Barbie Loves MAC…and she lived in sin for 43 years


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At 47 years old she has worked with over 50 leading designers and has one of the most recognisable faces in the world. And now the 11-inch fashion icon has branched out into beauty with what is set to be the most collectable make-up range of the season. So collectable in fact, that patrons are forbidden from buying more than one of any product.

“Many women’s first experiences with fashion and beauty were playing with Barbie. Today this fantasy continues with Barbie Loves MAC, a color collection that allows women to rediscover their inner girl,”-Richard Dickson, senior vice president of Marketing, Media and Entertainment, Worldwide, Mattel.

There is even a new limited edition MAC Barbie.

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I would like to hereby and for the first time use my position as a blogger to defend this collection against criticism like this;

…MAC has turned to Barbie as the new face of beauty. …Barbie is a plastic mock-up of an unattainable female form. The models in the new Barbie Loves MAC ad campaign are styled to look like dolls; their facial expressions are vacant and frankly, a little frightening… Barbie Loves MAC rests on a more retro notion of women as empty silicone shells. I want to think that this line will fail because young women will be smarter than that, because we will resist the urge to be a plastic head, because we have lost the desire to idealize impossible breasts and feet that only fit in stiletto heels, but I don’t think that’s true. Instead, I think the people at MAC are on to something. I’m just disappointed that this is what’s being pitched to young women right now, particularly since I know that MAC…can do better.

 -Susan Wagner, a blogger at BlogHER.org: http://blogher.org/node/16124

First, I must defend the woman herself.

Barbie as an icon has become synonymous with the mental image of a pony-tailed valley girl carrying her intestines around in her blood-stained Louis Vuitton (although this image has been altered further of late, with the realisation that impossibly small feet would also have real-life Barbie crawling around on all fours). While I fully understand the reservations people may have about fostering such an unrealistic view of the female form from a young age, I maintain that toys are the one place where unachievable chest measurements should be condoned.  

Children are not idiots. They know that a doll is a doll just like a toy airplane is a toy airplane. And when a little boy finds himself to be an adult with neither the aptitude nor the desire to be a professional pilot, it hardly comes as a shock. Women aren’t expected to be dolls. Whether or not we can connect the OC to bulimia nervosa, a Barbie with a day wardrobe consisting of six ball gowns and scuba suit isn’t a role model for the modern girl.

If scaled into real life proportions, Barbie would be 5 feet, 9 inches,  measuring 36-18-33. According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the requisite 17 to 22 percent of body fat required to menstruate. So what? A Cabbage patch doll would weigh 960lbs and have a head 54 inches in circumference.

I resent the idea that people like myself who grew up playing with Barbies become shallow or image-obsessed women with heads as hollow as the ones we prised curiously off the doll’s body so many times in the course of play…

And now, without further ado;

Five reasons why Barbie is fabulous:

1-She’s been dressed by the likes of Zac Posen, Versace, Byron Lars, Bob Mackie, Diane von Furstenberg, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera and Armani.

2-She was inspired by/developed as a blatant rip off of (depending on where you‘re getting your information from… ) a saucy 1950s German cartoon character called Bild Lilli, who was, by all accounts, even more fabulous than Babs herself. Lilli was post-war, sassy and ambitious. Cartoons showed Lilli clubbing ’til dawn, obsessing over fashion and using men for money (“I could do without balding old men but my budget couldn’t!”).

The sultry European bombshell was later developed into a suspiciously Barbie-esque doll marketed mostly to men in bars and tobacco shops.

3-She’s been living in sin-Barbie and Ken never actually made it to the alter. Granted, they’d already been going out for 4 years before Ken finally got bendable legs, but a 43 year-old relationship with an incredibly hot blonde ex-gymnast has to have called for sexual corruption of some sort.

4-She’s done it all; she was a presidential candidate in the 1991 elections and she’s been an astronaut three separate times

5-She threw Ken out on his ear.

Can’t say I was surprised when Barbie announced the break-up of this iconic relationship in 2004. Although, I don’t believe the gay rumours for a minute. Apparently caused by the “toll of the fourth movie” they starred in together, the split, coupled with Ken’s obsession with facial hair and penchant for a good highlight job caused many an eyebrow to be raised (along with the hopes of many a Max Steel action figure).

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I’m just gonna up and say it; Ken was never good enough for her, he couldn’t give her what she needed (like hundreds of “Blushing Bride” models weren‘t hinting at something ) and he’s well, kind of, her brother. (Barbie and Ken are named after Barbara and Keneth Handler, daughter and son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot. )

More on the speculated terms of the break-up can be found here; Ken’s statement suggests he wanted to “stay friends”.

and…

Metro or just plain Hetro; this CNN television report sparks rumour of Ken’s fashionable attempt to win Barbie back;

 

And now to defend the Barbie Loves MAC collection; it’s brash and vibrant,  inspiring and most importantly, extreme. The collection as the artists apply it will never transfer in its current state to the street. And young impressionable girls usually don’t like to spend €20 on lipstick, especially one that will poison their minds and rape them of their soul.

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