I used to love playing with Barbie when I was a little girl. And to be totally honest, I didn’t really care what color she was either. I just loved how fashionable she was and could play for hours. I had the whole Barbie getup from houses, bikes and cars to school classrooms and veterinarian hospitals. Unfortunately, Barbie has been the cause of self-image issues for little girls. Barbie is criticized that her shape is unrealistic and gives little girls a false sense of beauty. Meanwhile, little boys are playing with the Hulk and Heman with super human powers yet they don’t have these same self-esteem issues. Barbie isn’t the problem, little girls false perception of reality is the issue here.
The message is quite clear; women are not taught to deal with reality. From day one women are told they are beautiful princesses who should have their way, that their emotional reactions to unpleasant circumstances are justified, and everyone is supposed to care about their feelings. But as we all know, that’s just not how the real world works. Women need to be taught the same things we teach our men; to be strong, logical and confident. Everything women are taught either overly compliments our physical beauty or sets us up to be great for someone else. Most of us aren’t taught to get a stellar education so we can become CEO’s and presidents, but so we can be a good candidate to a successful man for marriage one day. We aren’t taught to manicure ourselves so we can feel good about our own looks, but so that we can look pretty for everyone else including our future mates. Then we wonder why women don’t have high aspirations to become entrepreneurs, are constantly in abusive relationships, don’t properly negotiate in the job market and depend on men for their wealth and happiness. The answer is simple, the majority of us were not taught anything else.
How can the figure of a Barbie doll make girls become anorexic and have bouts of bulimia, yet boys can play with GI Joe’s with bodies that clearly suggest they are on steroids and not go into a deep depression? Is it because little girls constantly hear they are the prettiest girls in the world and have convulsions when they find out they actually are not? I’m sorry to say this, but not everything or everyone is beautiful. Not every woman is drop dead gorgeous because she possesses a vagina. I really do get annoyed when people pacify women by saying everything is pretty. There is absolutely nothing pretty about my hammer toes and corns. No one can convince me that they are pretty either to make me feel better about my feet. However, I have come to accept them. I give myself a manicure, paint my toenails and keep it moving. I am okay with the fact that I don’t have the prettiest feet, the nicest hands, the curliest hair or the most beautiful features. I am simply okay with myself and it took me way too long to reach that conclusion. Beauty is quite scientific and we tend to be most attracted to symmetrical faces and clearly not all of us are symmetrical super models. However, this does not mean we cannot feel confident in our own levels of beauty. You see, being brainwashed to think your ten year old body should look like Barbie’s is part of the problem. And thinking everything needs to be made in your own image instead of learning the differences is another problem. Our girls need to understand the reality that their bodies have not yet matured like Barbie’s and may not ever look like Barbie’s after it does. They should be taught to appreciate their physical appeal for what it is. They should be taught to be confident in themselves regardless of how small their waists are or how large their boobs are.
I think it’s really sad how much flack we give Barbie and super models for their thin shapes. Some people are just naturally lean and others work extremely hard to maintain their figures. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it! We want to get mad at Victoria’s Secret models for wearing a size two yet fail to recognize the effort put into achieving such a size. Instead, of hating on super models, we should explain to young women what it means to be healthy and how to attain whatever dress size they desire through proper diet and exercise. It’s okay to want to wear a size 0 and it’s okay to want to wear a size 14. The key is moderation and making sure you are happy with yourself and put forth effort to look the way you want. Because trust me, it is much harder to eat a low-fat tuna salad with spinach than a juicy burger with all the fixings.
Boys don’t have these problems because they understand their army dolls are not a realistic representation of what they should look like. In fact, I’m sure they aren’t looking at the dolls physique at all and are more concerned about their roles. They then aspire to become super heroes, firefighters and members of the army. What occupation does Barbie have other than being pretty? Sure, we have Barbie Vet and Doctor setups, but those are secondary careers to her beauty. So just like how Barbie really doesn’t have a job, but to be pretty and chase Ken around, many girls simply aspire to be pretty. I guess we should also blame Barbie for all the female internet sensations who found fame via a pretty face and butt injections. We really need to stop brainwashing women and help them develop their minds just as much as we like to enhance their beauty.
Women have an extremely hard time accepting who they are. If we don’t like our skin, we mask it with heavy makeup which usually makes it worse. If we don’t like our hair, we buy it. If we don’t like our bodies, we get plastic surgery. If we don’t like our skin tone, we bleach it or scorch it. But not once do we stop to think that we do not have to be perfect and never will be. Women are taught to compete against each other instead of competing for success. There will always be someone prettier and more fit. If you like what you see, then you can do it too! Allow women to motivate you instead of being your baseline to be better than them.
Men are some of the most confident creatures and it’s not from their physical appeal, but in their abilities. Men are taught they can conquer anything they put their mind to. They are taught to practice, condition their bodies and fail until they succeed. And when they lose, no one makes them think they are winners, they tell them exactly what they need to improve. Men are taught to compete for power whereas women are taught to compete amongst each other. Men are taught to go to college so they can take care of themselves. Women are taught to go to college because no man wants a dumb wife. Men are not afraid to try anything or take risks because they have confidence in themselves. Women are taught to be safe and stay in their womanly role. Men don’t whine about making their Heman figure come in all shapes, colors and sizes, they appreciate the way Heman was built so they can dominate their friend’s weaker toy.
Instead of focusing on our outer appeal so much, we should be concerned about why there aren’t as many millionaire women as there are men. We need to teach our women to capitalize on their strengths and encourage them to start their own businesses. We should start more sisterly organizations to promote female unity and partnership. It bothers me that we are not as comfortable and confident as most men are. Some women do break these barriers and go on to be the greatest women we know, but not enough of us have made history. It is time to stop coddling our baby girls and train them to be independent, successful women who don’t need a man to take care of them. They should want a man for companionship, but not need him to complete her being. I am all for gender roles and believe in them for balance, but there is nothing wrong with teaching our women to be strong and not cry over spoiled milk. Some of the most successful people on earth know how to channel their emotions by not reacting and showing everyone how they feel. Let’s teach more of our women how to do this instead of how to put makeup on and pop, lock and drop it.