“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women
At the quilt retreat earlier this week, my friends and I, all “women of a certain age”, joyfully abandoned all restraint about healthy diets and committed sinful acts… at our age, sexual indiscretion has been replaced by indulging in forbidden fruit of another variety.
My excuse is that the word dessert is stressed spelled backwards… and the whole point of running away from home to a lovely retreat center deep in the autumn woods is to reverse stress.
Alas, the nanaimo bars, brownies, butter tart squares, pumpkin pie, apple crumble, blueberry pudding, ice cream and whipped cream eventually elicited guilt. Someone remarked that there was not a “Barbie” in the room!
Barbie! The toy from hell, the destroyer of female ambition and healthy self images, scorned by feminists and condemned by those concerned about eating disorders, and still one of the most popular toys ever made.
And isn’t it good of Mattel to try to create more realistic Barbie dolls!
In addition to all the racially and ethnically correct Barbies, all the teen queens and story book princesses, the movie star Barbies and the Christmas collectibles, you can buy a pregnant Barbie! This one must have fun in the labor and delivery room!
With that radiant smile and beautiful eyes, it is clear that chemo and radiation must be excellent beauty treatments!
Dolly Parton’s song is a delightful spoof on the whole idea of “Barbie glamour. But listen carefully… the lyrics are a poignant reminder of how difficult and painful the search for artificial glamour can really be. More about this tomorrow…