Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kids REACT To FAT Barbie

Kids REACT To FAT Barbie (Lammily Doll) 

This video opens with a woman, who seems to be its producer and poster, explaining that she recently purchased, online, a Lammily or "Plus Size" Barbie Doll. Actually, there's nothing fat about this doll, but because it is proportioned realistically instead of being modeled on an unrealistic, idealized female body, it seems to be chubby in comparison. The woman also explains that the doll comes with stickers that can be put on the body so that the doll can be rendered realistically imperfect. She doesn't go into detail about what the stickers add (scars? blotchy spots? ringworm? other?) but she does explain that she gave her Lammily some stomach stretch marks because she has stretch marks, herself (huh???). She then explains that she "thought it would be kinda' neat" to give the doll to her 2 kids to see what their reaction would be. Her daughters, by the way appear to be 2 charming, very normal little White girls.

You guessed it, or at least I did, hands down the girls thought that Barbie is prettier and more the way they'd want to be than Lammily. These 2 little girls don't seem to have much problem with that. And if I were to read into the entire imperfect little social study done here, I'd say that if anything, these 2 little girls were showing remarkable patience and graciousness with mom and her ceaseless questions about which doll do you like more? and why? They seem to understand that some things just are, and that imposing questions on the experience is really unnecessary and makes little sense. I think the kids got it straight! - although, of course, I agree, too, that it is good to have alternative dolls for kids to choose IF  that's what THEY want. But we adults, as usual, seem to be f*&#ed up in all of this, uncomfortable with the fact that we just aren't certain about life ourselves and hyper uncomfortable that, on top of that, we have to guide naive, impressionable, and ever so delicate young souls (our children) through the difficult passages of learning how to live in the world.

Way back in the day, the Greeks created idealized human forms in their stone sculptures that represented the gods and abstract human characteristics. And later, painters, like Da Vinci, had formulas for perfect human proportions, even though they knew that they'd never find real-life models who would conform to them. Part of being human is understanding that there is the real and there is the ideal and we have to learn to make our peace with the fact that none of us are ideal. Even more disappointing, we discover that some of our fellow humans come closer to the ideal than we do. And, above all, we have to learn to live with that.

Do the 2 sweet little White girls in this video not understand this? They appear to get it and have no problem with it, although I think some hand-wringing adults like to think that they need to be saved  from the Psycho-Evil of Barbie dolls. NO, these kids seem to me to understand and accept this fact of life and would prefer simply to be left alone to enjoy "playing Barbie dolls" with little, unrealistic plastic effigies of young women with impossibly tight - cute - little butts, ridiculously attractive long perfect legs, and tresses of perfect, long and full, blond doll's hair.

Interesting to me that while the producer of this video seems to have attempted to set up a perfectly provocative situation that would resonate with the social indignation of a great many, as of this writing she has only scored some 68 thousand views in the 10 months or so that it has been posted. Even more interesting, she has turned off the "Comments" feature of YouTube. Hmmmm. What kind of comments was she expecting, I wonder? 

1 comment:

  1. This is topic about which the Millenial child consumers need to talk. Do they really relish and need racially and ethnically accurate dolls and action figure for their "child's play"? Do they want to just "have fun" or play with future preferred role models in terms of physicality. Toni Morrison thinks they need dolls that look like them in The Bluest Eye and Jacqueline Woodson played with dolls that were distinctly African American in looks. This is an issue kids should reflect on as their preferences will be authenticated through their parents' consumer dollars. As for me, I will stick with the original Barbie. Somehow I never thought she was meant to represent a role model for my life in my Brooklyn neighborhood as a child far removed from her runways and perfection. But I loved her style and creating scripts for her and her pals. That was imaginative play not a reality world!!