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Barbie Doll Phenomenon

by Tatiana von Tauber

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the land of the fake and blonde. Though my years living in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area naturally included diversity of culture, food, people and philosophies, one thing was guaranteed: where there was beach there was skin and where there was skin there were Barbie wannabes.

Having grown up around diversity the “class” of Barbie doll girls didn’t faze me much. It was simply a part of the usual scenery and while a boob or two were occasionally so large I had to stop and stare, I’d normally go about my business barely noticing the bleach blond, top heavy, over-tanned dolls that strutted in their mini skirts or sold hot dogs in bikinis by the side of the road. (Because of rubber necking which created accidents, string bikini girls selling hot dogs on the side of the road were banned in Ft. Lauderdale).

I don’t particularly demean Barbie wannabes as every woman has the right to express herself as she deems fit. However, the more I try to prepare my own daughters for success and the more I learn about sexuality, feminism and life in general the more I feel like a large group of women simply lost one of the main factors of feminism’s journey towards women’s freedom and that’s self-respect in the area of sexuality and their bodies.

The Barbie phenomenon has crossed over from plastic on the shelves to plastic within the body by young women who haven’t even had enough time to appreciate the body they were born with. (I’m not talking about the flat chested girl who really has confidence issues. I refer to the girl who wears a 36B bra and ups her cup size into double letters.) Nor have they even gotten to understand sexuality, erotic relationships or love in themselves. Such understandings take time to discover but now, the Barbie phenomenon reaches them before they have a chance to understand why it actually hurts them.

I’m not judging the boob job or the porn look but there’s a clear line between the boob job for a better look which adds a personal level of confidence and the one which screams “fuck me”. While I’ll be the first to attest that an occasional fuck once in a while can be a good thing, the Barbie boob look advertises it as the standard even if the girl is looking for love (in most cases she is) and in such, attracts exactly the kind of man that give all men a bad name. Therefore, it’s an endless cycle of “good vs. evil”, supply and demand.

The biggest problem I see is that many women – particularly the younger generation – are confused between what sexy is as presented by mainstream and raunch culture and what sexy can be when done right. “Right” is subjective but in the case of sexual respect vs. disrespect I think it’s pretty clear. There will always be the need and desire for a Barbie porn look but its mainstream popularity is unsettling. While I support sexual and feminist freedom, it’s enough simply wearing a skirt, heels and a V-neck shirt as this automatically creates the open door for flirtation or a glance by men – especially if confidence sits beneath the clothes and guaranteed if the woman wears a smile on her face. Some men like the “fuck me” girls. Others don’t. Both groups of women get to flirt, have sex and be “admired” by the guy but one of them is guaranteed to almost always get fucked.

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