Jewish World Review May 5, 2000/ 1 Iyar, 5760
She's beginning to get on my nerves. I don't like people who keep changing their looks and personalities like some deranged chameleon. The kid in me covets consistency.
I've known Barbie all her life, beginning when she was just a regular doll with a smashing figure, who, like the rest us, wanted nothing more than a fabulous car and some cool clothes.
I was distressed when Mattel introduced Ken. Then they came up with G.I. Barbie, Aerobic Instructor Barbie, Save The Whales Barbie, and now Presidential Candidate Barbie, who, by the way, is beating Al Gore. Among under-14 voters, Barb thus far has garnered 5.62 percent of the votes compared with just 0.68 percent for the Alpha Male.
I pulled these stats from Barbie's Web site. Of course, she has a Web site! And probably a laptop, too. Not to worry, Mom and Dad, after Mattel's finished with your little future presidette, you'll be coughing up a laptop in no time. And that ain't all.
How about $500 for a Millennium Bride Barbie? Her dress has an empire waist, the better, presumably, to accommodate "Oops Barbie," the pre-maritally preggers girl next door.
You can find the bride doll and much, much more by linking to Mattel's e-shop, which offers dolls, toys, video games and "collectibles."
The bride is one such collectible. Others include my faves, designer Bob Mackie's "Fantasy Goddess of Africa Barbie" and "Fantasy Goddess of Asia Barbie." These diversity babes go for just $240 each.
The Barbie For President campaign ought to win the Oscar equivalent for marketing. It might also be cited for propaganda-mongering. For Barbie has become the worst sort of feminist. She's anti-male.
At first glance, I thought the Web site was a fun way to introduce girls to politics, to help them see themselves as more than material girls. Barbie's site offers profiles of other women leaders, for example. Girls can even participate in a survey, answering questions such as: What's the biggest problem at your school?
But reading between the lines, something less innocent emerges -- the feminist agenda.
Multiple-choice answers to the survey questions are contrived to produce certain "acceptable" responses, if only subliminally.
For instance, to the question about what issues matter most, one of the possible answers is "equal opportunities for boys and girls." Which is to say, there is a problem.
Despite far-reaching societal changes and legal accommodations to ensure equal opportunity, girls keep hearing that they're losing out to boys. Yet, girls are outperforming boys in nearly every way, especially in education. More women than men graduate college, and women outnumber men in graduate schools.
More troublesome was this question: If you were running for president, whom would you choose as your vice president? Your mom, your teacher, your best friend or Barbie? Dad wasn't even an option. The message: Men. So unnecessary.
The irony for the original Barbie Generation -- We Who Have Met Gravity -- is that Barbie, the biggest sex object, anti-feminist ever to strut down Madison Avenue, continues to thrive. She's the worst kind of hypocrite -- a shallow, insipid, please-everybody manipulator desperate for love and attention. In other words, the perfect leader for our times.
Still, ever the optimist, I'm holding out for Grandmother Barbie, followed soon thereafter by Angel Barbie.
See you in heaven,
04/25/00: From here to paternity