As a child, I spent many years sitting on the floor of my family’s living room, playing with Barbie. In her little world on that hardwood floor, she owned an ice cream shop, lived in a condo, drove a white Corvette, and would soon marry her loyal boyfriend Ken. Although limited by my accessories, I thought she had the brainpower and ability to do anything. That is why my heart simply broke when I read the latest about a woman who underwent several surgeries to resemble a Barbie doll.
According to the Huffington Post, 38-year-old Blondie Bennett is using hypnotherapy in an attempt to lower her IQ. The article quoted her as saying she “wanted to be the ultimate Barbie,” “[didn’t] like being human,” and “would love to be like, completely plastic.” She’s not the first person to alter their appearance to appear more Barbie-like, and I’m sure she won’t be the last. But she is the first person I’ve seen who thinks becoming ditzy would help her reach that goal.
Basically, she is willing to lose all of her natural beauty and intelligence to become adaptable and artificial like plastic—more specifically a plastic doll. Where is the joy in that? Being confused about most things and getting lost everywhere you go doesn’t seem like something a person would choose for themselves. I choose to find joy in seeing what Barbie symbolized when I was growing up–the everywoman.
Back then, the Barbie slogan was “We girls can do anything.” And Barbie did everything, sharing this message of encouragement and empowerment. When I saw Barbie, I saw a woman with family, friends, and a successful career (depending on which one you wanted her to have at the moment). She was the college cheerleader and athlete. Then she was the doctor, the teacher, and the veterinarian. She was the actress, the entrepreneur, and the world traveler, and the list goes on. There was never a limit to what she could achieve.
In my opinion, Barbie was always supposed to be about the dream, not reality. After all, her measurements are unreal, and any employer who found someone with as many jobs as she’s had would send up the red flag. I’ve always seen Barbie as just a doll that fuels ambition and imagination. Barbie reminds girls to have fun and dream. She reminds girls to reach for the stars, but shoot for the moon. She reminds girls there’s more than what’s on the surface, and not to sell themselves short…or even worse, lose sight of themselves.
Because when you do, you might end up being seen as nothing more than adaptable, artificial, or seemingly brainless—like plastic.