Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not Your Mama's Barbie Doll

Barfing Barbie

I have just discovered a new art form - Altered Barbies. There is a show in San Francisco every October featuring such works as Barbie Hugging the Porcelain, Gene Simmons begging Barbie, Deaf Jewish Lesbian Barbie and S&M Barbie.

Why was I never told? I have a rather tortured relationship with Barbie. We have never been friends and in fact, with unthinkable cruelty I refused to buy one for my younger daughter when she was a child and instead, foisted the more elegant Madame Alexander dolls on her. I completely missed the point. All her friends had Barbies, and my intransigence on this issue was more reprehensible than refusing to buy my son a toy gun had been.

It wasn't the breasts that offended me, but the fact that Barbie's feet were perpetually flexed for high heels, which seemed to imply that any proper woman wore cruel shoes at all times. The tackiness of the dolls was also a factor. But a little girl's wishes were dashed in the process, and I lost track of that far more important issue in my earnest desire to elevate her tastes. I think that as soon as we make something so insignificant about us and our values, bad parenting ensues. What is more, I should have known better. My own mother never bought me the patent leather maryjanes I coveted, nor would she allow me to wear anything remotely "fancy." Ruffles, bows and lace were outlawed from my wardrobe no matter what the other children wore. So if I had it to do over, i would buy my daughter every Barbie on the market. But sadly, there are no do-overs with child rearing.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

The Rubaiyat - Omar Khayyam - 11th century. He was surely a parent as well as a poet.

LaVonne Sallee is the artist whose works are featured here:

Gene Simmons Begging Barbie

Deaf Jewish Lesbian Barbie - no mean trick, reading the Torah in sign language. She must be blind as well; hence, the dark glasses.

S&M Barbie

Anorexic Barbie

Three-headed Pit Bull Barbie

Centaur Barbie

I rather love this one:

Jean August Ingres - The Bather

I'm still waiting for a Senior Citizen Barbie - after all, she's over fifty years old now. And everyone knows that fifty is the new nineteen.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010