Do we still aspire to Barbie? To be blonde, svelte, perfect, with a tall dark man with thick hair and a perfectly muscled body by our side? Barbie manufacturers have come up with revised versions of the original Barbie, that more accurately reflect the current reality of most women’s lives. Barbie can now be found in various sizes, shapes and ethnicities, and wearing business attire.
I say they haven’t gone far enough. How about PMS Barbie – Barbie with her hormones run amok? Or Bleary-Eyed Barbie – at six in the morning after a night on the town. Or how about Erotically Challenged Barbie – just not interested anymore. Or her alterego, Nympho Barbie. Then of course, there’s Self-Validated Barbie, who doesn’t need a man to feel good about herself.
Do little boys aspire to G.I. Joe? Personally, I think perfect-looking men are boring as hell. Why a kid would want to play with a Hollywood-handsome action hero is beyond me. I think GI Joe should have a beer belly or a few long hairs flung over his balding scalp (not that I find either of these attributes particularly alluring, but at least they're real).
Of course, little boys don’t tend to obsess about how their hair compares to Aqua-Man’s, or care if their ass is bigger than Superman’s. But still, I would think that a chubby pre-pubescent boy with braces and glasses would feel some sense of inferiority when faced with the physical perfection of Batman. Even his sidekick is good-looking in a vanilla-Republican kind of way.
As far as inanimate role-models go, the glorious imperfections of a Barbie with a crooked nose and a bit of cellulite co-habiting with a bald Ken sporting a few acne scars would certainly be a refreshing sight. They could be marketed as “Reality Barbie and Ken,” and have their own show on NBC. I wonder what their ratings would be like.