[GSMITHBOOK] Times of London had an interesting article today by Terri Apter. In the article, Barbie and Co: The New Sexism, Lost Feminist Dreams, the False Ideals of Marriage – and Barbie Dolls, Apter raises a lot of provocative questions. One question I think she raises is, to what extent does the sexualized barbie doll of childhood affect what goes on in the marital chamber in adulthood?
The author, I think, intimates that Barbie, indeed, has had a very big impact on our collective sex lives; and she seems to say that the damage Barbie inflicts is greater for little girls (who are taught to idolize this impossibly built female phantom and aspire to be like her, albeit subliminally, from early childhood) to a greater extent than boys. Not that Barbie does not mess up boys, too. She does. Barbie’s impact on boys who become men is readily apparent; because of Barbie, guys form an almost pornographic view of what a woman is, and how sex should be in a relationship and in a marriage. It is, of course, an impossible ideal that is based primarily on fantasmagorical images of the doll of our collective childhoods — the doll with the perfect anatomy, to wit: the breasts, the legs, the hair, the buttocks, the waist, and the facial features. It is a standard woefully impossible to live up to and ultimately, it wrecks relationships and sex lives.
And it is easy to understand why. Real life very often falls below the benchmark set by Barbie and her coterie of plastic beauties. As a result, fantasizing about Barbie and having these subliminal messages and images on the cerebral cortex causes sex to fizzle in disappointment and shame at the outset. For one thing, men buy into the fantasy big time. They feel like women fail to deliver on their deeper, darker sexual fantasies if she refuses their more deviant requests, or if she is not singularly “perfect” like Barbie.
Arguably, it is subliminal programming, and not vanity, that has caused so many women to deform their bodies with plastic surgery in search of the perfect, gravity defying breasts, lips and rounded ass; and it is what has exploded the cosmetics and hair extension industries the world over. It is all in a desperate attempt to live up to the fantasy of men, whose fantasies are shaped by Barbie.
It doesn’t stop there. The Barbie culture and obsession belies real intimacy and fulfilling/attainable sex in real relationships because it has spun into this obsession with porn — and that has spun into other more nefarious activities such as child porn.
Women, on the other hand, feel inadequate when they can’t deliver what pleases their partners both in terms of the physical beauty standards and performance in the bedroom. They develop this huge Barbie complex. Ultimately they take bigger and greater risks with their life and health and values in trying to achieve this impossible ideal. Some are permanently physically maimed, and their moral biographies re-written, in their quest. Others just look ridiculous, maybe even grotesque.
Ultimately, the Barbie dissatisfaction that breeds from disappointment from both camps can only lead to divorce, or at a bare minimum, “constructive abandonment.” Writes Apter:
A “semi-pornographic imagery” is at fault for portraying good sex and the relationships that contain sex with a one-dimensionality that breeds constant dissatisfaction with real relationships.
What is the conclusion? Well, obviously, we need to start an anti-Barbie movement. She’s wrecking the sex lives of British women, and presumably, for women all over the world. As for Ken? Well, he doesn’t seem to count for these purposes. What self-respecting man or woman use Ken as the benchmark for male beauty and sexual appeal? What woman would divorce her husband (or encourage plastic surgery) because he doesn’t adequately resemble a Ken doll?….
But then again, look what I just found….