Monday, July 10, 2006

Barbie and "Feminism"

Okay, here is the other thing-I think women of my age (30s) were taught, through cultural osmosis, a brand of 1970s feminism that makes us feel like traitors to our sex if we like to clean, cook, take care of children or do anything that was labeled (again in the '70s) as demeaning domestic work. The denotation of feminism is/was "the full social, political and economic equality of men and women." Supposedly that one would have have the knowledge and the resources to make informed choices/decisions about life--corporate banker or stay-at-home mom, to have children or not to have children, to wear short skirts or a veil that covers my face. The connotation has become that women should make choices that make them more like men--anything else is weak and "not equal enough."

Barbie was born in the 1950s. World War II was over and ingeniousness and gumption of women in war times (Rosie the Riveter) combined with the domestic know-how that welcomed the troops home and allowed the baby-boom to happen, was lauded as the reason "we won the war!" Due much to her birthdate Barbie became affilliated with the roles women held in the 1950s. Feminism said women should have choices. Betty Freidan wrote about the malaise of constrictive gender roles. Opportunities opened up for women and Barbie got stuck in a stereotyped time warp that meant that any child of a baby boomer (me and my peers) was persuaded to believe that Barbie stood for Women Without Choices. Never mind that Barbie has had every job imaginable from astronaut, to zookeeper, to President to--most controversially--mother (complete with a belly that opened to birth the baby--we won't get into Barbie and vaginal birth just now).

Now Barbie, with her fashionable accessories and merchandising empire, is seen as "evil" by mothers who were supposed to be the daughters that were taught that women should be able to to choose! How ironic!

An industrialized country without national healthcare--that is evil.
A corporate environment wherein a CEO makes 170 times that of an entry level employee--that is evil.
A set of laws that discrimate against the working poor--that is evil.

An 11 1/2 inch plastic doll? Come on!

More to come on this subject for sure!

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