Barbie B.S. and Bossy B.S.Posted: March 11, 2014
Though these two articles aren’t directly related, they share a common theme: “Girl Power”!
First, commenting on the real vs. unreal-proportions Barbie debate, is author Virginia Postrel, in an essay provocatively titled called ‘Average’ Barbie Is Just as Fake’, Postrel begins with reflections drawn from her own childhood experiences with dolls:
“When I was a little girl, my favorite dolls came from Mattel and had wildly inhuman proportions. To me, they were magical and special and didn’t look the least bit strange…”
Then gets into the business with Mattel:
“…As a mass-produced product, a doll represents a single version of female proportions. Taken as a role model, any single standard excludes those with a different build. Celebrating “average” doesn’t solve the problem. Instead of trying to create a plastic role model, it’s both kinder and more honest to treat a doll as an object of escapist fantasy — a plaything.
Barbie’s popularity is waning, a fact Lammily boosters rarely fail to mention. But Mattel is in the business of selling play, not social commentary…”
Like most guys, other than G.I. Joes (and nobody really talked much about the Joe’s body image) I have no experience with dolls (honest!) and defer to thinkers like Postrel for insights. Put those dolls away and read the whole thing.
The second article involves the recent “Ban Bossy” campaign — featuring the comments of a author Jonah Goldberg, who I’m sure would agree is equally knowlegable discussing Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, or Foghorn Leghorn — and who also draws from personal experience.
“…It seems patently untrue that a) Bossiness is the same thing as “leadership,” b) That bossiness is a gender-specific issue for kids, c) That girls are falling behind in leadership nationally or in schools. Some of my views are based on the fact that I am the father of a little girl and some of it is based on informed common sense…”
And questions the premise that girls are disproportionately disadvantaged in the first place:
“In every conceivable way women are doing better and better. Sheryl Sandberg is herself proof of that. No rational or objective person believes that things aren’t getting better for women in the workplace or the executive suite.
The complaint is that things aren’t getting better fast enough. That’s a perfectly fine complaint as far as it goes, but to the extent there is a gender crisis in America it is pretty plainly a crisis about boys and men more than it is about girls and women. Academically girls do better. They’re getting better grades and going to college more. Economically, the recession was also a “mancession,” disproportionately affecting males. The rate of women rising in corporate ranks, again, may not satisfy the activists of 1-percenter feminism, but no one can dispute the trends are all going their way…”
“…Sandberg herself admitted to NPR that she is using studies that are over 20 years old….”
Then, noting that our declining public schools are facing a multitude of serious problems, it’s peculiar to divert our attention to manufactured, unserious ones, asks:
“…does it really make sense to focus on the scourge of false-accusations of “bossiness” in these schools rather than, say, drop-out rates, illiteracy, violence, discipline and — oh, yeah — poor academic performance?”
Read ’em both.
- ‘Average Barbie’ No Better Than Actual Barbie (newser.com)
- The Anti-Barbie (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- The Girl Scouts love Barbie but ban “Bossy” (salon.com)
- Barbie isn’t ‘normal,’ but neither is Lammily, the so-called Normal Barbie (sacbee.com)
- Bossy Girls (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- The realistically-proportioned concept Barbie is now in the works (lostateminor.com)
- Bossy B.S. (nationalreview.com)
- Girls to Get Healthier, More Realistic Lammily Doll (medindia.net)
- Lammily – Fashion Dolls! Average is Beautiful, Embrace the New Revolution of Realistic Dolls! (ctesthetic.com)