Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Omnipresence of Barbie

Here is an ad that showed up on amazon.com after I placed an order.


It took every member of the family putting our collective heads together to determine that, in fact, this is not a shot of a Barbie doll submerged in water.

So apparently this is supposed to be a woman.  A living woman.  Although, judging by the look on her face and the fact that she is not actually holding her breath, it seems as though she is not a very happy woman.

And this is meant to motivate us to buy swimwear.  So that we too might look plastic and depressed. 

I completely understand why several of my friends, incredible, wonderful, strong, feminist women, are worried about their young daughters who, at ages 5 to 7, are already concerned about their weight.  No, indeed, they are not hearing damaging messages regarding their appearance at home, nor are their wise mothers berating themselves in front of the daughters.  They are innocently looking over a parent's shoulder while they shop online -- or walking through the grocery store and spying magazine covers -- or sitting on a bench with an ad.  

No matter how hard we try to shield our daughters from these images that assume women are floating, lifeless cavities, void of emotion or thought, we simply cannot.  Therefore, we have to talk - a lot.  A lot.

Our conversation regarding this ad started like this, "What do you see when you look at this picture?  How does it strike you now that we realize the picture is of a real person and not a doll?"

How do your conversations begin?

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