The Death of the Barbie Doll ( a Fantasy)

Donald Trump upset the world this week by wondering how someone who looked like Carly Fiorina might run for president. While the exact cause of his concern is in the dark for me, I would imagine that poor Trump was attempting to present poor Fiorina in a deprecating light. Perhaps he was saying that she’s not pretty enough for president. After Obama and Bush America’s used to having a pretty face in charge, right?

This wouldn’t matter if it weren’t that young women all over the world over are starting to value themselves based mostly on their looks. This recent research shows that kids these days think they can become happier and more accepted by adopting materialistic values. That means buying trendy clothes, looking like a fashion model at all times, and fitting in. Like the square peg to the square hole.

The research also showed that adopting these values did not work as the kids wished. In fact, it made the kids feel worse. Boys and girls reacted differently. Depressive symptoms in girls tended to predict “the internalization of appearance concerns.” This is a nice way of saying that the girls started spending increasing amounts of time in front of the telly crying to their popcorn (not actually eating it, of course) since their thigh gap is never going to be a match for Kate’s thigh gap. Tear. Sigh. Holy inner thigh machine.

You know how some women say that they don’t put on make-up/go to the gym/go on a diet to please men? They claim that they do it all for themselves, because they like to look pretty. They wake up 45 minutes earlier than they really need to in order to blow-dry their hair and apply make-up that is designed to look like they don’t wear make-up, they go through excruciatingly painful Brazilian wax treatments, eat sub-standard salmon salads in burger bars and gallop around the park at 9 p.m. with a crazy glint in their eyes. And of course all this is only for themselves. If all men died and went to play X-Box in Beer Heaven, the women would still be doing that. Right? They just really enjoy the look and feel of a shaved armpit.

Well I’m not buying that. If the men died, these women would place themselves in front of a romantic comedy, gorge themselves with cookies and have another glass of wine. They might keep up healthy habits, since they’d probably want to live long, but they’d keep it sensible. Brazilian bikini wax parlors would die a quick, painless (whew!) death. Even competition and judgment from other women would dwindle since there’d be no point in competing. Perhaps women would even start competing in something else, such as achievement, skill, or talent. They’d put on a sensible ponytail and go about their business. Make-up and blow-dryers would be assembled on giant heaps and burned.

Or not. I’m exaggerating, of course. Women don’t love fashion for men. Women do like to please themselves aesthetically through their own appearance. So maybe I’m going too far. Everyone can make themselves into a work of art if they like. I’ve nothing against that. It’s even fun.

My problem is the fact that women aren’t allowed to choose how to look. Everyone is expected to look the same and insanely the role model we go for is Barbie. That is stupid. Most people agree on that and yet we keep upholding that stereotype. I don’t know what Trump’s problem with Carly Fiorina’s look was. For me, she looks like a perfectly normal, even attractive, woman of her age who doesn’t spend hours blow-drying her hair. Which is probably a good thing in a president.

I’m not sure the same thing can be said about Trump, though.

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16 thoughts on “The Death of the Barbie Doll ( a Fantasy)

  1. I agree when you say that women follow a role model that doesn’t allow to be different and/or be themselves. I less agree with “all women would stop shaving their armpits and stuff” because it is also a way to feel good in your skin for some of them, but I do think it would be definitely less a problem to see hairy women.

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    1. You’re right, many women would probably do feel better about themselves for jumping through all the loops. They feel better ’cause they’re doing all the right things and that is what is traditionally expected of women. I guess I wanted to challenge this status quo a bit. After all, women have been shaving their legs etc. for only around 20-30 years or so. I do it too, I’m just saying it doesn’t need to be that way.

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      1. I agree, I agree. It is just a question of personal choices. But as you say, the pressure is so big that most women don’t make the difference between doing it for themselves and doing it because they will be easily accepted by society.

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  2. I am a large woman. I feel the push to become accepted all my life. My mother started me on diets at 12. I am never gonna be a size 10 or even a 16. I just wanted to say thank you for your post.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Lori! Diets since age of 12, God. It is exactly this sort of thing that made me want to write this post. I wish you all the best in the future. You shouldn’t care too much what they say, though I know it’s hard.

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      1. Currently I am working toward getting bariatric surgery, but it is not for looks. I am diabetic mostly because of my genetics and weight. I want to improve my health and to be honest I would like to fit into a size 18, the clothes are less expensive and there is a little of “fitting in”, because I would be in the “normal” woman’s sizes. My goal is too see 80s so I can be snarky. 🙂

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  3. From a male perspective – I see where you are coming from. As a kid, I used to be amazed at the lengths my sister would go to “look attractive”. She would lay out in the sun for that golden tan; try to straighten her hair to remove what I thought were nice curls; plucked her eyebrows; and the list goes on. My first wife would spend a large amount of time doing her makeup before we got to feel the sand beneath our feet at the beach. Me, I just combed my hair, put some sunscreen on, and I was ready. The differences brought on by expectations/pressures of society I guess.

    I acknowledge that women want to look good – but I’ve always desired that they do it primarily for themselves, because beauty to me is not only physical looks. Sure, I like the sight of a woman confident in who she is because of her looks; but I’m more attracted to a woman who also has certain core values – caring, loving, non-judge mental etc.

    Trump is a fool – he’s so shallow as to cast aspersions against an opponent based on looks!?!?!? They looking in the mirror mate – that combover is not working for you. 😂

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  4. For the last 24 years, I have worked as a professor at a women’s college, and I take exception to the narrow stereotype of beauty that so many women allow to be imposed upon them. There are many different ways to be beautiful. The most important are not physical.

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  5. I just had a conversation with a friend of mine about this the other day. She recently graduated from college and is entering The Workforce. When she went to her first interview and noticed she was the only woman there without makeup and she felt really awkward. I’m probably the only woman in our office (of 20) that doesn’t wear makeup EVER. I just don’t see the point in it. My mom and other women I know have told me that I should start wearing makeup because it’s essentially necessary to “Moving Up” in the Corporate World but I say 1) there’s no chance of a promotion at my current job, 2) I can worry about it later, 3) I just don’t want to. But it’s silly that we DO have to worry about these things at most jobs. We are literally forced to conform to make others more comfortable. You can’t really “choose” to participate in your own suppression, you know?

    And, EEEEK I live in the States. I really, really, really wish Trump would disappear. He’s horrible in pretty much every way possible. I was sure when he made that rude comment about POW’s not being “real” heroes he’d piss off the conservatives out here enough to be out of the running but even that didn’t fix the problem. It’s NOT GOOD.

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  6. You’re a strong one to keep fighting back! You’re so right, whether you’ve got make-up on should have no effect on how you’re viewed professionally. I mean, why should it? Here in Finland it’s sometimes hard to understand how people like Trump can get so many voters. We’ve got some weird politicians too, but if they’d run for president, hardly anyone would vote for them.

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