Barbie is a Feminist Icon Take 2
Debate Rounds (5)
I'm going to just start out making my opening argument. Barbie is a feminist icon because she teaches girls they can be anything. They can be the president, a doctor, a teacher, a race car driver, whatever. She teaches them that their gender does not have to limit them. This is one of the things that make her a feminist icon.
I wait for Jimmy's respond.
I will start by some points and in the next round i will start a rebuttal.
1. Barbie hurts a girls self-esteem. This may be (meaning the most likely cause) because of Barbies body shape and look. This may effect the girls own feelings and in turn hurt them. As feminism about diminishing the patriarchy and empowering women, i believe that making little girls feel uncomfortable about themselves because of a toy is part of it. Not to mention that the psychological effect that i am talking about is the opposite of empowering.
2. Barbie is almost always associated with being the stereotypical woman. Ads such as barbies dream house convey that barbie is nothing more than a superficial housewife. The main variety of Barbie which is sold is the one which is purely a girl who likes to try on dresses and do nothing more than be essentially a house wife. Again this is the opposite to feminism.
3. Where would barbie be without Ken? Ken her husband/boyfriend. Why doesn't barbie have a "girlfriend" so to speak? Because parents would think that is encouraging homosexuality and therefore none would sell. This again is reinforcing the Patriarchy as it does not empower the little girls but more diminishes them to who the may think they are inside.
Hope this debate goes well! :)
2. I'm not sure I follow. Being a doll collector, I have seen Barbie and she is constantly trying new things. Yes, it remains that she enjoys fashion but that isn't a bad thing. Fashion is great. Everyone has a fashion sense. That and what is wrong with a woman wants to stay home? We should empower women not just to try their hardest but to also choose if they want to stay home and be a housewife. My mother has been a housewife for years and she loves it.
3.Yay, I get to use a YouTube video for this one! Woot! Now this problem is kinda two fold. Again, being a doll collector I want there to be a homosexual doll but the problem lies with closemindness. Sadly, there are still people who are against homosexual people so the chances of us getting a gay doll are extremely slim right now. That's more to play the small percent of people who are close minded and stupid. And the reason Barbie has Ken is because she loves Ken and Ken loves her. Their relationship has been going on for ages and it's still going. Barbie never leaves Ken because something bigger or better comes along. She loves Ken because he loves her and always wants to make her happy. Observe with this video here:
I will now rebut your argument
Yes Barbie has the potential to promote girls to be anything, yet when we walk into a K-mart (Australian version of WalMart) and look for a barbie, we only see the original, girly girl barbie, not the astronaut or the racing car driver. Sure there are many versions and costumes of barbie out there, but are they the ones little girls play with most? Or are the stereotypical ones the ones which children most play with? These other outfits (as far as i know and have researched) are quite rare and more difficult to obtain.
I will now answer your rebuttals to my arguments:
1. Yes there are many people who have eating disorders that do not blame barbies (I did not just say eating disorders but self esteem issues and self confidence are other examples to that ), but barbie has the potential to be a contributing factor as she is part of western culture that influences girls. The large breasts, slim body and pretty face of a doll are all ways a girl may feel insecure about herself, because she does not look like the toy she reveres. I am not saying there is anything wrong with being thin, far from it, I am saying that because of her look, and the potential she has to psychologically harm kids, makes her not able to be a feminist icon. Yes barbie is not real and children need to understand that, but do they is the question. The same goes for (I am using an extreme here so disregard it if you may) teenage boys watching pornography, it warps there thoughts and makes them think this is what sex/love/intimacy is like.
2. I am not sure you're following my arguments correctly, I am saying that many children who play with her, all they see is a stereotype. Not an empowering woman who does what she wants. Often her roles include very stereotypically feminine things as well, such as air hostess and job roles a woman would stereotypically play.
3. Usually a child would not know such a deep meaning behind the two dolls because children would not usually have such a cognitive thought behind it. They would just see two dolls, one a guy, one a girl. The end.
