I grew up as a tomboy as a kid, so I was never a huge fan of Barbie dolls. Though I’ve had my own insecurities on my appearance, I’m thankful that I don’t let that sort of thing take over my life, and I can honestly say I’m comfortable with my body the way it is. I find that Barbie is apart of the pressure on women to look a certain way, and it never once crossed my mind to ever strive for Barbie’s plastic, unrealistic curves. But after reading about how Barbie made an appearance on the front cover of Sport’s Illustrated, I’ve realized just how influential Barbie will be on women’s image.
From what I read in the article, Barbie’s sales have dropped in the last year or so. In a desperate marketing attempt, Matel paid Sports Illustrated to put Barbie on their front cover. My take on it was that they were trying to empower Barbie and empower women’s image all at once. Barbie’s main slogan is “Be who you wanna be”, and I think they were trying to show that despite the critiques on Barbie’s unrealistic proportions, she is owning who she is she is not sorry for it. However, I think that using a girl’s toy in a magazine where men ogle at women is very hypocritical, and warps Barbie into more then just a toy. I think that this makes Barbie a sex symbol in the eyes of the public, and further puts the pressure on women to not “be who they wanna be” but to be who society thinks they should be.
So although I agree that women should own who they are and not conform to society, I think that putting Barbie on Sport’s Illustrated does the exact opposite of empowering women. Barbie will be forever viewed differently as more than just a girl’s toy, and I have never thought nor never will think she is a good role model for young girls.
Here’s a link to the article: