Barbie as a Feminist Icon?

Barbie has never really been viewed favourably by Feminists. She represents very typical male-perspective impossibly high beauty standards for women. Her body is majorly disproportioned with loooong legs and boobs so big they MUST cause back problems. She represents decadent white America, teaching toxic beauty perceptions.

Yet, a study into Barbie’s career over the years does suggest that perhaps this plastic fantastic is owed some respect from us after all.

It turns out Barbie dolls have had around 72 careers during their time, including President of the United States. Barbie achieved where Hillary Clinton fell short, and has paved the way for other female dolls to also become President. Perhaps we will have a Bratz doll in the White House before we know it.

List of all the jobs Barbie has had over time, including salaries

As you can see by the list provided by Silver Swan Recruitment, Barbie has managed to earn over $45m. This makes her worth the same amount as Kim Kardashian, who is also a sex icon who deserves more respect for her career.

Barbie was a pilot, which is commendable since even in 2019, less than 6% of pilots are women.

Barbie was also a doctor for a short while, which seems progressive since women in movies and toys are delighted to nurses, while men get to be the actual doctors.

The point of this short article is that I hope that the toy industry is taking more of a serious thought into how they are shaping the children of tomorrow. Giving little girls a toy of a female president of the United States may seem small, but who knows how that shapes her perception of politics and her own boundaries as a woman.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of Barbie’s career path, and can she be fairly branded as a feminist icon?

Lots of love, Evie x

‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ – Book of the Week

 

Anyone who is a regular to this blog knows that I am a massive fan of Jon Ronson. After reading ‘The Psychopath Test’ (the detailed and enthusiastic review for that is here) I went and bought all of his books and downloaded his podcasts. My next book of choice was ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. Again, a similar thing  happened when I started reading this book, I realised it sounded familiar. “Oh yes!” I thought, “I have already seen him do a Ted Talk on this topic.” The TedTalk also stuck in my mind, and so I will link to it below:

 

Although he explores many medias, Ronson mainly focuses his attention on online shaming- in particular Twitter. How people can tweet a misworded joke and end up being hated by the entire world. Death threats and rape threats thrown at them, and real-life ramifications such as being fired. Online shaming and exposure is even more relevant now than it was in 2015 when this novel was published as people like beauty-guru Laura Lee, director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn, and more recently even beloved comedy-actor Kevin Hart have been under fire as people have dug up offensive tweets from years ago. It has started a debate around how long can someone have a dodgy tweet held against them? Should someone be fired for saying something offensive years ago, or do we forgive them? Who even deserves forgiveness? Is a racist tweet worse than a homophobic/sexist tweet? Ronson touches on these issues and more in his book. He also looks to empathise with the shamed. He gives context to their misworded tweets and gives advice on how to ride the shaming train and come out unscathed. He looks into the mob-mentality of public shaming and the psychology of being embarrassed. He researches cases where people have felt so ashamed for their acts that they have committed suicide (for example, Ashley-Madison is a site for people looking to start an affair. It was hacked and the names and details of thousands of users were leaked).

I recommend this book to anyone else who is as aware of the rise in online scandals and shaming and wants to explore the debates surrounding it. I would love to hear of your thoughts down below!

Love from, Evie x

‘Enduring Love’ – Book of the Week

First of all, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Joyous Kwanzaa/Happy Holidays! Terribly sorry that I didn’t write for a while. I had a lot of essays to complete (including on this novel) however I could not write about it until after I submitted my essay in case I was accused of self-plagiarising! Anyways, I have a lot of posts lined up to make up for my absence!

The reason I focused my essay on ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan is because it asks more questions than it answers. While our narrator is telling us about how everyone is crazy and obsessive, we as a reader are left to wonder whether it was actually our narrator who was the mad one?

The main concept of the story is that Joe and Clarissa are having a picnic in a field when they notice a hot air balloon carrying a small child goes out of control. Joe and four strangers rush forwards to hold onto the balloon and save the boy. The balloon gets whisked into the air and four of the men drop off, yet a man called John Logan lets go too late and falls to his death. Joe is unable to rationalise the events that happened. One of the other attempted rescuers, named Jed, falls desperately in love with Joe despite them knowing one another. The rest of the text follows Joe making sense of the balloon event, and also trying to prove to Clarissa that Jed is obsessed with him.

McEwan drops so many clues within his twists and turns that cause the reader to doubt everything they read. Joe himself is proven untrustworthy as he contradicts himself and constantly lies to the police. What is going on here?  Is Jed really obsessed with Joe? Is Jed even real? Why does Clarissa not believe Joe for so long? I think you can really see that I enjoyed the uncertainty of this text.

The text also raises issues to do with philosophy, Science vs Religion, Game Theory, mental health and, as the title suggests, love. ‘Enduring Love’ could allude to Joe having to endure Jed’s love, which he does not want nor reciprocate. ‘Enduring Love’ could also suggest that Joe and Clarissa’s love has to endure the difficult events that take place in the book. McEwan plays with form; stream of consciousness, epistolary, various viewpoints and even an appendix with psychological case studies.

I very much recommend this novel to anyone looking for something that will really make them think. Although McEwan’s writing style is fairly simplistic and easy to follow, his actual content holds a great deal of ambiguity and forces the reader to truly think and fill in the narrative gaps. I love a book where I am forced to question not only everything I am told, but the actual narrative-voice itself. I would adore to hear what you thought in the comments down below!

Lots of love, Evie x

‘North and South’ – Book of the Week

Just a quick one!

‘North and South’ by Elizabeth Gaskell particularly caught my eye as its perception of the North/South divide (in England) is still a widely discussed subject to this day. The North/South divide is a common phrase used and is the topic of many comical commentaries of English Society. The people of the North in the novel, as stereotyped today as well, tend to be; friendlier, drink more, poorer and tougher. Southerners are typically seen as stern, rich, well-educated, feeble and that stereotype of British people that America is in love with (think Hugh Grant). Though of course applying character traits to certain groups of people simply because they were born in Chelsea or York is hugely unfair and inaccurate, they are strong stereotypes which have lasted the test of time due to the relevance of ‘North and South’.

This book explores ideas of capitalism and socialism, left-wing and right-wing, class issues and cultural identity. Gaskell throws her hat into the ring of old money vs new money. A rich Londoner Margaret travels to the North and learns to see the beauty in the simplicity of the working-classes. She meets a business owner, Thornton, whom she expresses her distaste in his lack of welfare. He points out to her that he “started from the bottom now we here” (Drake) and that if he can do it with no help or handouts then so can anyone. This idea of a self-made rags-to-riches story is key in our social and political discussions nowadays. Lord Sugar of the UK’s Apprentice came from humble beginnings and now is a self-made billionaire. However, the argument could be made that perhaps people need a little boost in life to get them to where they need to be. Let’s take Donald Trump of America’s Apprentice (oh, and POTUS). Trump was given from his father a “small loan of a million dollars” and now is estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.

For Gaskell to summarise the debate of welfare would be to ignore the masses of pros and cons on either side and to close the book on one of the ongoing issues of the political sphere. I feel Gaskell used her novel in order to explore ideas on both sides, and exposed her characters to the other’s perspective. Although Gaskell lands on a fairly pro-welfare note by having Thornton increase the wages and working conditions for his employees, she does not overlook the importance of rugged individualism and self reliance. These issues explored are rather relevant even today, and that is why I recommend this novel to anyone interested in exploring politics in a narrative form.

 

Lots of love, Evie x