Reach for the Ceiling, then Break It
Jan. 1 usually marks the beginning of a new year, new you. After all, you probably spent the past two months gorging on holiday deliciousness and hating yourself for taking just one more bite, just one more taste of that creamy Oreo mousse pie. Not gonna lie- we have.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise that people are making fitness a priority around this time. 44% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Being a better person and losing weight happen to rank among the top resolutions. It is important to keep your feelings in mind when getting in shape. You are losing those holiday trimmings for yourself, and no one else.
Especially not because of this chick.
Barbara “Barbie” Millicent Roberts has set the bar high as a pop culture icon. She is 57 years young and still working it. You think figuring out how to master one career is hard? Try 150. From doctor to rock star to engineer to Marine Corps Sergeant, Barbie is building up her resume and attempting to take on diverse, culturally relevant roles.
Hello, Miss CEO.
She is that friend you admire (and partly are jealous of) because she is willing to put herself out there and take risks.
For example, venturing into space during the 1960s was a huge deal due to the space race. President John F. Kennedy boldly proclaimed for the U.S. to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade. What was Barbie’s reaction to this dramatic goal? Probably some ‘60s variation of “challenge accepted.” She was the first to break the “plastic ceiling” when she traveled to the moon in 1965, four years before Neil Armstrong.
She is even willing to enter the often times ridiculous political arena. Barbie has run for president seven times so far and shows no signs of stopping.
When it comes to fashion and beauty, she is also a risk-taker. Barbie’s stylish appearance exudes her daring personality. Her closet is filled to the brim with glamorous designer garb. Some would even say borderline chic and risqué.
Remember when Barbie aspired to be a rapper?
How about her mushroom cap hairstyle?
(Tbh, dabbling in how you look, especially with clothing and hairstyle trends, is actually all of us.)
Despite her seemingly collected appearance, by no means is Barbie perfect.
In hopes of introducing to the current generation a passion for travel and intercultural understanding, Barbie’s Dolls of the World collection relaunched in 2012. Instead, the collection incited the ire of cultural groups the dolls were supposed to represent. Mexican Barbie was heavily criticized for her semi-traditional attire as well as the Chihuahua companion and passport in her possession.
Although if you take a look at the line of cultural dolls, there are definitely improvements with each passing year. Of course, these dolls are not perfect representations. Then again, how can they be? For one thing, cultural elements, such as customs, dress and language, vary across ethnic groups and regions. Also, the native costume and fashion of a country serve as points of inspiration for the dolls’ ensembles and special companions.
In 2010, Barbie struggled to find her place among game developers and designers in a book titled Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer. She infected two computers with a virus and mistakenly took credit for her team members’ work. On top of that, she unknowingly insulted female and male roles in the STEM industry. Quite the discourage adventure. Damn, Barbie. (sigh) We know.
Fortunately, Mattel discontinued the book and female computer scientist and writer Casey Fiesler developed a fan remix version. Its major backlash helped send a message to Barbie’s people. The company issued a statement on Facebook saying Barbie books have since been reworked and they are striving to paint Barbie in a more empowering light.
Barbie (and you for that matter) can’t keep 100% of people happy 100% of the time. It’s impossible. However, at least Barbie still tries. Like the do-gooder she is, she regroups, tries to better herself and learn from her mistakes.
It’s okay that she isn’t perfect though. You know why? Because Barbie is a toy- a source of inspiration. Like G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Little People, Troll dolls, Lalaloopsy and so on.
Nevertheless, people are still giving her flack.
Her body proportions are deemed “unrealistic.” Rehabs.com, a site for locating drug rehab center information, conducted research on how a doll would ridiculously measure up in real life. In order to be like Barbie, an average woman would have to grow two feet taller, extend their neck length by 3.2 inches, gain 5 inches in the chest, and lose 6 inches in the waist.
(Again, we are talking about a doll that is, you know, not real.)
Well, no freakin’ duh. Any Barbie body looks bizarre and unnatural. Barbie has a stylized form. What the hell is stylized, you ask? When a work is stylized, it is represented in a way that either exaggerates or simplifies certain design qualities. In this case, a young woman’s body.
Imagination, wonder, and creative play brings a Barbie doll to life. People shouldn’t scrutinize her for her tiny body. Barbie, like most of us, is meant for bigger and better things.
Per her 1994 autobiography, Dream Doll: The Ruth Handler Story, Ruth Handler, Barbie’s creator, wrote: “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”
This concern for her measurements has got to stop. The argument on her looks needs to be redirected toward a discussion of the critical role family and mentors play in people’s lives. Entrepreneur and TV personality Carol Roth said it best in an article for Entrepreneur, “No toy will have anywhere near the effect of shaping your daughters’ futures as you potentially can.”
Whether you are thick or thin, someone in your family or someone you know shares similar attributes with you. Who is your visual? Who can you relate to? You are not the only person built this way, love it.
At the end of the day we’re talking about a doll. You see the last word in that sentence? A doll. A doll shouldn’t be a standard of beauty. She is not a real person.
If improving your health and fitness habits will make you feel good, then by all means go for it. Just make sure you are going about it for you.