Barbie: Feminism's Best Friend or Worst Enemy

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Barbie: Feminism's Best Friend or Worst Enemy

Ask any five year old American girl who Barbie is and she will most likely run into her bedroom and grab Barbie off the shelf. She will frill up her mini skirt and try to make her walk in her tiny plastic heels. Excitedly, she will hold her up for you to admire.

A tiny miniature woman will stand in front of you, only about six inches tall. Her long blonde hair accents her sparkling blue eyes and huge white smile. Her long plastic legs bend only slightly and her pointy breasts perk out of her hot pink tank top. She doesn’t look like anything a five year old would play with, but Barbie is obviously her favorite. How does a five year old relate to Barbie? She isn’t comforting to cuddle with, you can’t change her diapers and put her to sleep in her crib. Barbie is an indendent woman, standing tall over baby dolls and stuffed animals and other juevinile toys young girls display in their bedrooms.

The majority of toys that little girls played with a hundred years ago were toys that dealt with the home. Miniature tea sets and rag dolls protrayed a girl’s future life and mimicked her mother’s behavior. Barbie was not created quite yet, the sexy image and revealing clothing would be offensive, even immoral, when girls were supposed to stay home and take care of the children.

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that Barbie was first introduced. She shined brightly from her pink cardboard package next to the dozens of baby dolls surrounding her. Barbie was stunningly different. She was a woman, not a baby doll, she had no spouse, she had no children, she drove a sports car, and she was sexy.

As Barbie became a household word, the mindset of mothers in America was changing also. Women were getting an education, getting jobs, and testing their limits by having a life outside the home. Then there was Barbie; the bold doll who stood alone. She was successful, rich, mega-famous, and single. She was teaching America’s female youth that this too is what to expect out of life.

Did Barbie have anything to do with shaping feminism today? Many may argue, yes, that Barbie was the one doll that broke the limits, gave girls a hope for independence and success. Barbie never did housework, she never had any children, and she was never married. It was a new American dream to females, and Barbie was the newest idol.

Barbie today is close to fifty years old, but she doesn’t look a day over seventeen. Not only does her image take up entire ailses in toy stores, but she also has a boyfriend, cousins, sisters, and even a...

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