Oct 15 2014

Purchasing Power

Published by at 7:11 am under Reflection Blog

When I began reading “Purchasing Power,” I was immediately struck by the discussion of Barbie dolls on the first page. As a child, I was fanatical about Barbie. She represented being a grown-up, or at least what I thought it meant to be a grown-up. She had her own house, she had a boyfriend, she had any job you could possibly imagine, and most importantly, she was allowed to wear high heels. I remember reading about a “Barbie boycott” a few years ago, organized by mothers who thought Barbie sent a negative message. At the time I found myself wondering how anyone could see Barbie as anything but positive. It wasn’t until I read Natalia and Asia’s observations about Barbie that I realized something I had been overlooking: I never had a problem relating to Barbie. I had straight blond hair and blue eyes. As Asia said, “They make Barbie a stereotype,” and it was one that I fit (Chin 1). I can see how a little girl who doesn’t relate to Barbie so easily might have a hard time applying any sort of positive message to her own life and instead feel bad for not meeting a certain standard of beauty. In hindsight, Barbie didn’t really teach me anything important (if anything the wildly unrealistic expectations about adulthood she gave me were second only to ones I got from reruns of “Sex and the City” as a teenager) but she did make me believe that I could be anything and have anything I wanted. Every child should have the opportunity to think that way, regardless of whether or not she looks like a plastic toy.


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