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Barbie as as Sexual Archetype - Essay Example

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Date Barbie as a Sexual Archetype For decades, there have been prominent sexual icons that have set an unrealistic bar for women as the ideal for the ‘perfect woman.’ Aside from cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe and Jessica Rabbit, Mattel’s most popular product, the Barbie doll, has stood the test of time as history’s most consequential sexual archetype…
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Barbie as as Sexual Archetype
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Barbie as as Sexual Archetype

Barbie was an instant success and quickly became the masthead and promotional icon for toy maker Mattel. Part of Barbie’s allure is her ability to transcend generations as a primary toy. Hitting fifty-three years old this year, she is probably one of the oldest toys to still be as well embedded as she is as a familiar childhood toy, still being swept off the shelves by parents for their children today. Moreover, Barbie, so ingrained in the culture of America, has become a sexual and cultural archetype for two sides of the same coin: body consciousness and women empowerment. Truly, one “could regard Barbie as one of the most successful creative products by a woman and one of the most widely disseminated women’s artworks in Western European human history, thus ranking Handler alongside the Brontes and Jane Austen in her universal cultural currency and influence” (Peers 11). An important distinction, considering many people have become so inflamed by Barbie’s crimes against feminism that they forget Barbie was, in fact, created by a woman and celebrated by women for her ability to transcend gender inequality, despite her breast size. ...
In doll form, Barbie represents an absolute sexual icon, an archetype of femininity. Over the years, Barbie slowly became the symbolic ideal for women, one that had been ingrained in the minds of young girls throughout their childhoods—so much so that women have become influenced by this childhood idol to make changes to their own bodies in an attempt to look physically like the sexual bombshell. One woman, Cindy Jackson, has become famous for spending more than fifty thousand dollars on plastic surgery in her attempts to look like a real-life Barbie doll. On numerous talk shows, Cindy has told her tales of obsession with the sexual icon and the pressures she placed upon herself to strive for the same physical perfection. Cindy still strives for the perfection that Barbie represents, and her story is often presented as one of desperation, ultimate sadness, and as a cry for help that will only end when her reality becomes shattered by the imperfection inherent in being a human. Nearly anatomically correct, Barbie’s dimensions are that of a completely unrealistic woman. Standing at just about six feet tall, Barbie’s real-life measurements would put her as having a “39 inch bust, 18 inch waist, and 33 inch hips” (Slayen). Any real woman wouldn’t be able to survive with a body of this shape, being unproportionately thin and with breasts so large she would literally topple over. Even the makers of Mattel, after bending to the pressure of their sexual icon as being too unrealistic an ideal for women, starting re-vamping Barbie’s shape to that of a more conservative image. Over the years, Barbie’s dimensions changed drastically, her hips smoothed out, her waist gained a few inches, and she was dropped from what could be considered ... Read More
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