All Hail Madame President Barbie
We know all you nerds were psyched when toy company Mattel announced “computer programmer” came out on top in a contest for Barbie’s next career. But for those of us who don’t know binary code from biceps, there’s another career for Barbie’s ever-changing resume: president.
President Barbie actually appeared back in 2000. However, women’s rights activist Marie Wilson, founder and president of The White House Project, which seeks to put a woman into the White House, will be out on the road promoting Madame President along with Computer Programmer Barbie and the number two winning career, News Anchor Barbie. Of course it’s cool that little girls in this generation will play with a President Barbie and grow up thinking a woman as president is “normal,” just like my generation thought, thanks to Barbie, a woman as a doctor is “normal.” But frankly, what Barbie’s job is isn’t so relevant anymore. It doesn’t really matter if Barbie is a nail technician, or an astronaut, a dog walker, or president. In 2010, a woman can be independent, smart, and financially secure, while holding any of those jobs. (Except, it would seem, president. But I digress … )
Really, the Barbie press release that I’d love to see would be one that says “Barbie Doll Re-Designed To More Closely Resemble Average Women.” It’s bogus that little girls could play with Barbie dolls in 1959 — the first Barbie, according to Wikipedia, worked as a fashion model — and now in 2010, girls play with Barbie dolls who are astronauts and presidents but she still looks the same. Barbie still has big breasts, lithe legs no human could actually walk on, and always, always pink or red lipstick. You can’t deny Barbie dolls don’t send messages to little girls about what’s considered unrealistically beautiful in this country! (Just refer to Annika’s post about a sale on black Barbie dolls, while the Caucasian Barbies were still full price.) And President Barbie — despite wearing a pantsuit à la Hillary Clinton — is still gussied up with makeup and high heels just like every other Barbie doll.
I have three preschool-aged nieces. I know each would shiv me in the stomach if I took away her princess Barbie for even a second. So while, personally, I’m no Barbie fan, I know she’s like crack for little girls and she’s not going to go away. “Electing” her as president is nice, but here’s hoping the next big Barbie announcement will be one about the way she looks. [Boston Globe, Jezebel]