Weai??i??ve all seen them- those wonderful little memes that sum us women up by our shape, whether itai??i??s a message of affirmation, or a message of shame. Some are fat shaming, some are thin shaming, some are simply reaffirming that we come in all shapes and we all have the capacity to be beautiful regardless of what the size tag on our trousers says.
These memes and messages can be fantastic or harmful for our self esteem, but as they float around in the trenches of the internet, we can forget that they are tangible reminders in our day to day lives. We may see them and feel a moment of affirmation, but that moment disappears with the click of the mouse on that little red X, essentially deleting the message from our reality. If one is too young to use the internet in an unrestricted way, which is an increasingly lowered average age now-a-days, these messages may never reach us when itai??i??s actually quite crucial to hear them. We need representation of ourselves from a young age so that we can grow up feeling accepted and valid. So, so many of us lacked that representation during childhood. Especially women. Especially women who were not naturally thin, not naturally blonde, not white.
Enter Mattel. The toy company has come out with a new line of the doll everyone loves to comment on, collect, and often criticize: Barbie. Gone are the days where Barbie was a six foot tall super model with Dolly Partonai??i??s breasts and Dakota Fanningai??i??s hips, with Misty Copelandai??i??s extended pointe, all nicely wrapped up with a pair of killer stilettos as the bow on the package.
Barbie, if I may say, looksai??i?? human. Now available in Tall, Petite, and Curvy models, our favorite blonde-doctor-lawyer-housewife-veterinarian-chef has a ton of new friends! The company has also expanded the availability of nationalities and skin tones. This is important. Mattel is an institution; a huge mogul in the toy industry that speaks as a standard. They dominate the way dolls look for the most part. This means there is now a mainstream, institutional voice reaffirming that so many body types are beautiful, worthy of desire, worthy of representation. You donai??i??t in fact have to be a size two in order to be a doctor-lawyer-housewife-veterinarian-chef. But you can be, if thatai??i??s what comes naturally to you.
While the struggle for representation is not over (by any means, in any industry. To say itai??i??s not over for our youngsters in the toy industry is, well, a gross understatement-but thatai??i??s another article for another day), Mattel has taken a huge step in the right direction for making sure children see themselves represented in the objects that make up their world. One huge, important, wonderful step. Good job, Mattel. Welcome, Barbie and friends.
Archived Ai??The Laughing Lesbian 2017