Barbie is launching "a global initiative to inspire girls", ie they want girls to buy more Barbie stuff.
Apparently Barbie is celebrating her 125th career this month. I had no idea she had achieved so much. I am informed that her careers span the gamut from astronaut to president. New careers are pizza chef, snowboarder and ballroom dancer. I guess she needs to do jobs which allow for the most accessories possible. In addition Barbie has named her nine most inspiring career women of the moment. They include the editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, a fashion blogger, a fashion designer and, inevitably, a snowboarder.
This all appears to be part of the Barbie attempt to model herself as the "modern woman" – powerful, dynamic and of the moment. But let’s not forget that attempts to remodel Barbie are just one big marketing ploy to get you to buy all the accessories that go with her various guises. Her main purpose is to get you to buy more Barbie stuff and more Barbies. It is all so much more blatant and in your face than it used to be.
I remember my daughter being given a "library" of Barbie books. In fact, they were more like catalogues. On every page Barbie was selling some sort of accessory or matching hat and shoe combination. She’s not the only one at it. Bratz must be worse. They spend their entire life at the mall. Where is ecological Barbie when you need her? Barbie needs to be rebranded for the climate change era. She needs to shop less and do other more interesting stuff. This goes for all her Barbie imitators out there – the D List celebs who have got the shopping message, but have failed to imbibe the whole astronaut/president achiever thing. In fact, post Sex and the City, it is now de rigueur for all women to have shopping as their number one activity, particularly shopping for shoes and paying a small fortune for a bag. Anyone who doesn’t consider these things important – and even the formerly leftwing Guardian now devotes pages of features to shopping features for women – is just a joyless harridan or denying their true calling. I admit that I had a Barbie doll when I was little, before she developed her accessories habit. I used her to reenact family dilemmas, though. I did not aspire to be her.
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