Monday, March 28, 2011

Barbie... really?

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be writing such a post about something that, in my point of view, does not really represent the average woman... but I was watching Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus and thought that it actually had, other than the beautiful classical music in the background, certain honorable values that one would like their children to learn. If kids watched this they could learn about the love of siblings and family, courage, bravery, forgiveness, helpfulness, honesty and free choice… even though it was a bit corny at times.

I always believed that Barbie gave an unrealistic view of what bodies look like in real life and would probably have children emulate her and become either anorexic or bulimic to match her specifications. She might be a man's dream really, with big breasts, hips and small feet but according to research done in Finland; she would lack the essential body fats that would bring on menstruation.  I always thought that if her measurements were of a real woman, she would probably fall flat on her face. But to be fair, in the last 12 years, Mattel Company, which made the doll in 1959, has widened Barbie’s hips a little. Way to go Mattel! (Sarcasm!)

I have to confess that I had a Barbie doll when I was 8 years old and it was a gift from a healthy looking female relative of mine with her clothes, shoes and Ken, her partner. They both did not have any recognizable lower body parts and so you might think they were both in the middle of a sex change operation. My first ever doll was actually Cindy, which my mother bought and which had a more realistic shape to her... my mother was not really a fan of all this but she could not stop the nagging. I have to be honest and mention that it did spark up my imagination in making up stories or scenarios and also improved my Arabic language since all my conversations between my friends and I were done in classical Arabic; which is more difficult to converse in than the day to day dialect.

Even though I mentioned in the first paragraph that I was actually surprised to find some qualities to the movie, I still believe that it might be perpetuating a negative image of females and stereotyping them. There are so many blockbuster movies out there that show a lopsided view of life and since children are affected by what they watch, I think that we should always be aware of this. We should be responsible and intervene when it is necessary so that our children do not take what they see on television as the truth and the reality of things. We do not wish to have our children's attitudes towards the genders affected in such a way that they would have an unbalanced view of the roles men and women have in the society nowadays. So let us be extra observant the next time our children watch television or a movie and be proactive parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, baby sitters and friends.

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