Friday, November 16, 2012

Living in a Barbie World

I didn't want to think about the woman whose life goal is to be a human Barbie. When a Facebook friend posted a link about this creature earlier this week, I learned that [name redacted]  devotes long hours and copious amounts of energy into making herself resemble the plastic doll. She's being discussed on the internet this week because of a newly released photo shoot and interview with V Magazine. I won't post her pictures here because they are too disturbing. I looked at them against my better judgment. Seriously, I wish I could unsee that shit. Instead, let's have a picture of my Malibu Barbie from the 70s, dressed in the lovely dress I knitted for her when I was 10.
Malibu B. sure is a woman on the go, walking across my windowsill. She is cute, and fun to dress, but I wouldn't want to turn myself into her. Because, she is, you know, plastic. And can't walk by herself. Or wear flats. Or talk.

The Barbie-emulating woman, I learned from the interview, which I read even though I don't want to think about her, practices astral body projection or some shit. This is a telling detail. After all the energy expended into torturing her physical body, she wants to get out of it.

Once, in college, I was having a conversation at a bar with a guy I worked with on the school newspaper. Giving my thigh a squeeze, he said, "For all of your feminist rhetoric, you really are just a Barbie doll of a girl." It was a confusing moment. I didn't know how to handle this insult wrapped in a compliment wrapped in an insult. On the one hand, I had been attracted to this guy for years and was thrilled that he finally seemed to be reciprocating. On the other hand, "staunch feminist" was a core part of my identity, so his words made me furious. Especially this one: "just." "JUST a Barbie doll of a girl." Nothing much of consequence. You know, I might say I had all these opinions, but the physical evidence was to the contrary. I wish I could tell you that I decimated him with my rhetorical skills before throwing a drink in his face and stalking out.

No, I did not leave. Or argue. Not at all. I can still conjure my 21-year-old self in that bar: the darkness of the room, the lateness of the hour, my black tights and Esprit mini, my soul sliding out of my ass. I don't want to think about that any more than I want to think about the lady in V Magazine. Instead, let's regard B. in some 1970s issue mismatched hostess pajamas. She looks like an extra from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.