I will use the word BBBBarbie on this blog pretty regularly. BBBBarbie means “Blonde Haired”+ “Blue-Eyed”+ “Boring”+ “Barbie”.
BBBBarbie bugs me. I know she is the lynchpin of the Barbie trademark but she just irritates me. This tidbit is ironic when one considers that I was born blonde-haired and blue-eyed. At the same time I was playing with Malibu Barbie (see my 2nd Grade School photo in this post), I was sporting a fantastic tan and puka beads.
Thirty years later I am a forty-something feminist and I am bugged by the hegemony that the BBBBarbie image continues to have in modern culture. I don’t blame it on Mattel, though they certainly don’t reject BBBBarbie. It’s Mattel, plus beer commercials, plus Pam Anderson plus 100 other cultural and historical influences.
I get sick of hearing things like, “Blondes have more fun” and “Gentlemen prefer blondes.” I don’t feel this way because I dislike myself, but because I realized early on that being blonde was very rare and so the hegemony of BBBBarbie made a lot of little girls feel inadequate. It didn’t seem like a good plan. It didn’t seem fair. Every girl should celebrate her own beauty and uniqueness. BBBBarbie seemed like a constant reminder to 90% of girls that they weren’t blonde and blue-eyed so they somehow weren’t right.
Plus, I can’t help it, when I look at BBBBarbie, I imagine her to be like the real-life women I try very hard to avoid. They are self-centered, overly concerned with pleasing men, and vapid. In high school they are cheerleaders. In college they are in sororities and care more about spring formal than learning something. They major in Marketing or train to become Elementary School teachers and as soon as they find a husband they quit to become Trophy Wives. Or as my mom used to say, they go to college not to get a B.A. but to get an M.R.S. degree.
So, for the purposes of the blog, when I refer to BBBBarbie – I am referring to HER. The one I am annoyed by. But when I refer to barbie, as in “barbie car” or “barbie house”, I mean a rockin’ car that Grace might tool around in or a super cool Living Room that Kara might use to host Midge’s baby shower.
Btw, when Kara did host Midge’s baby shower, she didn’t invite BBBBarbie because she, Trichelle and the other women agreed that they could not bear the thought of sitting through another party where BBBBarbie talked incessantly about the best spray tan (“not as orange as the others”) or how her boob job was starting to calcify and cause her underarms to ache.