Written by Selene Candace

Did you know? Barbie started out as a h00ker named Lilli, born of German descent, a cartoon character who was sassy and bold — delivering comebacks at police officers as she traded sex for money. She began as a joke to men who could not afford to play with a ‘real Lilli’.

The progress of Barbie as we know today evolved extensively from what she once was in 1959, when Ruth Handler reworked the doll for the New York toy fair, and presented her as ‘Barbie’. Described as ‘always discreet’, Lilli transformed from her previous street-walker persona in Germany to the all-American childhood loved doll with the help of American engineers.

Now, she’s become one of the most wanted play-items by children worldwide. She’s held over 200 careers. She went to the moon, she’s remained in a monogamous relationship, and she has been everything from doctor to rock-star to engineer. ‘To address longtime criticism that Barbie dolls did not accurately reflect the diversity of the modern woman, Mattel in 2016 introduced Barbie Fashionistas. They came in four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles.’ 

The fact that people are saying Barbie isn’t a girlboss is unfathomable. She’s THE definition of a girlboss. (See critique on girlboss feminism here). ‘The girlboss doesn’t try to change the system in order to help all women, but just to advance herself’ and leaves the structures that undermine women intact. It doesn’t address racial inequity, social inequality, issues of unequal pay, sexual harassment, or dangerous working conditions. As well as ‘[ignoring] complex issues such as race, sex, disability, and sexuality, which disadvantage millions of women attempting to make it in business’. The girlbosses that dominate media and the top ranks of businesses are generally white, cisgender, conventionally attractive and wealthy. It does nothing to open up pathways to those without this privilege.

Furthermore, what you wear doesn’t make you a sl*t. Thinking that is misogynistic. The problem is that we live in a misogynistic society that thinks policing women’s bodies and behaviour is okay. It’s obtuse because men get away for doing the same things they critique women doing every single day (i.e. number of sexual partners, showing their breasts/ nipples, or even wearing no top). There are levels to it as well; what counts as a sl*t to misogynists intersects with race and gender. So they struggle even more in maintaining their bodily autonomy.

I’ll end this blog post here.