Barbie Assignment - Essay Example

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Name and Number of the Course Date Gender and Sexual Studies BARBIE ASSIGNMENT Introduction “The Barbie doll is one of the most successful toys of the 20th century and, arguably the icon of female beauty and the American dream” (Kuther & Mcdonald 39)…
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Download file to see previous pages One of the arguments against girls playing with Barbie dolls is that by “dramatizing stereotypical feminine roles during play, girls will internalize” (Kuther & Mcdonald 39) and later strive to personify such roles. Boys do not wish to be seen playing with dolls, hence Barbies’ impact on them is less. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate Barbie dolls and their impact on oneself, as an essential area of gender and sexual studies. One’s Personal Perceptions of Barbie as a Child and Adolescent Though boys generally would not dream of playing with Barbies, most have experiences of some kind of destructive play with a Barbie belonging to their siblings or friends. As a child and while growing up, I had a fascination for the perfectly formed Barbie doll that my younger sister would dress in garments she stitched on her own. As a ten year old, she played imaginatively with her doll, and was proud to display it with her handiwork, of what she believed was high-fashion wear fit for the runways of Paris and Milan. Being her brother a couple of years older to her, I took immense pleasure in hiding her doll in inaccessilbe places, rolling it in mud, or coloring her hair with multi-colored inks, to horrify my kid sister. This would result in her crying and reporting to our parents, which would inevitably lead to some kind of punishment for me. However, her look of utter shock over my destructive work would give me immense satisfaction. The demolition was in a way related to the fact that the perfectly formed adult shape of Barbie made me uneasy. Hence I considered destructive measures to be a good way to display my disdain for all things feminine and attractive. This natural impulse that boys have is reiterated by Kuther and Mcdonald (p.46) who state that torture play with Barbies is commonly reported by boys. Another reason was my wish to teach my kid sister a lesson for having to baby sit her for short durations while I would have preferred to join my friends’ boisterous outdoor games. This destructive phase however, did not last long, and I stopped harassing her due to parental imposition. Girls in relation to their experiences with Barbie doll play are found to have long-lasting outcomes resulting from the unrealistically ideal body shape of the doll. It is widely argued that girls are severely constrained and even subjugated by the “rigid boundaries of normative femininity as well as the patriarchal and overly sexualized portrayals of females in Western cultures” (Ivashkevich 40). This is further rooted in the fact that the female body is checked, obsessed over, beautified and objectified through the media and other cultural products and discourses. In rebellion, girls are also stated to innovatively and imaginatively transform existing cultural texts and artifacts created for their consumption, not content to passively internalize cultural norms and values. On the other hand, one of the approaches that girls have towards their childhood play with Barbie dolls is a practical one, as revealed by Reid-Walsh and Mitchell (p.175). They state that they grew up loving the doll, and her exaggerated proportions made no difference to them. Further, they believe that those who consider Barbie dolls to be the root of their eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa should look into themselves for the causes, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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