Sunday, 8 March 2009

International Barbie-day

It might be the International Women's Day today, but that is just a mere coincidence. I was going to write this blog post in any case. And, as for the 8 March, I think every day should be a women's day. And men's day!

In this 9th year of the 21st century, Barbie throws her 50th birthday bash. I find it lamentable that she is still around, to be honest. She might just be a doll, but to me, she still constitutes the ultimate symbol of the degradation and sexualisation of women.

I used to play with my Barbie doll when I was a little girl - put clothes on her and comb her hair. In those days, we used to make our own clothes as there weren't that many 'pret-a-porter' versions on offer in the shops. However, I soon got rather fed up with her and discovered the 'trolls' instead. Now, any Swedish person will understand immediately what I mean by the 'trolls'. They were just that - trolls. Lovely little creatures which took up most of my best friend's and my own time.

My Barbie doll? Well, in my realisation that she was just a very stiff pinup, complete with inbuilt push-up bra and two very unnaturally long legs, I covered her face in paint and ended up cutting off both her nose and her long, red hair. (I wonder what Freud would have made of that.)

As children and a teenagers, me and my girlfriends were very much treated in the same way as the boys. I cannot describe myself as having been a Tomboy, but I never felt I couldn't do whatever the boys did - if I wanted to.
My teenage years proved no different. When having parties, us girls and boys used to buy, bring home, cook, eat food and do the dishes together - on very equal terms. This was not planned - it came natural in the 70s and was part of the fun.

With this background, it is therefore so much more disappointing to see the world becoming so inequal and hypersexualised. I feel sorry for anyone growing up today. Today's young people seem to assume - and accept - that women's role is to look sexy, read about being sexy, sing sexy, eat sexy and breathe sexy - as they have not really experienced anything else.
Is it just a coincidence that the word 'sexy' has now found its way into the daily language in circumstances which not necessarily have anything remotely to do with sex? I don't think that would have been possible in the 60s and 70s, somehow.

I am not a prude and I am not an old nostalgic. But I have a strong belief in equality in every sense, for everyone on this planet, be it women or men. I find it strange how we often, in this politically correct world, mention 'women' in the same breath as we do 'ethnic minorities' or 'the disabled'. As if us women - half of the world's population - would have to be treated in a special, 'womenly' way. Maybe we are on the way to become extinct?

I am hoping this testetorone-fuelled world will come to some kind of klimax soon. After all, most tendencies come and go in intervals during the centuries. At some stage, we might realise the nonsensical in providing children with G-strings. Hopefully, we will also see the obvious connection between late night rapes and lapdancing clubs. Or should that be 'gentlemen's clubs'..? Gentlemen who consider women to be something you bring to entertain, with the coffee and brandy are not gentlemen in my lingo.

I sometimes wonder if I am the only woman to feel disgust when entering a newsagent's or a petrol station. Why do we accept having women's privates thrown in our face when queueing up to pay for our newspaper or petrol? All you men out there - just put yourselves in our position. Fancy standing in a queue with nothing but men's private parts around you - and no women's.
When you step out in the world outside, it just continues...everywhere. On the radio, on telly, in newspapers and mags. So many women feel unhappy with themselves and feel they need to live up to these page 3 expectations.

No wonder then, it made me really happy to see a little girl on a nearby beach, some time ago. Incredibly as it may sound, she was frentically burying her Barbie doll in the sand. How refreshing. "There's hope for the future", I thought to myself.

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