The Internet is awash with controversy over whether a Ukrainian woman is a “natural” Barbie look-a-like.
Did she have plastic surgery or didn’t she?
Uh, who cares?
The more interesting question is why she wants to emulate an inanimate object — a plastic child’s toy?
To attract men? But, do little boys really grow up fantasizing about dating a woman who looks like Barbie? Little girls are the primary consumers of Barbie.
This woman does look like Barbie, but so does Hugh Hefner’s Harem of Barbies. At least these ex-girlfriends of that old porn codger have expressions and move like humans.
Frankly, I’m not sure I’m convinced that some jokester isn’t taking photos of a real Barbie doll in her Dream House and photoshopping backgrounds to make her look human-sized. Take that stupid blogosphere!
Let’s say this is, in fact, a real woman who is pretending to be Barbie. WHY?
Well, I’ve been having some feelings lately. You know those pesky annoyances that make men roll their eyes when you try to express them. Or even how annoyed you become when you’re pre-menstrual and you start to cry and keep crying throughout the day and you don’t even know why? Feelings are a real pain in the ass sometimes. Or when you get all irritated that your kids keep talking to you when you’re trying to do something and you really, really want to be the good mom who cares, but you also want them to shut up and quit whining and this makes you feel both irritated and guilty. Or that feeling when you really, really liked a guy and he never called and you wonder what you did wrong and you regret having any feelings about it, feeling weak or stupid for getting invested? Stupid feelings.
You know who doesn’t have feelings? Plastic toys. Barbie. She always has the same pursed lips and blank wide eyes, well, until a dog uses her face for a chew toy. She never has to worry about crying and ruining her mascara, she never has to worry about whether the guy is going to call after he rubs himself on her plastic androgynous groin, hoping not to pop off a leg at the swivel joint.
It’s probably very emotionally convenient to be a plastic doll.
And she’s not the only one. This is some big trend among girls on YouTube, imitating Barbie.
You know what this reminds me of? So Sexy So Soon, a fantastic book that came out in 2008. It was revolutionary in that it very effectively exposed out how advertisers and marketers use children’s sexuality and how, in fact, our sexuality becomes connected to and intertwined with objects they want to sell. They use all sorts of trickery to make us believe clothing, toys, sunglasses, purses and shoes or beer, tires, razors and tools are really sexy.
Evolutionarily, without these weird messages, humans are programed to believe that other humans are sexy. Weird, right? Humans hot for humans. Revolutionary!
Sexualization of objects appears to have been so effective that this woman believes she’s sexier as a plastic object than she is as a human. It’s the opposite of personification of objects. It’s plastification of humans. Hot.
Being human is so 20th Century.
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Last week Lea Michele, the lead actress and head Gleek on the hit television show Glee, was shot in a spread for GQ Magazine in poses intentionally looking like a hyper-sexual little girl. The lollipop, the school girl attire, common props for “little girl” fantasies in porn.
This week, Lea Michele, is making her debut in a virtual duet of These Are a Few of My Favorite Things with Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music for none other than Dove’s, the mother of Campaign for Real Beauty. A marketing campaign I have been publicly supportive of.
Dove, the body care company who’s marketing campaign has largely been built on images of real, imperfect women in their underwear and educating about the early beauty pressure and sexualization of girls in marketing through viral videos like Under Pressure.
As a woman, how is this supposed to fit neatly and congruently in my head? As a mother, how am I to trust that Dove cares about the Onslaught (another viral marketing video of Dove’s) of highly-sexualized and objectified marketing women and girls face?
When faced with images of your spokesperson looking like this?
This year I looked at the same photograph and I thought, What is it, really that bothers me about this photograph?
Would I let my 9-year-old daughter Ainsley wear this dress?
Yes, it has sleeves. The skirt comes down to mid-thigh and there is no dramatic cleavage. This dress meets all the house rules about dresses.
The same is true for this dress.
And this one. A modest pink striped dress with cute belt.
This one has a bare midriff. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let her wear this type of skirt, but she would have to find another Pirate top. House rules.
Would I let her wear these leggings and shoes?
