August 28, 2010

Step Aside Princesses, Here Come the Bommerang Book Throwing Brontë Sisters

This kick-ass fake commercial for “Super X-treme Mega History Heroes” latest set of powerhouse action dolls brings us the Bronte sisters, Victorian authors ready to do some damage to get their books into print at a time when women were rarely, if ever, published.

The Bronte’s pretend to be men by sporting fake “super-disguise mustaches,” use their boomerang book throwing capabilities to take down the “sexist pig” publisher and use their extraordinary feminist vision to break gender barriers.

The commercial ends with “remember kids, use your brain and you could make history!”

Isn’t that a fabulous alternative to the pink think of gender socialization that focuses on the  narcissistic world of the princess?

August 13, 2010

Feminist Mother Goose + AAUW + Bikini Kill + Feminism at Camp= Cleo

Filed under: Featured Feminist — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 5:08 am

Jill be nimble, Jill be quick

If Jack can do it, so can you.

The book of Feminist Revised Mother Goose Rhymes was Cleo’s first introduction to feminism.

She was 6.

After being repeatedly bullied by boys at her school, Cleo’s mother went to LAUSD‘s Gender Equity Commission for help. The GEC’s director, a tiny woman “who took no shit,” stepped in. She was the type of woman who didn’t ask, she told people how it was going to go and became Cleo’s first feminist mentor. She gave Cleo her first public speaking gig at a panel for what she later learned was a published study on girls, what we know as How Schools Short Change Girls.

While that was her last formal brush with feminism, this impressive early introduction is rare and, without a doubt, played a pivotal role in Cleo’s development as a girl and her later identification as  a feminist. Early introductions to feminism, not just diluted versions such as donning t-shirts emblazoned with the marketing slogan “Girls Rock,” are not usual among young people. That’s why self-identified feminist Ruby, the 7 year-old featured on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party, and Cleo are such extraordinary stories. In my line of work as a Women’s Studies professor at a community college, I find that most young women and men come to feminism after there is much to repair.

Cleo answers the question, “what if young girls were given women’s history and a feminist sensibility early in life?”

June 20, 2010

Doll parts: Barbie, beauty and resistance

Barbie is a cultural icon. With her long, silky, blonde hair, perky breasts, cinched waist and mile-high legs Barbie represents mainstream definitions of physical perfection, the paragon of beauty and ideal femininity. Her shiny pink corvette, swanky townhouse, and oodles and oodles of perfectly accessorized outfits indicate her success within the consumer culture machine. Collectively, her physical and material assets (Eurocentric beauty, white-skin and class privilege rolled up into one statuesque doll), represent the collective dream spun by post-WWII advertisers and reinforced by the culture at large.

For more than 50 years, she has not waned in popularity (gained a pound, developed a wrinkle or gray hair) even in the face of mounting criticism.

Despite some of the negative headlines Barbie is still a hit with girls across America and the world.

More than one billion dolls have been sold since her inception, and according to the dolls makers, Mattel, 90% of American girls aged between three and 10 own at least one.

While Barbie is a manufactured fantasy, she remains an emblem of idealized femininity and a key element of gender socialization.

Barbie fan Danielle Scott, 16, said: “Playing with the hair, the brushes, switching outfits. It really just made girls be girls.

“All the characteristics of what to look forward to and what girls really could do…” she said.

While it is true that Barbie has had approximately 125 jobs over the last half-century (jobs that presumably allowed her to purchase her multiple homes, extensive wardrobe etc. etc)., Barbie is not famous for her resume. She is most well-known for her flawless figure and coveted beauty.

She is a beauty icon.

(more…)

March 8, 2010

Eve Ensler on girlhood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 10:59 am

Thanks to Nita for sharing this with me.

September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin and Barbie

Suzi Parker at Alternet offered an explanation for the supposed increase in support among women for Sarah Palin.

“Sarah, as she’s called by her female fans, is a 21st century walking, talking, breathing brunette Barbie. Women long to be her friend and have her as a confidante — the very role Barbie played during childhood. Naturally, women won’t admit that Sarah is like Barbie because to do so seems unsupportively shallow and well, sexist, toward the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket.”

Read the full article here.