Here’s the brief: to create a doll that “inspires the limitless potential in every girl and reminds her that they can be anything.” It’s a big request.
Irls know all too well that gender inequality is alive and well. How do you begin to symbolize aspiration for young women when the social landscape is so bleak?
There are threats to girls’ public safety in the form of constant street harassment and the normalization of sexual abuse.
There’s the scrutiny and stigma of girls’ bodies on social media and beyond. And that’s before we’ve even hit the gender pay gap and glass ceiling strong enough to give most young women a concussion at some point in their future careers.
For a doll to symbolize the “unlimited potential in every girl,” it must reflect the many obstacles that are placed in girls’ path. Like our family origins – after all, it’s the socioeconomic context into which we were born that determines our potential rather than the dolls in Mattel’s newest line of products.
I know – let’s make a barbie doll out of this queen elizabeth! She is the perfect woman to remind girls that they can be anything. Oh wait a minute. What?
Mattel has even transcended its own unmusical gender stereotypes by releasing a Barbie version of the British monarch.
Commemorating the platinum anniversary, the limited edition doll also celebrates the Queen’s 96th birthday by giving her a perfectly smooth, wrinkle-free face. Seriously. You couldn’t invent it.
You may be wondering what’s so terrifying about a Barbie doll version of Queen Elizabeth. After all, so many consider her a British national treasure. So many claim to like her, even love her.
Isn’t the Platinum Jubilee Barbie a fitting, if ironic, tribute to Britain’s longest reigning monarch?
The problem is that the queen symbolizes “the limitless potential in every girl.” It’s a bad joke at the expense of the vast majority of girls.
While the UK is still reeling from appalling examples of the mistreatment of young working-class women by the authorities, such as the way the grooming scandals that ravaged cities across Britain were initially handled, it is all too clear that hatred of working-class women and girls remains ingrained in the culture.
So much so that any attempt to symbolize the limitless potential in every girl would have to acknowledge the millions of girls and women left behind by the class system.
While Mattel seems to think the Barbie Queen is some sort of slap in the service of feminism — a white, silk-gloved fist in the air for woman’s liberation — it’s actually quite the opposite. The doll is a symbol of our limitations, not our potential.
The queen – and with it the monarchy and aristocracy – symbolize the British class system. This is a system that still holds millions of people in Britain in a stranglehold, despite political lip service to meritocracy and social equality.
Where you were born and who you were born to still determines your chances in life, how you are treated and even your life expectancy.
The queen can be a great girl. I have no idea. Like everyone else, apart from her immediate family, I don’t know her. What I do know is that as long as monarchy exists as a sign that some deserve better treatment than others, just by chance of birth, the class system that hurts so many in Britain will continue to thrive.
Just think of the official way people refer to the Queen – Her Majesty. This is a term developed to express superiority over other citizens. Using this salutation means that some people are born better than others. Is that really an idea we want to perpetuate?
Of course, for many, the idea of superior breeding is attractive, but it is also very dangerous.
Make no mistake, Mattel’s Queen Barbie doll may pay homage to Elizabeth II, but she’s an insult to millions of girls who are humiliated and oppressed by the class system.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/queen-barbie-a-symbol-of-limitations-placed-on-girls-41578953.html Queen Barbie is a symbol of restrictions placed on girls