Barbie is not just a doll. She’s an icon in society.
A group of people called the Barbie Liberation Organization
(or the BLO) sabotaged hundreds of Barbie dolls a few years
ago. Apparently they channeled ten thousand dollars to a
group of people to buy hundreds of talking Barbie dolls and
GI Joe dolls, switch their voice boxes, and return them to
the shelves of toy stores. So we get Barbies who talk about
blowing the enemies’ guts out and GI Joes who want to go
shopping. Imagine the disdain the children will feel when
they realize that the toys they just bought are cross
BLO’s reason for doing such a thing? They think it’s
disgusting how Barbie dolls reinforce sexist stereotypes in
It was bad enough that Barbie has an anorexic figure and a
face painted with eye shadow and sparkly lipstick. But when
they heard Barbie talking about how she wants to go buy
more clothes because she can never have enough, they tore
their hair out.
The message that the BLO is trying to convey is a good one.
The Barbie doll appears to be this cheerleader-bimbo with
blonde hair who loves to go shopping and look pretty. When
you give young girls this toy to play with, an ideology of
the perfect woman gets into their head. Perfect women love
shopping and looking pretty. Perhaps, perfect women have
blonde hair as well? The question that nobody has really
thought about is what will happen to the young girls who
play with this perfect toy?
Barbie’s impact on society is underestimated. Most people
tend to not even give a second thought about her. Barbie is
dismissed by the majority as such: she is only a doll.
But she is not just a doll. With her blonde hair, blue
eyes, perfect (anorexic?) figure, and eternally made-up
face, she is more of an icon in society than a doll.
Barbie could have contributed to the fact that blondes are
stereotyped as bimbos. With phrases such as “Math is hard”
or “Will I ever have enough clothes?”, talking Barbies come
across as girls who don’t know anything except to go
shopping and dress themselves up for dates. The notion that
blonde people are dumb has been born. Surely every one of
us has heard at least ten blond jokes in our entire life.
The saying that “blondes get all the fun” could have also
been derived from these Barbie dolls. Barbie, after all, is
blonde and has a lot of fun cruising in her pink car with
her pink sun glasses and pink dress. She also gets all the
attention from men such as Ken and his brother Kevin. A
magazine did an experiment recently to see if blondes do
get all the fun. They got a brunette, made her wear a
blonde wig and asked her to walk around town as a blonde.
With the blond wig on, the girl got more attention from
guys compared to when she was a brunette.
A group called Aqua even created a song for Barbie
called “Barbie Girl”. The song starts with Ken managing to
get Barbie to join him for a ride. The song goes on with
Barbie inviting the listener to touch her hair and undress
her anywhere. Then she declares that she’s a blond bimbo
girl in a fantasy world where life in plastic is fantastic.
Ken sings his part by calling Barbie his “doll” and asking
her to kiss him here, touch him there, “hanky panky”. This
song reached the top in music charts everywhere. Young
girls and even mothers sing this song because of the tune,
and because Barbie is a very well known icon in our society.
Some girls actually go to the extreme as to model
themselves after Barbie. Pamela Anderson is one example.
Pam, as she is so fondly called, is one person who is an
exact copy of the doll. She is blond, curvy, and – as most
people view her – stupid.
But it doesn’t end there. More real-life Barbie dolls are
popping out of nowhere. Britney Spears, for example, is
another Barbie. Proudly showing off her figure and her
hair, wearing a whole range of skimpy clothes and singing
songs with titles such as “Oops I did it again”, she is
another replica of your typical blonde stereotype.
Yet girls do aspire to become like Britney…or perhaps
Barbie. Come to think of it, Britney and Barbie sound a bit
similar. Is it just me or is this more than just a
Young girls model themselves after Britney so much that a
new stereotype came about. This is the “midriff
stereotype”. The idea here is that the young girls’ bodies
are their most powerful weapons and should flaunt their
sexuality. These girls think that they must always look
good for people. Britney always looks good. So does Barbie.
As a result, we get prematurely sexual girls who dress to
kill but are, in most ways, still very naïve.
Barbie may be all happy in her fantastic plastic world. But
the parents of the young girls who follow after her foot
steps are most certainly not.