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Dear Barbie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Dear Ms. Doll: It has come to my attention that you are not everything they say you are. As a young girl I bought into your mass-produced image both mentally and allowance-wise, believing that what you had was not only attainable, but would someday be mine. From you I learned that womanhood meant having stilt-like legs with little pinched ankles, nonexistent hips, and a large bust like your plastic one duplicated from the same mold a hundred thousand times. I craved the approval that would undoubtedly be mine as I smeared on that electric blue eyeshadow, dyed my hair taxicab blond. and pranced about the mall in my lime-green stiletto heels, as Ken smiled adoringly by my side.

But things ended up differently, Barbie, and it was hard to understand. There are problems in the world we'd never discussed at our sleepovers, like pain, rejection, stress and disappointment. It was difficult to accept my hips and waist growing larger while magazines screamed for smaller, and my legs splaying out like tree trunks in those micro-mini skirts. At first I couldn't understand why I was getting the sense that it was uncool to raise my hand in class. I still haven't come to terms with what it means to be female in America, and the battle I wage daily between reality and the fantasy you market is a constant one.

I know I'm not alone. Girls would not be chronically late for class if they didn't crowd in front of bathroom mirrors blotting lipstick, evaluating invisible fat. You have been instrumental in cursing a generation of women with inextricable double standards, extending the influence of your vicious, little, perfect plastic life and body far beyond the playground.

It would be dishonest to say that we girls have all resolved to abandon the ideals you represent. Many of us would like to, but it isn't as easy as it sounds when we are pommeled daily with the twisted spinoffs of your media success. Nevertheless, I can unabashedly say that I wish you were never invented, Barbie. What was termed play for innocent little girls was really just one giant act of deception: the barely-subliminal persuasion that a life of glittery gowns, hunky boyfriends and neon Corvettes was ours for the taking, and would bring us happiness.

I can't claim to have completely gotten over the compulsion to want to be you, but I can say that I loathe you right down to your rubbery joints for the destruction you have wrought upon womankind. I can say that I am not ashamed of being assertive, though I sit here in pajamas instead of pumps. And I can say for sure, my dear, that I will never let any daughter of mine occupy her formative years with the dressing and undressing of some skinny, plastic 60's icon.

Most Respectfully Yours,

Nadine

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Serendipity2 said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm:

this piece of writing is beautiful and adressess things like stereotpyes that have plagued women everywhere. it got me thinking, which is what i think writing is all about

 

good job

 
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SpringRayynThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 12:26 am:
I like this a lot! I remember when I was little too, I went to my friend's house a lot and she had a ton of Barbies while I didn't, so I would always suggest we would play with them. Looking back on that, it may have affected how I live now.
 
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ShiverPaw said...
Feb. 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm:
This is such a capital idea, you know, adressing barbie in a lettter and all. Its really true and its awesome!
 
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