Put Your Barbie Glasses On by Quinn W Karpiak

Let’s put our Barbie glasses on; let’s see the world through Barbie. First of all, take in your surroundings. Are you in a bedroom? Now it’s the Barbie Fantasy Bedroom. Are you watching TV? Well, now you’re watching a Barbie commercial on a pink, plastic couch. Cooking? Your timer has a cute little voice tell you when the food’s done in the oven, and your Barbie apron keeps you looking fashionable as you put the meal on the table for your hunky significant other. You can Barbiefy any activity, and it’s actually fun to think of all the ridiculous ways you can do so.

However, a trend is realized in everything being turned Barbie, a trend which hints to itself in familiarity… Anything worth reimagining, Barbie has done it in the form of children’s toys. Barbie is its own universe. There are no wars, no famine, no poverty, oppression, or disease. There are soldier Barbies without a battle to fight; homemaker Barbies feeding their families or friends; politician Barbies with no social issues at hand; doctor Barbies with plenty of cures but no ailments. The Barbie Universe is perfect, glamorous, and ideal. And you can accept it as ideal and leave your Barbie glasses on forever. Or, you can wonder whose ideal it really is.

The star of the Barbie Universe is the Caucasian, blonde haired, blue eyed, buxom girl known as Barbie. She’s fashionable, and has plenty of outfits to play the part. But is Barbie too fashionable? She can hold any occupation, complete any task, accomplish anything her heart desires. Yet, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that Barbie was fashionable. Why be a firefighter if you’ll look tacky? Why be a college professor unless your hair is perfect? Why do anything without being the eternal vigil for fashion? Barbie presents us with the ideal of looking good, first, and then worrying about whatever task is at hand. Athena Barbie is fashionable, despite all that killing and trickery and surviving being the victim of attempted murder.

So Barbie stands for fashion, but who is Barbie? Is she solely represented by the picture of a buxom white woman, or do the alternative images of Barbie also cover who she is. I believe in the very wording of that question is its answer. The blonde Barbie, with unrealistic proportions, is the main representation, and anything else is an alternative representation. These alternative representations deviate from the Barbie ideal. Yes, they’re all the races and ethnicities that ideal Barbie is not, but they are just editions, or phases, and not the ideal. But maybe when you put your Barbie glasses on you see yourself as Cleopatra, or an Native American Princess, and your vision isn’t restricted to the same ideal as others’. Regardless of who Barbie is to the public, she may be someone completely unique in the private, which is a perception based on more than just which Barbies a child owns, but is founded on the lessons that child is taught in consideration of the Barbies.

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