Once every two years or so, roughly as often as we are shaken by the presence of near-earth asteroids or by the release of a new “The Fast and the Furious” sequel, we are forced to revisit the equally crucial debate as to how damaged our girl-children are by the unrealistic physique of the Barbie Doll. Unless you have been living under a fallen asteroid or a fallen Vin Diesel, you have at least once in your life – likely several times if you are a lady – clicked on a link entitled, “If Barbie were real” or some such analog. We collectively gasp in horror, pry our fists from our desk breakfast of an iced mocha and cinnamon scone, and shake them at the monitor–demanding justice for the female youth of America. How can our young girls survive this assault on their self-esteem? How will they ever understand that not all shoes are high heels and not all houses and cars are dreams? We must uncover the truth that Barbie’s proportions would result in her buckling at her 18-inch waist, toppling over her four-foot legs and cracking open her perfectly coifed Roswellian head.
Oh! But I had Barbie dolls as a child! And I was a girl! What shattered shell of a woman has Mattel wrought? If I am outraged now, I must be suppressing some long-buried body shame due to the unattainable beauty of my “innocent” toy. Let’s be honest. I was a fat child. It is now clear to me that this had nothing to do with associating love with the ice cream offered by my doting grandparents. And I am sure that those whole boxes of mac n cheese I downed in the privacy of my latch-key-kidness did not contribute. No, it had to have been the hours I spent dressing up my Work-Out Barbie in her impossibly small unitard rather than bothering to exercise myself. Maybe it was the Hollywood Hair Barbie who poured salt from an inch-tall shaker into my wounded eight-year-old soul when someone took one look at my pixie haircut and assumed I was a boy. Or perhaps the dime-sized plastic diamond impaling my Dream Wedding Barbie’s plastic hand was a cold reminder of how Ryan Parker[ref]Name not changed, just not accurately recalled.[/ref] called me “gross” in the fifth grade, convincing me I would never find love.
With a bevy of Bad Influence Barbies at work on my budding psyche, it is amazing I made it out of childhood alive, well, and not diabetic. But it leaves me wondering, what other toys should I resent? What else robbed me of my self-worth while I was too busy watching “Double Dare” to notice?
- Cabbage Patch Kids. I did not appreciate it at the time, but upon reflection, eagerly anticipating the day the first strand of yarn would sprout from my bathing suit area was a truly special time in my life. And was I really the only child without a green signature on my butt? Maybe it was only for the adopted kids.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was wrong to feel attracted to a turtle. Especially when I had an actual pet turtle. Not like Michelangelo was looking my way with that bitch April O’Neill around.
- Legos. Some pieces just didn’t fit, no matter how hard you tried to jam them in. I hear you, little one-knobbed guy. I hear you.
“The Lion King” really nailed it, it truly is a circle of life; I now have a daughter. She will probably have a Barbie, and one day she will learn that Barbie’s body isn’t real. Right around the time she learns that knees don’t bend in a jerky, clicky motion when you push on them, and that butts have holes, not just faint indentations. Oh and one other thing she might notice: IT’S A FUCKING DOLL. So let’s drop the debate and save room on the Internet for celebrities. Safe, attainable, average-looking celebrities.