GABRIEL'S CLARION (dec14gab.htm)


December 12-15, 2004
Sunday-Wednesday
vol 15, no. 194

The First Feminist Icon

    The barbed irony of the decline of civilization can be found in the seemingly innocent figurine known as the Barbie Doll. Beneath its plastic veneer lies a venomous poison that has seeped into society.

      "Many might laugh at the notion that a doll would turn otherwise wholesome little girls into radical feminists. However, realize that radical feminism is not a hat which girls purchase when they become adults. Before the more radical ideas can take root in a girl's psyche, the environment of that psyche must be made more "feminism-friendly" and more open and accepting of the kind of ideas and beliefs espoused by radical feminists. Many girls will buy and play with these dolls with little significant impact on their attitudes and subsequent decisions. For others, however, the inherent physical, lifestyle, and attitude messages of this Barbie doll will certainly foster the kind of thinking consistent with feminism, Pro-Choice ideology."

    With the Christmas shopping in full, maddening swing, many parents begin the annual hunt for the toy treasures which will light up their children's eyes. Putting aside the obvious and often stated materiality, commercialism, superficiality, and distorted nature of the Christmas season as it is presently practiced in this society and world, this article will focus specifically on one of the most popular toys over the past 45 years. Like many sources of evil, this toy's immoral and negative message is subtly hidden beneath a veneer of smiles, colors, and possibilities. Its popularity is unquestioned and its impact is clear. It was born in an immoral environment, marketed via the most sinister and treacherous methods, associated with apparently positive themes masking more transcendent, negative and sinister ones, and have grown in popularity ever since its introduction. It has become a commercial, marketing, toy, and even cultural icon, and it may even be one of the most subtle purveyors of feminism precisely among the little girls who would someday become the most liberated, modernist, and anti-traditionalist soldiers of the war against the traditional family and its roles. This agent of immorality and perdition is none other than Barbie!

Immoral Beginnings

    I am fully aware that by now I have lost most readers inclined to think that this piece is more the product of insanity, radical traditionalism, or extreme paranoia than anything else. However, I also know that most if not all who read this piece on this site are still with me because they know and agree with much of where the article is going. I firmly believe that basic common sense, rational analysis, and honest consideration will bring anyone to the same conclusion which I have reached.

    The first measure of anything's morality is its source of inspiration and where its essence came into being. Unknown to many, the idea for the Barbie Doll came from a German doll named Lilli which was basically a quasi-pornographic toy for men! While little girls played with baby and child dolls with which they could pretend to be mothers or with which they could pretend where peer friends, Lilli was never intended for such an innocent and child-like audience. Its purpose and proportions were clearly designed to provide men with a figurine they could handle and admire. It looked more like a prostitute or loose woman than anything a child would ever want to play with! So, from its very beginning, Barbie had an immoral ancestry. This would just be the beginning of its negative nature.

    Early Feminist Ruth Handler, the entrepreneur who crafted Barbie from Lilli and who founded Mattel Toy Corporation with her husband and another partner, is yet another questionable source of this popular toy. Handler has been described as a cigar-smoking, foul speaking, poker playing tough woman who could handle herself in any boardroom or meeting with men. Those who knew her described a woman who was anything but a traditional mother. While one can admire her business acumen, creativity, and assertiveness, her other "attributes" leave much to be desired, especially in God's eyes. The Handlers were forced out of Mattel after Ruth was indicted by a federal grand jury on securities fraud charges. She had named Barbie and her male friend Ken after her own children, but the legendary toy she had fashioned from a pornographic doll went on to become a cultural and commercial icon.

    In all fairness, she later designed a prosthetic breast for women who had mastectomies, so she did use her creativity to at least help many cancer victims regain some self-esteem. However, it was Ruth Handler's distorted fixation on female self-esteem which led her to conclude, as she herself asserted, that it was important to a little girl's self-esteem to play with a doll which had breasts. Ironically, many argue that the extreme, unrealistic, and uncommon proportions of Handler's Barbie only harmed many little girls and young women by reinforcing the ideal woman as a shapely combination of breasts, figure, and legs, downplaying the heart of a loving mother. It has been estimated that Barbie's human scale would be an unrealistic 39-18-33, which is hardly comforting or common to the vast majority of women and women-to-be.

Immoral Messages

    Handler's Barbie was designed as the answer to traditional dolls which stressed and nurtured a maternal orientation. Those earlier dolls planted the seed in the minds of little girls of the importance and uniqueness of their future motherly roles. These dolls gave girls the chance to imitate their own mothers and to practice mothering actions and attitudes. The focus was on caring for the needs of the doll and emphasized the idea that women are the best intuitive caregivers and vital members of the family unit. One of the most popular were the Raggedy Ann dolls which imparted the sense of closeness and comfort without any corrosion of feminism or superficiality. Even the Cabbage Patch kids dolls imparted a sense of caring for plump little cheeks and countenances that only little mother-to-bes could love. While these earlier dolls did not emphasize that little girls could go on to become doctors and lawyers, they did nothing to negate or criticize that possibility either. The fact that it may have been more difficult for women to become professionals in the past was more the result of economic and sexual environments which those earlier dolls merely reflected. To argue, as Handler seemed to, that earlier dolls lowered the self-esteem of little girls or that they confined the roles or expectations that those girls perceived for themselves is a bit over the top. More likely, Ruth Handler, who was nothing if not a good salesperson, knew that the "you can be anything and you have choices" routine was the perfect spin and angle from which to make a buck with her libertine doll.

