutsy women.

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Leading Women

Two women give the hand gesture of their sorority Kappa Alpha Theta
A photo of myself and my Big creating Theta’s hand gesture.

By Makayla Sundquist

It is senior week at Theta (my sorority, well actually, my women’s fraternity) and I am a whirlwind of emotions. I am excited to graduate and continue with life. However, I am also very sad to leave my friends and my Greek family. As I look back on my time in Theta, I realize how differently I thought about Greek life during high school and my first years in college…

I hated it.

No way. Not for me. I thought Greek life was how the movies portrayed it. Women judging potential recruits based on looks, partying all the time, and spending far too much money to make friends. I didn’t want to be part of an organization that crushed individuality and intelligence. I didn’t need that.

Oh, was I naïve.

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Looking Through The Eyes Of An Anti-Feminist

Women of the world unite
A Photo of a Feminist March

By Sierra Rothermich

I’m going to ask you to do something difficult…

Something individuals rarely do, but it is of great importance…

Up for the challenge?

Try to understand a different perspective — look through the eyes of an anti-feminist.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is defined as “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” However, some women don’t consider themselves feminists. In fact, there is a website called womenagainstfeminism.com dedicated to expressing anti-feminist views. According to a national survey by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation, six in ten women and one third of men consider themselves a feminist or strong feminist. About seven in ten people said they thought the movement was empowering.

However, four in ten Americans said the movement is angry and unfairly blames men for women’s challenges. A writer on womenagainstfeminism.com explains, “modern-day feminism has taken a different path that I cannot relate to.”

So here is the challenge — Let’s try to understand this perspective. Take a moment with me to look through the eyes of an anti-feminist.

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Women and Christianity

By Makayla Sundquist

Recently, I stumbled upon this image that one of my Facebook friends had shared. The second I saw it, my blood started to boil.

bullshit
*eye roll* Source: Veterans to Christ Facebook Page

The Problem

I have always had an issue with organized religion because women are put second, seen as inferior, and subjected to traditional gender roles. Growing up, my family always went to church and I was a believer. Now, I am not so sure. I definitely believe in a higher power, but that might be one God. Or, a hundred Gods. I really don’t know. However, I know that I am not a fan of traditional religion and the way women are treated.

*Please note that in this blog post I will only be discussing Christianity because that is the religion I grew up with and am comfortable analyzing.

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You Don’t Own Me

Picture of singer Lesley Gore
Picture of Lesley Gore

By Brianna Love

I have a friend who has recently had an argument with her boyfriend.

You see, she was in a sorority a year before he joined a fraternity.

Before he joined a fraternity, the rule was that she couldn’t go to socials with fraternities since he wasn’t able to go with her.

Which she had no problem with, because he wasn’t going to socials at sororities without her. However, the week he pledged to a fraternity, the rules changed for him.

She still wasn’t allowed to go to fraternity socials, but he was allowed to go to sorority socials. This is when she wasn’t okay with the “rule.”

When she brought it to his attention, they argued for hours…

This is pretty typical in any relationship.

The male tends to set up double standards in the relationship. For example, a guy can go to a strip club and get a lap dance for his birthday, but God forbid a girl go to the bars with her friends to have a good time.

Continue reading “You Don’t Own Me”