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Barbie: A Mirror of Women's Adoration and Ambivalence

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

by JOHANNA BOLANOS

The question of Barbie's resurgence crossed my mind as the movie teasers started appearing across social media last December. After the world quite literally turned pink, I felt it was safe to assume that the general consensus more than approved a Barbie renaissance. With the impending release having caused an uproar of Barbie mania, I wondered if her controversies were being swept under the rug.

Barbie was larger than life when I was a little girl. I can't look back on my childhood without recognizing the effect she had on my upbringing. I wanted her. Sometimes it felt like I needed her. While the accusation that Barbie formed unhealthy body expectations was true for in my case, she also provided an inner drive to be unapologetically, myself. If Barbie can be whoever and dress however, then so can I. Only one other type of woman has a shared understanding of encountering these divisive viewpoints. So, when I was sent an Instagram post from the page @HistoryPhotographed, revealing Lili, Barbie’s call girl character predecessor it helped me understand why we love and persecute Barbie. It was an ah-ha moment when I realized her prestige was held to a similar regard to a particular taboo community known none other than sex workers. It was through all the contentions about her that I realized, Barbie is the embodiment of everything women love and disdain about our own sexuality concomitantly.

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