Well, I probably wouldn’t let her wear the blue thigh tights unless they went all the way up. But bare legs with combat boots – sure. Black tights or leggings? She wears them practically every day.
Is it the accessories then?
Pink handcuff bracelets? Yeah, I think I’d let her wear them. She wears jewelry and the kids had two weeks recently of being obsessed with a pair of handcuffs left over by a neighbor kid. And they DO make those in pink, our old town had a lady cop who carried pink handcuffs.
Is it the hair and make-up?
No, my daughter can wear her hair in all of those ways, down and with ponytails. She can wear hats. I don’t like that choker on the maid, but, I might let it slide for Halloween or know that it will be annoying and she’ll take if off. And make-up. It’s Halloween and its the one time a year she gets to wear make-up out of the house, I wouldn’t deny her that.
What is left? The girls. Little girls playing dress-up. Is that what is sexualized?
But there’s one other thing in this photograph that we’re missing when we look at it.
It’s the lens through which we’re looking. In all forms of art and communication the receiver of information interprets and applies what they know from previous experiences and previous imagery to what they are seeing. They use that knowledge to make a judgement.
Our lens in America has changed drastically from when we were growing up and wearing similar costumes.
Women dress up like little girls in similar costumes in pornography. Child pornography exists. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. If not the pornography itself, then you’ve likely seen the news reports and the talk shows about it, the cop shows, read the books or stumbled across things you wish you hadn’t seen online.
That is scary. It’s terrifying. Our culture seems to have a growing attraction to the taboo of sex with young girls. Which stems from the fact that at least 60% of the population has looked or does look at pornography of infantalized women or adultified girls.
You don’t have to “look like a slut” for people to have these images in their heads. The imagery leans toward the innocent. Innocence is the appeal, the stripping away of innocence actually.
Which has the effect that sometimes I look at my daughter in a knee socks or a plaid skirt – perfectly normal attire – and I feel a little afraid. Because I’ve seen knee socks and plaid skirts used in pornography and I don’t want my little girl connected with that. Sometimes I do a double take at her pigtails and braids – major props when infantalizing women in pornography so they look more “little girl-like.”
It feels like this is happening:
They make porn about various parts of women and girls – “sexualize” them, if you will. And then we surrender little parts of ourselves to try to avoid this kind of depravity being attached to us.
You made porn about Boobs? Okay, we’ll cover them up more.
You made porn about Booty? Okay, we’ll be more discrete about that.
There’s not a single part of a woman’s anatomy that this hasn’t happened to. Little lines we don’t cross so as not to appear too “sexualized,” so no one gets the wrong idea about us.
But, now that pornography is looking more and more childlike and media and marketing are catching that notion and using it in regular ads . . .
You made porn about Catholic School Girls . . .Okay, we’ll surrender plaid skirts, knee socks and neck ties.
You made porn about Cheerleaders . . . Okay, I won’t allow my daughter to be a cheerleader or play with pom poms.
You made porn with Pigtails and Braids . . .
You made porn with swimwear, soccer gear and stuffed animals . . .
You made porn with Halloween Costumes and Dress Up . . .
Slowly by slowly, girls and women are walking a tighter and tighter line in their dress, in their play, in their lives. (Here, I was hoping my daughter would have more freedom to be herself and express her authentic femininity than I had.)
Little by little, we’re surrendering innocent and beautiful parts of ourselves, little bits of our femininity, and handing that jurisdiction over to pornographers and marketers. . . .
Until. . .
Well, they’ll never stop taking over little pieces of femininity or little pieces of innocence. They are Takers by nature. They would love to have jurisdiction over all images of femininity and childhood for their perversions. They would love to have jurisdiction over femininity and childhood itself.
What, then, will be left of us and our little girls if we don’t stop surrendering our jurisdiction?
Have you seen the stories about the Pornification of Halloween with alarming photos of girls who, it is implied, look more like “porn fantasies” than little girls playing dress up?
I wrote one of them a few years ago.
