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Jewish World Review May 5, 2000/ 1 Iyar, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports


A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez --
AS I GROW OLDER, I can't help wondering: Will Barbie ever die?

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, Doll.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


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04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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