We know what you’re thinking, that title is almost an oxymoron, or even false advertising. Barbie as a diverse cultural statement? Ridiculous! Especially since Barbie’s most recent publicity stunt in Sports Illustrated (quite telling when lads mag has a plastic doll in its swimsuit edition, wouldn’t you say?) reaffirmed Mattel actually doesn’t care about how it affects the self-esteem of young girls, rather, they are “unapologetic” about the doll they created.
Well another magazine, Marie Claire South Africa, decided they were going to create their own version of Barbie. They commissioned artist Colleen Clark from Washington D.C to show the public what Barbie would really look like if she were a feminist. Aka, possessing a diverse range of body types and personality affinities.
“I was very inspired by the idea that feminism is as simple as accepting others and yourself unconditionally,” Clark told The Huffington Post. “I wanted to make the point that ‘Feminist Barbie’ wouldn’t have just one look, style, or culture to her, because feminism should include everyone.”
While Barbie has officially had over 150 careers in her lifetime since her birth in 1959, she is notoriously known for her unrealistic and often harmful body proportions. How much controversy has she had for her many careers? None. Her body? Plenty! Remember that time Anderson Cooper went off on the mom who calls herself a human barbie and allowed her underage daughter to get plastic surgery?
If you missed that, then you at least need to see the picture O Magazine featured of model Katie Wilcox who was photographed naked, holding a barbie doll, with plastic surgery markings all over her face and body showing what adjustments would need to be made for any human to look like the famed kids toy.
Well now Colleen’s artistic impressions of a diverse Barbie image only adds to the conversation showing that consumers want to see something different. While we all acknowledge the profound effect Barbies have on young girls, we can at least raise our voices to change something for the better, rather than eliminating it from pop culture altogether.
“I think that our continuous discussion of Barbie’s influence on girls has made her more diverse than ever, and hopefully it will only get better from here,” Clark told HuffPost.
Colleen’s campaign features Barbies wearing Hijabs, with curvy bodies, and coming from different ethnic backgrounds. The slogan is ‘The All New “We Are All Barbie Girls” Collection!’. It ends with “The best way to be a Barbie girl is to be strong, unique, you!”
Looks like this wheel is kinda broke, and it is the voice of the consumer that is working to fix it!