The Barbie World vs. The Real World

“I’m a Barbie girl in the Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation.” These are lyrics from Aqua’s song, Barbie Girl, which is a song that talks about a Barbie lifestyle in a world of Barbie. Many people have heard this song play at least once on the radio, in the mall, or in a store and they cannot help but sing along. While this is a very catchy song, I wonder if people not only sing along, but also play along in life?

In America today, image is one of the most important factors of one’s overall self. In the 2006 Consumer Perception Survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, researchers found that 83% of people believe that one’s appearance weighs heavily on success in the professional aspect of life. A decent overall appearance may be important for certain parts of life, but this is not a main objective of life. A high priority of life for everyone should be to want everlasting happiness and, in discovering this, one’s physical appearance is unimportant. There are many external factors that tell us what we should look like, such as magazines, television, music, and lastly, Barbie dolls. What would a woman’s idea of personal appearance be if Barbie had never been invented?

In life, most young girls are introduced to Barbie at a very young age because their mothers played with Barbie dolls and their mothers played with Barbie dolls. Through these generations, ideas formed in these young girls’ heads. They think to themselves, since everyone loves Barbie, I need to look like Barbie and everyone will love me. With this in their mind, girls try to act and look like Barbie and the trend continues as they turn into women. Therefore, these women have children who see their mother with this goal to look like Barbie, so they form the same goal. This cycle just goes on and on like a merry-go-round. Day after day, we put on our make-up, do our hair, get dressed in cute clothes, and make sure we look alright as a whole before we leave the house. While this routine is perfectly normal, it is very likely too much time is spent putting on make-up and fixing our hair. We do all of this to be appealing to the eye, to please other people. If we had the option to stay in bed for an extra hour or so, most women would definitely agree to do that instead of waking up early to get ready. So why do we do it? What is so important about putting on mascara, lipstick, and putting curlers in our hair? We do it for everyone else, not for ourselves. We saw our older generations do it, so we follow the trend. Instead of staying nestled in our warm, cozy beds, we wake up way too early and waste too much time attempting to look good for other people. Barbie is this idealistic figure most women try to become because they think this what people want to see.

Tom Forsythe, a photographer, realized the idea of women becoming Barbie for people today and decided to capture this idea in a picture. He wanted to show how others view women in the world today. What better way to do this than with Barbie dolls and kitchen appliances, right? Even though the two do not flow as well at first, after a glimpse of a picture, it all makes sense. By placing these Barbie dolls in appliances, Forsythe was blending up the image Barbie holds for women. Forsythe’s idea of ridding this idea runs parallel to Kristen Wiig’s, a comedian mostly known for skits on Saturday Night Live, style of comedy. While Wiig, of course, wants to be appealing to others, it is not her appearance she cares about, it is her comedy. She wants others to enjoy her comedy and she will basically do anything to be funny. In most of her skits, she plays either an ugly or weird person and people love her. She is a very attractive woman, but when it comes to comedy, it is almost as if she wants to take the focus off of her beauty and onto her comedy by making herself less attractive. This is why people enjoy her. She is real. Kristen Wiig is not plastic. This is who young girls should want to be like, not a plastic figure in a cardboard box. A young girl’s role model should not be picked on the size of someone’s waist or how long her hair is, but on more important aspects of a person such as charisma or personality. These aspects of a person are what attract people.

On YouTube, a major trend, video tutorials, is catching on. People will post a video on something that others may want to learn how to do and by doing this, others are able to learn. Jenna Marbles, a widely known online blogger posted a video on “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Really Good Looking” and it hit success overnight. Although, this video has a major undertone of sarcasm, people like seeing this. Michelle Phan posted a “Barbie Tutorial” and covered everything from make-up to hair to transform one’s self into Barbie. Opposing Marbles, Phan was being completely serious in her video tutorial. After people watch videos like this, they try all of the tips they just learned and see what happens. Some, of course, change their mind, but others take it a little too far. For example, Valeria Lukyanova, a Ukrainian twenty-one-year-old woman, who claims she is all natural, is a real-life Barbie. However, she has most likely gone under plastic surgeries totaling up to hundreds of thousands of dollars according to plastic surgeons, she claims she has naturally been given the body of Barbie. As this approaches in the portfolio, I will let the reader decide whose side he or she would like to take in this debate.

For people who play along as if they live some lifestyle of a Barbie doll, it is obvious they are not actually living. True happiness will never be obtained if one is living for someone else’s satisfaction. Trying to please others will end in success for no one, so the important goal in life is to be happy for one’s self. My IRE was probably the hardest part of the portfolio to write because I was trying to narrow everything into one, which was difficult, but I had fun in doing it. My Wild Card was my favorite because I was able to do one of my favorite procrastination activities, watch YouTube videos while in search for videos for my video essay. In doing this portfolio, I have learned so much not only as a writer, but also about myself. When I was in high school, I dressed up, did my make-up and hair, and aimed to have a good overall appearance every day for school. Transitioning into college, I promised myself I would stick to this. However, I currently find myself writing this with my hair in a ponytail, no make-up on, and wearing a t-shirt and gym shorts. Did I forget to mention that today I had class, a review session, and I walked all around campus with this appearance? Maybe I just have different priorities now and I treasure my sleep and studying time or maybe I simply realized that trying to look like a Barbie doll to impress others is not the most important thing in life. My main goal is to be happy and spread this happiness to others around me by simply being myself. The clothes I am wearing are of no importance when I am spreading joy to someone when they need it the most. “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world?” No. I am a real girl in a real world and I enjoy it being that way.

Works Cited

“Aqua – Barbie Girl.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 Aug. 2010. Web. 01 May 2012.

“Statistics of Appearance.” Plasmetic. 28 Sept. 2006. Web. 01 May 2012.


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