Tag Archives: Barbie

Right. Ok. NOW Parents are concerned with the message that Barbie sends?

A new collectors edition Barbie doll has tattoos. Her name is Tokidoki and she has short pink hair and tattoos all over her body.

Tokidoki, a new collectible Barbie doll from Mattel

Parents are not on board with this.


Says one mom, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for little girls to be having Barbies with tattoos all over.” Another says, “I think it sends all the wrong signals for young girls.” Doesn’t anyone see the absurdity here? A popular doll that boasts completely unrealistic and unattainable body proportions and influences the young girls who play with them everyday is all of a sudden inappropriate now that she has tattoos?

Oh bother. I’ve written about this before (here’s the link) but I’ll repeat it here. Activists and feminists have time and time again pointed out how damaging the Barbie doll can be to little girls who are developing ideas about what roles girls and women play in society. They are constantly bombarded with messages in the media showing them how girls are “supposed” to look and act, and Barbies, which are directly marketed to them, are certainly part of the problem. In 2007 a high school student named Galia Slayen created a life-size Barbie to show how terrible of an influence she is to young girls — many of whom already struggle with poor self-image and eating disorders. Galia produced the true-to-size doll for her school’s participation in National Eating Disorder Awareness Week:

She stands about six feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. These are the supposed measurements of Barbie if she were a real person…

My Barbie’s role is simple. She grabs the attention of apathetic onlookers and makes them think and talk about an issue that thrives in silence. In the last four years, Barbie has surpassed my expectations, attracting attention and sparking conversation among listeners and readers across the nation…

During NEDAW, she reminds people that eating disorders and body image issues are serious and prevalent. Holding an awareness week in high school or college is just one way to get students to discuss these important issues. However, constant discussion and education is key to dealing with and overcoming eating disorders.

Despite her bizarre appearance, Barbie provides something that many advocacy efforts lack. She reminds of something we once loved, while showing us the absurdity of our obsession with perfection.


Galia with her life-size Barbie


Says parent Latifa Zyne in an article on CBS Local’s NYC site, “Maybe if a little girl sees that she also wants a tattoo and I think it’s not good.” She’s right. If a little girl plays with a doll with tattoos she might grow up thinking tattoos are cool and that she wants some one day. That same little girl, however, could also grow up thinking that her Barbie’s tiny waist, large chest, absurdly long legs and lack of rib cage are how a woman is supposed to look. And that’s a real problem. Because, see, tattoos you can get, and tattoos you can remove. But body image issues are life long struggles for girls that are exacerbated by images of impossible perfection pumped out by magazines, movies and commercials.

So, no. A Barbie with tattoos is not going to fuck up your daughter for life. And let’s get real: if you’re considering spending $50 on a plastic doll for your daughter, a few tattoos are the least of your problems.

Let’s get this straightened out: a doll with a ridiculous and unrealistic body is just as dangerous as a doll with a ridiculous and unrealistic body and tattoos.

And on that note, Miss Representation airs TONIGHT on OWN Network (Oprah’s new channel)! It’s a powerful documentary by Jennifer Siebel-Newsom that exposes the damage that popular media is doing to girls, and explores the limited roles that are available to women in the public eye. It features people like Margaret Cho, Geena Davis, Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, and Rachel Maddow, as well as young girls who are greatly effected by these images. Check your local listings for air time, and visit http://www.missrepresentation.org to learn more about the film!





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Why I Don’t Buy Women’s Magazines, or How the Media Is Convincing Women That Our Bodies Are Gross

As far as I can tell, mainstream women’s magazines (Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Glamour, etc.)* exist solely to convince you what a woman is “supposed to look like” and then provide you with the tips and tricks to look that way too. They airbrush the women to the extent that they look like paper dolls, make you feel terrible for not looking (impossibly) flawless like the women in the pictures, and then try to sell products, beauty routines, and workouts that will fix your flaws. Sometimes, these magazines and the “beauty” products advertised in them even invent new ways to make you hate your body! For instance, you know that area of skin that connects your arms to your body? Yeah, you’re armpit? Well everyone from Vera Wang to Dove Deodorant want you to know that it’s ugly, but cheer up because now there’s surgery and special products to make it look “pretty.” See: Obsessing About The New “It” Body Part Is The Pits and Finally, A Cure For Your “Ugly Underarms”

A few years back, Jezebel posted an image revealing the extensive airbrushing that Redbook performed on Faith Hill for the cover of their magazine. They shaved about 10 pounds off of her, made her arm look freakishly long and skinny, edited out her “back fat,” and apparently removed the hunch in her back. I understand removing a blemish or shadow here and there, but what is the point of photoshopping to this extent? Are these simply cases of scissor happy photo editors, or do these magazines actually want to promote an image of beauty that the average woman could never achieve?

Airbrushing in magazines is no secret, and an article from 2008 highlights the rampant use of airbrushing in women’s magazines. But in 2011 women and young girls are still being bombarded with computer-manipulated images that make us feel awful when we compare our bodies to the bodies in magazines.

You’ve been duped: Britney Spears allowed this unretouched photo to be released to show how much airbrushing actually occurs:



Also, check out The Five Great Lies of Women’s Magazines to find out how mainstream women’s magazines have basically brainwashed women into obsessing over celebrity beauty and unattainable perfection.

But magazines aren’t the only medium making women feel that our bodies are inadequate. Equally disturbing is the availability of skin lightening creams (commonly sold in predominately black neighborhoods), the new trend of labiaplasty (NSFW, but a seriously eye-opening video), and products to  lighten your labia and nipples (NSFW). Seriously? WTF. Aging men with erectile dysfunction are still marketed in Viagra commercials as sexy and distinguished, but older women are being told that no one will want to have sex with them unless their lady parts look like those of a 20 year old (white) girl? What is society’s obsession with telling women how gross our bodies are? Even worse, some of these products are advertised as being created by women, which I guess is supposed to make it ok.

Images of impossible perfection are being marketed to girls at a young age through toys and dolls like Mattel’s Barbie. A few years ago, student Galia Slayen created a life size Barbie for her school’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week to show the absurdness of the doll’s proportions. Also check out the history of The Body Shop’s Ruby, the “anti-Barbie.”

No wonder the plastic surgery industry is so successful and girls/women have such terrible body image problems. Before we only had to be concerned about eating disorders (which are still devastatingly common), but now we are being told that our boobs, butt, thighs, vagina, stomach, face, back, armpits, elbows, nose, and neck are all hideous too! I consider the things mentioned in this post to all be part of the larger war on women. They help society to constantly degrade female sexuality and diversity in body parts and serve (often in a subliminal manner) to undermine women and reduce their worth to their appearances.

P.S. Sorry for all the Jezebel links. They’re just awesome and provide some great commentary on women’s issues. So I guess I’m not sorry!

*It’s not to say that these magazines don’t sometimes have good editorials and a hard working staff, because they do. I’m just pointing out the large role these magazines play in promoting unobtainable bodies.

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