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Posts Tagged ‘body image’

The line from this week’s reading that most resonates with me when thinking about why Superman is so american is: “Superman raises the American immigrant experience to the level of religious myth. And why not? He’s not just some immigrant from across the waters like all out ancestors, but a real alien, an extraterrestrial, a visitor from heaven if you will” (Gary Engle). For me, Superman is seen as so American because of the internal struggle he has to deal with as an immigrant. Similar to Superman, I have had the privilege of being part of two cultures that have come to shape my identity of who I am today (Krypton is way different than India). Superman grew up on a farm in Smallville and eventually moves into the city. His life is full of contradictions and is constantly living a double life. He is American because he firmly believes in doing the right thing, but has to lie in order to conceal his identity. He stands for social justice, but does not mind bending a few rules. Superman is someone who is the perfect example of who would be considered the perfect human (physically, socially, and values he stands by)…but he is not human at all! Our guest speaker hit the nail on the head when he said, “Superman is so American because his story is all about aspiration”. An illegal immigrant who grew up on a farm and represents ideal human characteristics that we all should aspire towards is what makes Superman so darned American.

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Barbie and Body Image

Image

 

I wanted to use the above picture to jump back to the discussion we had in class on Tuesday about Barbie’s role in the negative body image of some women. This picture shows just how unrealistic Barbie’s body really is by showing us what a real woman would look like with the proportions of Barbie. However, I think it is agreeable to say that Barbie’s body isn’t realistic. There is less agreement on Barbie’s role in the self-esteem problems of women with a negative body image.

Some will argue that Barbie is the creator of this negative body image, because society has accepted her image as the standard by which to judge other women. This holds some traction, but I believe it is all too convenient to push the blame to Barbie when most blame can be cast on a much larger entity.

My take on Barbie is that she is simply reinforcing the norm which was created by something much bigger than a doll. I believe that our consumer culture likely plays a large role in driving this unrealistic standard for a woman’s body.  We live in a society where everyone is always trying to sell themselves and show themselves to be valuable. I think that in a culture like this it is possible that some women can feel pressure to constantly strive for a unique body image in an effort to set themselves apart from the pack. This can lead to a more and more unrealistic societal standard for what a woman should look like.

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Barbie = Perfection?

I chose this photo because while I was searching for a good alternative image of Barbie, everything I kept coming up with had to do with ‘being perfect’ by being similar to Barbie. We discussed Barbie’s role in eating disorders and in low self-esteem among young women, but I think her “perfection” leads to girls thinking about more than their waist or bust measurement.

During my search, I came upon a rather upsetting post on jezebel – it’s not for the faint of heart: there has been an increasing number of american young women who choose to get labiaplasty in order to achieve “The Barbie.” “The Barbie” is basically when a woman’s genitals resemble Barbie’s – ‘smooth,’ ‘neat and tidy,’ ‘petite,’ ‘comfortable,’ ‘clean,’ and ‘athletic’ are some of the words used by male plastic surgeons [who perform the procedure] to describe the total removal of the labia minora. http://jezebel.com/5977025/unhappy-with-your-gross-vagina-why-not-try-the-barbie

How the hell is “The Barbie” athletic? or ‘clean’? Is that implying that any other, more natural look is unclean?
This procedure has become popular as a result of the availability of porn nowadays as well, but whether through Barbie or other vehicles, this unhealthy ideal of how female genitalia should look reminds me of that twilight zone episode where every person at a certain age went through a plastic surgery procedure that made them “beautiful” and exactly the same as everyone else.

After mentioning that twilight zone episode, these two people seem appropriate to include in this blog post: it appears that Human Ken isn’t all that into Human Barbie.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/human-ken-doll-not-interested-human-barbie-doll_n_2058025.html#slide=896389

Lastly, I wanted to include this girl’s project for demonstrating how unrealistic – and even a bit frightening – Barbie’s proportions are:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/galia-slayen/the-scary-reality-of-a-re_b_845239.html

And quotes from the article:
– If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe.

– At 5’9″ tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.

-If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

-Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

 

I love a severely underweight woman who can’t walk upright because her boobs are too big and her feet are too small. It’s just so sexy.

 

Considering the quote we discussed in class, “She was the ideal of post war feminine beauty” it all becomes rather twisted and dystopic to me – more than 50 years after Barbie  debuted, young women are getting surgery to saw off part of their genitals to replicate the appearance of a doll that has no genitals?! Women still feel pressure to resemble an ideal [one that was manifested in Barbie but clearly has been around since before she was designed] that is impossible to mimic without plastic surgery – to the point that more and more women are getting plastic surgery. Maybe all women aren’t getting the entire Barbie package like the woman and man in the post I linked, but the number of American women each year that get breast augmentation and “The Barbie” labiaplasty is still ridiculously high.

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