Thursday, March 3, 2016

Limiting the Impossible

Today I am challenged with a prompt: Something You Feel Strongly About.

Allow me to begin with a video.

No wonder our definition of beauty is so distorted. That poor woman will see that advertisement knowing that the world is seeing a woman who isn't even her. Because her hair wasn't long enough, her eyes weren't big enough, her waist wasn't thin enough, and her legs weren't long enough. So the good news is: even the models in our advertisements don't look the way we think they do. The bad news is: we believe it anyway.

I love fashion, but I hate the fashion industry. In the same way, I'm a strong supporter of beauty promotion, but despise how it is distorted in our society. More and more women are living unhealthy lifestyles to obtain the impossible image, living with eating disorders, excessive workout plans, and insecurity beyond all measure. And it starts early. It starts with the compliments we give little girls (don't we tell them they're cute before we tell them they're smart?). It starts with the unintentional support of the society we live in. It starts with us leaving our Cosmo magazines on the coffee table and the barbie dolls we give them to play with.

I can honestly say I was not bothered by the designs of barbies as a little girl. I didn't notice the dolls were unrealistically skinny until I grew a little older. But I can vouch for diversity. I always chose dolls with brown hair and olive skin tones because they looked like me. I did the same thing with the disney princesses I watched and the polly pockets I chose to play with because I related to them. And I know I'm not alone. I see it every day in my classroom with the books my students read. I see it at the daycare with the toys children choose to play with, and I see it when I babysit and watch the kiddos pick characters to be. Whether you think the dolls are mentally unhealthy for little girls is irrelevant. The reality is: diversity is important, and we need to stop society's ruthless force of the one-size-fits-all woman.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not opting for the "Fat Movement" that's really in right now, where a 500 pound woman shouldn't lose her weight because "every woman is beautiful." I think girls should be healthy. Every woman has a different talent, intelligence, and heart to offer the word, and beautiful souls need sturdy vessels. But no woman should be denied of her inner strength because she simply does not look like the girl on the cover of her favorite magazine. All throughout childhood, we were told that it was good to be smart, and kind, and strong, and unique. Why is the way we look any different?

For the first time ever, young girls will have more options in the toys they play with thanks to the Barbie company, not just in size and figure but also in race and ethnicity. The company is no longer in support of their original stick-figure design, and is channeling its efforts to promoting healthy diversity through a new line of dolls. Beginning with their 2016 Fashionistas line, the dolls will be offered in various heights, shapes, and skin tones (not to mention occupations, as barbies have previously been known for), celebrating all the differences between women today. I could not be more proud to support this movement, and look forward to watching the dolls evolve even more over time.

To learn more about the Evolution of Barbie, visit, and join in on the discussion with #TheDollEvolves.

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