Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Barbie is "On the Job" shaping girls' futures...whether we want her to or not.

This is a repost, originally written March 14, 2012 on BioGeoNerd.blogspot.com.  Decided to crop it down and put it here, as it's very appropriate to this blog.

Barbie "I Can Be..."
Can I just comment on what I happened to see on the girls' toy aisle the other day (I was going down every aisle looking for a stuffed animal moose for a friend).  I stopped when I saw a couple of Barbies saying, "I can be....[insert career here]"  Okay so now Mattel is going to tell all the girls in the world what jobs they can do?  That's my first problem with this - what if something they're interested in isn't on the list and therefore isn't cool or beautiful like Barbie is?  Will they abandon it and go for one that IS on the list?
My second problem was the options there at the toy store - Pet Vet, Teacher, Art Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Ballet Dancer, and "Kid Doctor".  Okay at least they had a doctor, but why can't you actually call her a Pediatrician?  Teach the girls some vocabulary for heaven's sake!  They've probably all been to a Pediatrician, it's not that far-fetched that they know what they're called.  Must we continue dumbing everything down?  And does Barbie HAVE to be wearing high heals and a dress only slightly longer than the lab coat (mid thigh)?  Seriously, what doctor do you know that would dress like that?

The Barbie website has some information on each of the professions complete with a couple of videos and games.  I cannot believe this game I just played for the "Babysitter" job.  You have to guide the little kid around the house and move toys out of her way so that she doesn't have an accident on the way to the potty.  When she makes it there you see her sitting on the potty, hear a distinct plop and the girl grins, and they show the toilet flushing with yellow and yes a little brown circle in there swirling around.  Holy heck!  Are you serious?

They do have more professions that just weren't on the shelves where I went, but they still have a pretty limited scope: lifeguard, snowboarder, baby doctor, zoo doctor, rock star, cooking teacher, fashion designer, track champion, tennis champion, gymnastics champion, chef, movie star, and my favorite - bride.

Girls aspire to be "brides".  But are they ready for the title that comes next - "wife"?  Or did they spend all their time planning for the wedding instead of the marriage?
The only non-traditional things are race car driver and architect.  The website showed a software engineer, but I haven't seen the actual toy of that anywhere. 
Anyone notice the trend?  Girly stuff involves either: being famous and adored by all (rock star, sports champions, movie star), cooking, or liking "cute" stuff like kitties and babies.  Don't get me wrong, I love cooking, animals and babies.  But I also love seeing cells in various stages of mitosis under a microscope, collecting Brine Shrimp eggs, taking way too many pictures of rocks, and cutting things open to see what's inside.

So, Barbie's at it again...  shaping our society.  Thanks, but no thanks, Barbie.

A Different Kind of Barbie
Speaking of Barbie, I went to this way cool seminar at the beginning of the semester by this awesome lady scientist who does a lot of work in the rainforest, and she has many non-profit projects she does to educate people about the rainforest.  She uses rock climbing techniques to study the canopy of the rainforest.  They actually created a "Tree Top Barbie" with her all decked out in her gear to climb to the top of the canopy, and she kind of joked that she was surprised that Mattell was not interested in it.  I think it's sad though, it's cool stuff like that they should promote in addition to Ballerina, Art Teacher, and Babysitter. Broaden the horizons of girls.

The battle field is probably a lot younger than we think.  Girls in Elementary school have already been brainwashed that they need to be pretty to be worth anything, they can't "get" math and science, and they're only supposed to like things that are small, fuzzy, and/or pink.

Well, I've got one for you, girls.  A curious symbiotic relationship between an animal and algae - hungry corral polyps grasping for dinner.  This is the basis of an entire ecosystem in the tropical oceans- the corral reef.  More importantly: AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL -  just like you.


Thanks for reading, please spread the love (there are Facebook and other links, right down there).

Be curious, be strong, be kind, and above all: be yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment