Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

We've come a long way, maybe

Oh, my, it seems that I’ve been away from my blog for a while again. I really do have so many cosmic matters of consequence whirling around in my head (whirled musings, indeed!), but at the moment I have more mundane matters to take care of. I just can’t concentrate on the cosmic stuff today. Still, in the interests of keeping the Musings current, I feel compelled to blog, even if it is a slight departure from my usual subject matter.*

Bling head
For years now, feminists and others have criticized the Barbie ™ doll for promoting an unrealistic and unattainable standard of female beauty. Barbie’s body in particular has come under fire; her exaggerated proportions have been relentlessly scrutinized, analyzed and criticized. An article on Canada's Media Awareness Network web site entitled "
Beauty and Body Image in the Media" reported, "Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions…found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition."

In response to years of criticism, Mattel went back to the lab and created a slightly more realistically proportioned doll (liver and bowels not included), but "the present Barbie doll body is still uncharacteristic of most women," according to the Barbie entry in Wikipedia. So little girls still have that Barbie-body ideal hanging over them, whether or not they are conscious of it.

But there are clear signs that values are evolving. I just haven’t been paying attention. Maybe that’s because I don't have children and rarely shop in toy stores. I do look at ads, though, and just yesterday, when I was going through the Sunday ads, an item in the Toys-R-Us circular caught my eye. It was the My Scene Bling Bling Barbie Head. Here we have Barbie without the body, but with a boatload of faux jewels and other accessories that little girls can wear and share. And in a nod (so to speak) to diversity, there’s also "Madison," a Bling Head of Color.

"Now, that’s progress," I thought. At last little girls can be liberated from the tyranny of the Barbie body, and they can finally learn to accept that it’s not your body that really counts in this life – it’s your jewelry. It’s just too bad I don’t like jewelry. Oh, well. For those who prefer an entire doll, there's also the My Scene My Bling Bling Real Gem Doll, which includes two real diamond rings – one for the doll and one for your little girl. "Blinged out and ready for fun, she comes with a big sparkler on her hand and accessories for ultra-glam occasions," says the copy on the Target web site. She also has a bendable waist, perfect for leaning over into a car and asking Ken and his buds if they want a date.

Naturally, there are profound sociological connotations surrounding this whole bling bling doll thing. For a serious and scholarly discussion about Bling Barbie and the direction in which our society is headed, click here.

V is for victory
Little girls aren’t the only ones benefiting from new enlightened ways of thinking. We big girls are seeing a lot of progress too. For example, in recent years the media, including women’s magazines, have become much more frank and open about – and even celebratory of — female sexuality. Our naughty bits, which women's mags in the old days coyly referred to as "down there," are now officially called "The V-Zone." That's much more hip, don't you think? And it's much more woman-friendly as well: instead of implying something hidden and shameful, to be spoken of in a whisper, this new terminology implies a thing to be celebrated and shouted about, if not actually mentioned by name.**

On the web site for Cosmopolitan magazine I found an article about the V-Zone that offers a wealth of wisdom about "the surprising TLC it needs, where its secret lust trigger is located and why doing the deed on a regular basis is one of the best ways to keep it healthy." Doing the deed?!? I guess Cosmo is still into cutesy prose. At any rate, just in case you were wondering, here's why women have a V-Zone (and why Barbie doesn't): "...to bring you sexual pleasure, allow you to menstruate...and serve as an exit strategy for a baby."

I didn’t know pre-born babies were capable of planning strategies, exit or otherwise. They must be a heck of a lot smarter than I thought. I wonder if we could enlist the pre-born to get us out of Iraq?

But I digress. The Cosmo piece, which you can read yourself by clicking here, offers 25 "Down-There Facts" and 3 "Down-There Myths."

Some things never change.

* Being a commentary on certain aspects of contemporary pop culture, however, today's post is in keeping with the larger theme of this blog.
** Okay, I know they say the word all the time on The View, and then of course we have The Vagina Monologues, but I'm talking about mainstream women's magazines here.



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