In which, again, I find Barbie annoying

Just rambling over here.  Feel free to skip this post if you don’t like first-world-problem frustration.

So I’m late to the Barbie-has-a-new-body party, okay.  I think it’s nice that they’re making ‘curvy’ Barbies, so that little girls can see it’s all right to have a body that hasn’t been photo-shopped within an inch of its life.  (Not that the rather sweet Lammily dolls haven’t beaten them to it.) I think it’s nice that they’re making ‘petite’ Barbies for everyone who hasn’t got a snowflake’s at Mustafar of being a supermodel, heightwise. (But for pity’s sake, isn’t that what the Skipper dolls are for?)  I even think it’s nice that they’re making the normal Barbies still.

But Mattel, please, what were you thinking when you introduced ‘tall’ Barbie?

Barbie is already tall.  I mean, we’ve all heard all the naysayers burbling on about how she’d be six feet tall with a six-inch neck and unable to perform certain ladylike functions… fact is, she’s a tall, willowy, supermodel doll, and has been since day one.

But now we have tall Barbie.  AKA can’t-date-average-height-Ken Barbie.  AKA can’t-wear-heels Barbie.  AKA what’s-a-maxi-dress Barbie.

We don’t have ‘statuesque Barbie.’  We have ‘tall Barbie’, telling it like it is.

On the other hand, we don’t have ‘fat Barbie’ and ‘short Barbie’.  Reflection of modern society.  It’s ‘rude’ to tell people they’re short or fat, so Mattel camouflages it with euphemisms.

For some reason it doesn’t go both ways.  People think it’s okay to say ‘wow, you’re tall.’

Me, I’m tall.  I’m well over the average height for women in this country, or England, or America, and pushing average-male-height.  My parents are tall.  My siblings are tall. Most of my uncles and aunts are tall.  My cousins are tall.  There is exactly nothing any of us can do to be less tall.  Every time I meet someone new in a social setting, I count down in my head, and usually get the timing perfect: “Hi, nice to meet you”… 3, 2, 1… “wow, you’re tall.”  Bingo.

Some of my acquaintances are short.  Very short.  There is exactly nothing they can do to be less short, except maybe wear high heels.  Nobody says a word.

Does this strike anyone but me as a double standard?

Tall kids have grownups say to them ‘haven’t you grown, aren’t you tall?’  The kids are forbidden to say ‘haven’t you shrunk, aren’t you short?”  Why? Anybody is allowed to make personal remarks on something tall people cannot change about themselves.  Nobody is allowed to make personal remarks on something short people can’t change about themselves either.  I’m, as a tall person, spend every day being polite.  You, short grownup, do not, but nobody thinks you’re being rude.

If your friend is looking unusually svelte, it’s considered acceptable to say ‘you look amazing and slim, have you lost weight?’  If your friend is looking unusually stout, it’s not considered acceptable to say ‘you look amazing and plump, have you gained weight?’ Why?

I’m not trying to make a point as such here, and this post doesn’t end in any profoundly deep thoughts about the nature of appearance versus reality, or body-image issues raised by Barbie, or feminism, or any nonsense like that.  I’ve got better things to do, and so have you.  I was just noticing.  Writers do that.

Now turn the page, there’s some interesting stuff about moonlight over there.

Thanks for reading.


About coruscantbookshelf

"A writer is an introvert: someone who wants to tell you a story but doesn't want to have to make eye contact while doing it." - Adapted from John Green
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5 Responses to In which, again, I find Barbie annoying

  1. YES. I’m really tall and slim (5’11) and people are always shocked because I’m taller than them, especially if they normally see me sitting down. My measurements are almost exactly the “normal” size sixteen for Butterick and Simplicity (not a modified size). I fit the standard size sixteen–those are designed for models! Except I always have to take it in at the waist, for some reason, and once or twice I’ve made a dress where the shoulders don’t fit right and I still can’t figure out how to fix it, unless I take the neckline in. I don’t know. Maybe I just have a slightly longer torso than is normal and I have to take it in because otherwise the waist is too high? Iris is shorter and curvier. Yet, ironically, we keep hearing “Are you two sisters?” We both have brown hair and brown eyes. Other than that, we don’t even look alike. My hair is curly, even, while hers is straight (though her mother and siblings have curly hair, so that’s a moot point, really.)


    • Can I just say again how glad I am that Lannis doesn’t seem to be as tall as you are?
      And yes! to fitting patterns. Except I usually end up keeping the ‘fit’ parts of the pattern and radically altering the decorative parts to make it look like I want.


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