A point I would like to bring up is the Barbie movies. In these movies Barbie is usually portrayed as a ballerina and increasingly feminine roles, rather than the race car driver or other more gender exclusive roles. My point being that Barbie is not a feminist icon because these movies still contribute to the factor that she only does girly things.
Your turn :)
Okay, I'm going to rebut. I doubt that's a word but I oh well.
1. Okay, I see what saying. Yes, looking at Barbie a little girl might get the idea that she's suppose to look like Barbie. But if you say that, what about the toys made for boys? Most action figures are made to be muscular and handsome. How come that doesn't harm boys? Honestly, I think Barbie doesn't effect a girl's perception of beauty as much as we think. If anything, the media is worse. The media is constantly telling us what to buy and what to wear. Barbie only says be yourself.
2. I see what you're saying but it seems to be that you think being a housewife or an air hostess isn't empowering. Yeah, they're not the most exciting jobs but if a person loves to do it, then it empowers them. The good thing about Barbie is shows girls that they can be adventurous or not and still enjoy their job.
3. Kids are a lot smarter than we think Jimmy. They realize things. They learn by watching people as well as playing. I've been around kids (I'm studying to be a pre-school teacher) and kids pick up on emotions. An example: I once burned my hand and one of the boys I was watching came over to kiss my boo-boo. He wanted me to feel better, he felt empathy. Kids learn a lot in the first few years and they continue to learn as they go on. The concept of love shouldn't be to hard for them to grasp.
As for the movies....I kinda agree with you on that. They kinda are one-sided. However, Barbie now stars in a web series called Life in the Dreamhouse. Not only does she show how kind she is but she also builds herself a car, rides a plane and even built a car for Ken. It's done a great job showing girls how you can be girly and strong too!
Your turn Jimmy!
1. Boys do not suffer the same psychological vulnerability as girls. Boys do have psychological flaws, but not the same as girls. The action figures boys play with are not in the same category as girls toys, as they have different aspects, preferences and marketing ability. For example, boys toys are more interactive with other toys or by themselves, rather than girls toys which interact with the user, e.g. brushing a dolls hair in relation to a girl, while shooting a plastic rocket dart out of a boys action figure in relation to a boy. These are just examples and can be disregarded if you want them to be. Yes I agree that the media is definitely worse, but it is not logical to say that barbie and other similar toys are not contributing factors. Also the media says buy barbie, and what to buy with barbie, therefore it can be interperated as just as bad.
2. No, what i'm saying is that Barbie does not give all of the options of what a girls potential is readily. I agree with the rest of you point though :)
3. At the age of which many girls would play with barbies they are extremely impressionable (im studying to be a clinical psychologist, child development was one of the sections which we recently did). As you said, kids do pick up on emotions, but not just emotions, but also reactions and physiological changes. Yes they learn a lot but they are extremely impressionable.
The more you know :)! But many children may not see that web series but still a nice gesture :)
This debate is going well :)
I'd like to also bring up some other dolls that have been popular in recent years. The Bratz dolls were extremely popular (they're still somewhat popular from what I understand) but most parents hated them. They appeared to be too slutty and they didn't want their girls playing with them. Instead, they wanted their daughters to play with Barbie. Why? Well because for thing Barbie doesn't parade around half naked and she isn't boy crazy. She represents what girls should strive for, someone who is kind, smart and is willing to better herself.
Your turn. Sorry it's so short. :)
JimmyRusltler forfeited this round.
The thing about Barbie is that over the years she has changed. Yes, she still is uber girly but there is really nothing wrong with that. In fact, Barbie teaches girls that you can both pretty and smart. Barbie has also been the center of controversy as well but that can be said for a lot of famous figures. I think Barbie is a good toy for girls because of what she teaches and will continue to teach. She isn't going to stay exactly the same, she'll change as the time does.
Its been fun debating with you :)
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