I don’t normally do the link to major publication/major story thing, but Mark Morford’s Barbie The Hot Pagan Witch is too good to pass up. It would seem that Mattel has now come out with a Wiccan Barbi, though the Wicca may not survive the honor. Mark writes:
Secret Spells Barbie is, despite her potential and much like every one of the 150,000 weird sub-subniche Barbies on the market, entirely pointless and disposable and, unless the girls who end up with her somehow tap into their inner badass witchiness and suddenly get inspired by some divine funky moonscream to rip off Barbie’s arms and paint her hair bright red and tattoo her nipples with a Magic Marker and impale her on a red-hot hair pin and suspend her upside down from a dreamcatcher, well, she does nothing to further the cause of funky gorgeous goddess-thick witchness and nothing to further the cause of earthly luscious pagan interconnectedness or divine feminine power.
Not that she claims to. Not that this was ever Mattel’s point, or Barbie’s raison d’etre, really. And I suppose it’s sort of wildly unfair to hope that Barbie might actually inspire girls beyond the hair-twirling saccharine fetishism of shopping and friends and cars and boys and shopping and money and dye jobs and shopping and fake careerism and shopping.
I was given a Barbie once for Christmas because all little girls back then were given Barbies. I can’t remember the outfits I got to go with the doll, but I soon became very bored with it. All you could do with the doll is put clothes on it, take them off and put other clothes on. What was the fun of that?
True, I did have a time when clothes, and the acts of putting them on and taking them off, were an important part of my life. When I reached puberty and became interested in boys and fitting in (not necessarily in that order) clothes were a part of the process. However, this obsessive interest in wearing the right thing and spending a lot of money on clothes to become this perfect paragon of rightness faded when I hit a certain age and realized that a pair of jeans and a nice cotton shirt lasts forever and feels great. And I don’t think Mattel makes a Barbi with worn jeans and a cotton shirt.
When we were little, we were supposed to use our imaginations and put ourselves into the glamorous world of Barbie, but how could we? The image was as plastic as the doll. I had brown/red hair, not blonde. I had no boobs or hips when I was a kid, and Barbie had no nipples or hair under the arms or in the groin. My imagination could extend to pirates and make believe worlds with white rabbits and cards that talked, but it couldn’t make Barbie into anything I could understand, much less appreciate and seek to emulate.
I gave the doll to my dog to chew. He had much more fun with it than I ever did.
Speaking of spending just to spend, Sheila writes about an eBay auction of Beanie Babies that has some extremely funny comments by the person making the sale. (Jeneane wishes this guy blogged. I want to use his secrets for my own auction — don’t buy these rocks! They’re just rocks!)
But the ultimate in disposable society and spending is covered in Sheila’s story on Disposable DVDs. Want to know why corporate America has us by the (virtual) balls? Disposable DVDs is a hint.