From CNN, the origin of Barbie, which I did not know before:
The now-legendary doll was conceived by Ruth Handler, a daughter of Polish immigrants, said Gerber, author of the newly published “Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.” She and her husband, Elliott, owned Mattel until a scandal involving accusations of cooked books drove them out in 1975, Gerber said.
Handler, who died in 2002, used to watch her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls. Then, on a trip to Europe, Barbara became fascinated with a buxom doll that Gerber said was based on a female German cartoon character, named Lilli, who used sex to get what she wanted.
“My guess is she didn’t know what it was when she bought it,” because at that point, four years after the Lilli doll’s release, it had landed in European toy stores, the author explained. Handler took the doll back to the states and insisted Mattel designers get to work.
“Who would have thought,” Gerber said. Barbie was thought up by a woman and modeled on a cartoon character “who was essentially a prostitute.”
INDEED. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT. It’s not like you can find any hints of her origin by, say, looking at her!
Do these bodies look like they were designed for anything other than The Sex? No, I didn’t think so, either.
I also think it’s interesting that the quote isn’t just, “who would have thought Barbie was modeled on a prostitute?” but also “who would have thought Barbie was thought up by a women?” It seems like a very revealing rhetorical question, expecially considering the cultural narrative that’s all about how “Barbie is totes not sexist, we swear! Where do you get these crazy ideas?! She’s practically feminist!!” It’s as if even the people who make those arguments understand they they’re flawed, that there’s something not-quite-right about the perpetuation of the Barbie ideal, and that therefore it’s incongruous for it to be created by a woman.
Well, actually, it’s not incongruous at all– women can be pretty darn good at perpetuating the patriarchy, too. It’s one of the few “equal rights” we have.
So, hooray for Barbie! Who would have thought?