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Our Barbies, Ourselves summary

In an article in Interview Magazine, Emily Prager discuses her opinions of Mattel’s toy doll Barbie being designed by Jack Ryan, husband to Zsa Zsa Gabor, and designer of military missiles. The concept that a doll for young girls was designed by such a person greatly shocked Prager.” Suddenly a lot of things made sense to me” says Prager. The element that Ryan designed Barbie may explain some of the key aspects of the doll itself. Although Barbie was created as a toy for girls, the sexual nature of the doll suggests it was created for the pleasure of men and envy of women. Prager compares the figure of Barbie to the kind of women who would be seen in the Playboy mansion or be a frequent guest on explicit television shows.

This is the image of a mans perception of a women and the fantasy there in. The proportions of the doll greatly suggest that Ryan had created either a doll modeled after his wife or merely the fabrication of his fantasy of the ideal women. Millions of women have gone along with this fantasy and have been entranced by the unrealistic standards of appearance and false qualities of life. Sadly, more and more women have accepted these standards as their own and have even resorted to changing who they are to become what they believe to be real.

This may be a major contributing factor to the rise of women seeking breast implants and or plastic surgery. Yet there could be a further explanation and meaning behind Barbie. During the time of development and release of Barbie, the feminist movement was in full swing. The concept that Barbie may have been manufactured as a weapon against these feminist groups is plausible as the image of Barbie
exploits the female body and challenges the values held by active feminists.

Though, from a slightly different perspective, one could argue that Barbie with her freedoms and luxuries supports the ideals of women’s equality and rights. Barbie may have been the transition piece of the decade, setting a new path for women and young girls. Dolls before Barbie were designed
incorporating the ideals of a mans era and the conformity of a women’s role in the world. Barbie may have set the stage for the 1960’s generation by exposing the youth to verity and free choice.

Yet there is another matter in which Barbie may flawed. Barbie’s male counterpart Ken seems to lack the same explicit sexual qualities as that of Barbie. Though the representation of Barbie is utterly explicit, Ken is represented in a more dignified manor, as his genitalia are not exploited. This concept is key when considering if this further proves that women are presented as those who should be sexually exploited while men maintain a dignified stature.

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