By Ayomide Aruwajoye.
All through the semester, I kept looking at these two Barbie dolls that sat on the shelf in the Women’s Center. I always wondered what they were there for and what they symbolize. Both of the dolls were dressed like the “typical Barbie doll standards”: short dress, long hair, tall heels, small waist and big boobs! After a couple of weeks I forgot all about the Barbie dolls until I saw a picture of an innocent little girl playing with dolls and right next to her was an anorexic woman, who looked sick with lots of makeup on and little to no clothes on. The picture’s caption said, “Girls spend 10 years playing with Barbie dolls and the next 20 trying to become one!” After I saw that picture, I remembered the two Barbie dolls at the Women’s Center and decided that the Barbie dolls at the Women’s Center would have a different symbolic meaning than the “bad rep” that they carry.
I have always heard about people not wanting their kids to play with Barbie dolls because of the message they send to kids. I’m guessing that message has to do with body image and intelligence since Barbie dolls are known for their super skinny beautiful bodies and ditsy dumbness. I played with dolls when I was little, but I guess as I got older I just didn’t care for them as much. This was not the case when it came to my cousin and many other girls. She loved her Barbie dolls, and as soon as she got too old to play with them, she started dressing like a Barbie and looking too old for her age. So then I started wondering why a kid’s toy would encourage you to grow up so fast. That’s the only explanation I could come up with, because why couldn’t Barbie be a young girl on her way to school or the park. Instead the Barbies that are placed in front of us on television are the ones with the short skirt, long hair and the boyfriend named Ken. Barbie is a bad role model.
So I started wondering if the Barbie dolls at the Women’s Center were also bad role models. So I decided I was going to give our Barbie dolls a new meaning. These dolls were not going to be the dolls that made girls, and even grown women, hate their bodies, or made females think they have to dumb themselves down for a man to like them. These Barbie dolls were going to actually be the opposite of that. The Barbie dolls at the Women’s Center should be an example of what it means to love yourself in spite of the flaws you might have, and being true to yourself, not acting dumber to attract someone. The Barbie dolls at the Women’s Center now represent women who are confident and respect themselves while demanding respect from others too. When you come into the Women’s Center, look at the dolls and realize you’re a Barbie, too – as you define “Barbie” for yourself.
Read past Barbie entries from Women’s Center bloggers: