Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mutilating Barbie

barbie in pinkYou've got to feel sorry for girls - they really get the raw end of the deal when it comes to toys!

Have you ever been up and down the aisles of a toy shop and noticed how enticing the boys toys are then been faced by the rows and rows of dolls and doll paraphernalia that make up the girls' section? And dominating that section is the pink bordello, a monument to kitsch, reserved for Barbie and her pink accoutrements.

Buying toys for my son was always a great pleasure but until my daughter began to be fashion conscious, buying anything for her was a chore. She never went through a classic doll phase ('Dad, I don't like them, they stare at me.') but like most young girls she went through a phase of being Barbie-obsessed. Fortunately, especially to my wallet, the phase didn't last long and her vast collection of Barbies and their bits and pieces got assigned to a box at the bottom of a cupboard before making the final move out of the home.

So, it's no surprise to read yesterday's TimesOnline to discover research has found that Barbie is routinely tortured by young girls.

The methods of mutilation are varied and creative, ranging from scalping to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving, according to academics from the University of Bath.

“You might expect little girls to love their Barbie and expect an imaginary love in return. Instead girls feel violence and hatred towards their Barbie,” Agnes Nairn, one of the researchers, said.

“The children never talked of one single, special Barbie. The girls almost always talked about having a box full of Barbies. So to them Barbie has come to symbolise excess. Barbies are not special; they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected,” Dr Nairn said.

And now, one of Barbie's lesser known films. Be warned, it may offend sensitive viewers .

Let me know if the clip doesn't play.


Blogger kleverkloggs said...

I used to babysit for a family with three daughters. I was uncomfortable with little pink naked bodies strewn through the garden like serial-killer victims. The answer? A long running soap opera, with a huge cast of Barbies, there were bitch fights, phantom pregnancies and continuous costume changes.

3:37 am  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

She's right, they DO stare at you. Can't stand them, although Barbie's aren't as creepy. I think I liked them for about 10 minutes. The Barbie mutilation doesn't surprise me, though. And where did you find that clip?!?! That is bizarre!

6:41 am  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Dr Nairn needs to get out of the lab a bit more often.

7:33 am  
Blogger Gay banker said...

Perhaps the reason that the boys toys seem more enticing than girls toys ReluctantNomad is because you're a bloke!

8:02 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

kleverkloggs: you sound like the ideal baby-sitter! Or, maybe NOT!

livewire: it is very bizarre! who has the time to create such things? and why? because people like me download them, I suppose. I can't remember where I found it as I downloaded it ages ago. I suspect it may have been from www.b3ta.com

kynknoord: too right she should! this sort of research makes you wonder about all those strange things you can major in at university these days.

gaybanker: But I thought I was a fairy and not a bloke? :-) Of course you are right with what you say but, to me, it's not as simple as that. While all those marketing men that advise on what toys to make for girls can't be wrong, I know that my wife and daughter tend to agree with me on this. And both of them are perfectly feminine women without a trace of biker dyke about them. :-)

8:43 am  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

Are you married with children? How can you do this to ME?

3:45 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Indeed I am. However, my wife is fully aware of the fact that I'm a died-in-the-wool moffie. If you can't work out what 'moffie' means, you may need a brain transplant! :-)

Do what to you? ;)

3:50 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

I had to watch this video twice (I don't get out much) as I pondered adding your blog (thinking this was too quirky to keep to myself) to my post yesterday. I was one of those little girls who was afraid of dolls, too. Apparently I used to complain about their dead eyes.

5:02 pm  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

Loved the video! my little sister used to choke her Barbies in (unused) condoms and hung the poor dolls from her bedroom window sill once they were really dead, spread honey on them to attract wasps. She claimed Barbie deserved to die.

10:07 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Typo alert but perhaps appropriate:

dyed not died!!

andrea: seems like the watching eyes thing is common!
mickelino: your sister sounds MUCH odder than you are! where did she find condoms, one wonders?

10:31 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

I didn't have Barbie, but I think she would've gone the same way as my regular doll.

My cousin and I used to fight and bash each other with our dolls.

We grew up with boys and played cricket, climbed trees and so on.

12:49 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

guyanay-gyal: funnily enough, I didn't have Barbie either! Nor any other dolls for that matter! :-)

I didn't have Lego either! :-(

6:06 am  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Our cleaning lady told me on Tues. that her little son, 8 years old, got a doll at a Christmas party. He refuses to give it up, adores the doll.

11:18 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

On a different subject, I wrote an interesting paper for one of my MBA courses on cultural behaviour. It was about how 'white' Western culture dominates the perceptions of those who aren't from the same culture as regards things like dolls and greeting cards. Young black girls often preferred white dolls until they reached a certain age because of the obvious influence of the media. Fascinating stuff!

1:57 pm  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

Reflecting on one of your recent posts, I'd say you have a preference for black dolls, right?

4:04 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Wrong! I can see why you would come to that conclusion but it's not correct. I could say that as long as my dolls have a cock and a pulse, I'm happy, but that would also be inaccurate. Basically, I'm attracted to men that appeal to me but, on the whole, those men tend to be white. Is it the residual white South African racist in me, I wonder? Nope, don't think so, it's just the way I am.

So, you're still in with a chance! :-)

8:02 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Very interesting MBA topic, the way 'white' Western culture dominates the perceptions of those who aren't from the same culture.

And! There's the feeling that the 'white' Western culture is better! That our culture is inferior. Cultural cringe. I think the Aussies coined that phrase though.

10:59 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

'Cultural cringe' is a brilliant term because it describes the situation so well. It takes a long time to get rid of it. Even the Aussies with their great advances (superiority?) in sport still suffer from it.

11:37 am  

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