A Different Look at Barbie by Meghan Morgan

A Girls in the Game staff member came across this video last week and forwarded it along to a few of us. Check it out.

http://www.barbie.com/en-us/promotions/youcanbeanything

The general reaction was, “Wow, that’s a cool video. Too bad it’s for Barbie.”

Poor Barbie.

Sure, she’s got completely unrealistic proportions that may give young girls the wrong ideas about body image. You may also frown upon her lifestyle of excess, with her fancy Dreamhouse and multiple sports cars, always heading off to the beach or shopping with friends. But there’s more to Barbie than meets the eye.

3032172-slide-s-1-barbieentrebillboardv3I’ll admit, I don’t stay too current on the latest Barbie news but I took a few minutes to visit the Barbie website and browsed through the different dolls for sale. Sure, there were a lot of Fashionista Barbies but there were also multiple Eye Doctor Barbies, a Film Director Barbie, a Scientist Barbie and a Chef Barbie. So if Mattel is trying to send the message that Barbie can be anything she wants to be, they’re backing that up with their product offerings.

It made me take a second look at how easily my co-workers and I dismissed the well-done video that sends a great message to young girls, simply because it came from Barbie. Were we being prejudicial toward Barbie simply because of her body type and tendencies toward fashion and excess? Was that fair?

At Girls in the Game, we teach girls about diversity. We lead activities that celebrate both similarities and differences and help the girls explore what makes them unique and special. We talk about acceptance and supporting each other. I like to think that we practice those same lessons in our own workplace. Every single person on the Girls in the Game team works hard and contributes something valuable and significant to the work we do and we strive to create a culture of respect and cooperation.

I hope this message that we teach and practice stays with the girls in our programs. I hope they grow up to be the kind of women that support other women. I hope their time with Girls in the Game teaches them that women are stronger together and that it’s always better to lift somebody up rather than tear them down.

Keeping this in mind, I think it’s only fair to give Barbie that same respect and acknowledge the strong message her video sends. So if you haven’t yet, take a minute to watch the video and appreciate the message it sends to young girls – that they can be whatever they want to be and their only limit is their own imagination. And the right shoes. Just kidding.

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