I was talking to a friend last year about how there seems to be a trend these days – particularly among certain types of young, middle-class adults – to not want to commit to anything or be penetrated by anything, as if the purpose of our life is just to dress up in fasionable outfits, be seen at social events with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and look sort of cute.
I got to wondering where this comes from – is it something we learn from our parents, TV, friends, or role-models of some kind?
One book I came across years ago suggests that “life imitates art”, specifically with regard to the cultural icon known as the Barbie doll:
In Barbie’s early years, Mattel struggled to make its doll look like a real life movie star. Today, however, real-life celebrities–as well as common folk–are emulating her. The postsurgical Dolly Parton looks like the postsurgical Ivana Trump looks like the postsurgical Joan Rivers looks like. . . Barbie.
So begins chapter 12 of M.B. Lord’s book, Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll. (New York: Walker & Company, 1994) This is included in The Basket of Tolerance, section on “The History and Philosophies of Human Sexual Activity”, by Adi Da Samraj.
This book also mentions Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, who of course has no penis. And it considers how giving this plastic toy to small children might affect the way they see the world, now and in the future.
This song is oddly catchy and reminds me of this study:
Questions for consideration:
- Do you know any women who have either succeeded in looking like Barbie and living the Barbie lifestyle, or are envious of those who have?
- Barbie doesn’t age, menstruate, or breastfeed. Have you met any real-life women who become concerned by the changes their bodies go through and feel these changes are unnatural and somehow “wrong”?
- Barbie doesn’t have to earn money, nor does she have any real commitments in her life. Is this the key to happiness, the ideal situation to achieve? (Please be honest.)
- Where does a woman’s real power come from? Is there more to a woman’s power than looking pretty for men, having sufficient outfits, having enough money, and having social events to attend?
- Barbie is always pretty with her pretty boyfriend at her side. Nothing wrong with that – I think most of us would find it quite enjoyable. But, if you’ll forgive me for being crude, Barbie never gets penetrated by Ken’s cock — physically or emotionally — because he hasn’t got one. I’m curious what others think: is this a good role model if we want a life of love, intimacy, warmth, pleasure? Or is Barbie a role model for an existence that is somewhat sterile, always anxiously concerned with one’s appearance, and dependent on imagination to feel much of anything? Or doesn’t it matter?
- Does “life imitate art”, as Plato, Confucius, and Oscar Wilde have suggested? If so, what kind of art do you imitate in your own life? (Think of visual art, music, literature, drama, TV shows, architecture, decorative art, engineering styles, and consumer products that you were exposed to in your early life, and what effect they had on you and your values.)
P.S. Please share your comments.