That was before I read So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne Ed.D. which clearly explained that girls haven’t become hyper-sexualized at all. Marketers and Advertisers have hyper-sexualized girls in an attempt to exploit children’s inherent innocent sexuality for profit.
This has nothing to do with our GIRLS.
This is MARKETING and a culture that increasingly applies distorted versions of adult sexuality to young girls for it’s own sexual entertainment.
Young girls did not become sexier or more sexual – our sexual imagery in advertising, marketing and pornography from Lolita to ads for gym socks started applying adult sexuality to young girls – for kicks and profit.
Girls had nothing to do with this.
Parents had nothing to do with this.
As I look at the photos of the above costumes this year, I’m not seeing anything inappropriate. Every girl, save the pirate with a bare midriff, is fully clothed. A pirate, a jailer, a witch and a maid. All appropriate choices for Halloween. If pornography hadn’t exploited younger and younger looking girls connected with this imagery there would be no “hyper-sexuality” about them.
They are wearing make-up. It’s Halloween. The holiday calls for make-up, as much as they want to cake on. It’s fantastical dress-up for heaven’s sake.
All the hype is marketing and it further sexualizes and exploits girls.
This type of marketing and reporting is incredibly disrespectful to all girls. It’s incredibly disrespectful to parents.
If pornography weren’t increasingly taking a pedophiliac turn, the costumes of the above girls would be what they are: Little Girls Playing Dress Up.
The little girls are the truth – innocent, lovely and with an inherent right to be immune to adult perversions of their authentic sexuality. The costumes are fantastical dress up. It is the adults who apply pornographic thoughts to them. It’s unfair. It’s exploitive.
The adults looking at them are putting their own pornographic imagery on top of them and marketers not only know this, but play it up for bigger profits. This is in no way about the little girls’ sexuality. It is, instead, about the sexuality adult consumers, marketers and pornographers inappropriately and exploitively put on little girls.
The thing is . . . as parents it is not our job to go around making sure our daughters do not fit into other people’s porn fantasy. Their porn fantasy is their responsibility and we truly have no control over it. They have hyper-sexualized innocence with Catholic School Girls, Cheerleaders, Fairies and nearly every other feminine imagery that might be a source of fun and power for little girls. They will continue to do so. People who choose to sexualize children, or infantalize women, for their own sexual fantasies will apply their perverted sexuality to small children regardless of what little girls wear on Halloween, what they wear to play sports in, what they wear to school and what they wear to play in.
What are little girls REALLY wearing on Halloween?
Fantastical costumes that the holiday calls for. We owe it to girls to lay off their sexuality and stop applying adult distortions of sexuality to innocent children who have a right to be immune to it.
Did you know that Pepsi products like Amp Up are the leading cause of death in young men, causing cancer and early onset impotence?
Just trying to think up an appropriate response to their foul and disgusting new iPhone App, “Before You Score.”
The App allows men to identify the “type” of girl he’s trying to score with, keep a list of girls like the old-fashioned bed post, and share the details with friends – details like phone numbers, photos, addresses – like a digital bathroom stall wall.
I’ve gotten lots of mail about this. From mothers, from men raising daughters.
I’ve got a few ideas on what we can do to stop it, but they involve things like boycotting Pepsi products. A boycott on only Amp Up won’t really be effective – because it’s primary customer is young men.
Is it too much to expect young men themselves to be disgusted by this and stand up to Pepsi, chivalrously, on behalf of their girlfriends, wives, sisters and daughters? I sometimes get accused of hating men. I don’t.
I’m am disappointed in them for not standing up for girlfriends, wives, sisters and daughters when a company like Pepsi objectifies all women like this.
Male peer pressure is the most effective way to reduce objectification of women, violence towards women and child molestation.
My talking on this website isn’t nearly as effective.
I’m left with options like – Let’s go Mean Girl on Pepsi Co.
Twitter this and pass it around until they take the App down: Pepsi products are main cause of death and early onset impotence in young men, http://thegirlrevolution.com/man-up-and-mean-girl-on-pepsi/
Maybe some men will be persuaded to be less disappointing and stand up for the women and girls in their lives. Maybe some girls and women will demand some respect from the men in their lives.