    Unlike the earlier dolls, which merely reflected a maternal orientation without tearing down any other option for women, Handler's Barbie as reflected in its marketing was very much about tearing down the homemaker, mother, family first idea in favor of a more career first, free, independent, no limits view of womanhood. One observer even commented that from the very beginning Handler's ads left little girls with the impression that life was empty and meaningless without a Barbie at their side. While this kind of propaganda is common in the marketing business, its combination with the notion that there are many more positive paths for women to choose than motherhood left girls with the underlying notion that motherhood was an 'empty path' compared to the kind of exciting life Barbie led. Countless women were subliminally misled into rejecting the family hierarchical values.

    In addition to the obvious over-emphasis on looks and body proportions, Barbie has led the way in indoctrinating little girls in changing fashions such as miniskirts and other risque trends whose moral character is not exactly pure. Certainly the kind of lifestyle which is implied in the entire Barbie lifestyle is not inconsistent with Pro-abort, feminist liberalism. Many experts have blamed Barbie and subsequent variations of the Barbie doll type as increasingly alienating and traumatizing many girls into believing that their future would be a long, lonely torture unless they look, dress, and socialize as the Barbie doll is marketed to look, dress, and socialize.

    Constantly subtly bashing motherhood by portraying it as boring compared with a free-wheeling lifestyle combined with the underlying idea that motherhood prevents an exciting life full of possibilities is a bubblegum endorsement of feminism and the abortion platform. In fact, a current popular contraception ad mentions its product as expanding women's possibilities to which women give each other a high five and jump up in glee. Handler's depiction of the excited, self-assured, happy girl dreaming of Barbie's freedom, choices, and lifestyle contrasted with a bored, low self-esteem, sad girl singing lullabies to a baby doll has now evolved to contraception and abortion ads selling the same fruit of freedom to those little girls who have now grown up physically if not emotionally or spiritually. She was also the first to market her toy directly to children via children's programming instead of the traditional method of marketing toward parents. This attempt to avoid parental control and push her product directly to children is eerily similar to similar efforts of feminists and pro-aborts to sell their ideas and products to children by limiting parental consent and notification laws.

Mass Indoctrination

    Many might laugh at the notion that a doll would turn otherwise wholesome little girls into radical feminists. However, realize that radical feminism is not a hat which girls purchase when they become adults. Before the more radical ideas can take root in a girl's psyche, the environment of that psyche must be made more "feminism-friendly" and more open and accepting of the kind of ideas and beliefs espoused by radical feminists. Many girls will buy and play with these dolls with little significant impact on their attitudes and subsequent decisions. For others, however, the inherent physical, lifestyle, and attitude messages of this Barbie doll will certainly foster the kind of thinking consistent with feminism, Pro-Choice ideology.

    From its first year of 1959 in which 351,000 were sold to the present international phenomenon in which the average American girl owns 8-10 dolls; 99% of girls own at least one; 2 dolls are sold each hour; Italian, French, and German girls own about 5; and the doll is sold in 140 countries, it is clear that neither Barbie nor its influence on girls worldwide will be going away anytime soon. From the late sixties in which the Barbie fan club numbered 600,000 members or more than any other girls club except The Girl Scouts of America to its present worldwide appeal, this plastic icon with a message has retained a foothold in the hearts of legions of little girls, in the minds of the legions of women these girls have become, and in the message board of a society eager to spread its message of freedom, choices, and unchained possibilities.

The Little Sister of Three Forces

    To see the evolution of Barbie's marketing strategy over the years is to see a reflection of how radical feminism and abortion have been sold in this society. First, traditional motherhood roles are stereotyped as bland, boring, limited, chains on a future.

    Second, the message is sent that there are alternatives, choices leading to increased possibilities open to those girls smart, eager, and determined enough to seek them. The underlying notion is that any girl choosing motherhood over the exciting ride with Ken is a moron who deserves her boring lot in life.

    Third, those choices are so powerful that they include males merely as attachments, certainly not co-stars in the ride. The Barbie ads are about Barbie and what she can do, not so much about Ken in any way. Basically, Barbie can have a "take him or leave him" attitude toward Ken since his only real value is how he can help her reach her possibilities. Since one of the inherent themes of the whole Barbie mystique is that Barbie can do it all on her own, Ken is simply a possible tool with which she can reach her goal.

    Fourth, it is implied that anything which helps a girl live that lifestyle and reach her possibilities must therefore be good and anything which puts limits or obstacles on that lifestyle and possibilities must therefore be bad. From here it is a simple step to conclude that women have inherent freedoms and choices which must be protected at all costs and that anyone trying to limit or stop those freedoms and choices is either a chauvinist traditionalist, a religious zealot, or a clueless monster.

    From the basis of the feminist and abortion forces the final jump is made to the kind of goddess worship so inherent and prevalent in feminist and pro-abortion literature. It is not surprising that this kind of worship abhors and violently attacks the traditional family unit, men, traditional sex roles, and any kind of established religion which defends and promotes such thinking, most notably the Catholic Church. Given the virulent nature of this goddess trash it should not be surprising that the popular DaVinci Code trash is based on such worship, which should be obvious from merely a superficial review of the blasphemous, vile dribble espoused in such garbage. Surprising as it might seem, Barbie evolved from a pornographic toy for men in Germany to a sugar-coated campaign for feminist, pro-abort, and goddess worship thinking today; not exactly a picture of moral and social progress. Like many apparently innocuous things bubbling from this society, this doll proves to be much more insidious and damaging to the moral character of the little girls it touches daily. Just as Eve could not decipher that slippery, shiny serpent as a great danger for she had been mesmerized by the message he promised, so also think of the young girls who were so deceived and have given into the devil without knowing what hit them.

Conclusion

    If you can judge a product by the circumstances of its inspiration, creation, development, marketing, message, and social impact, then the Barbie doll is anything but an innocent, good-natured chance for girls to dream. Ruth Handler believed that little girls use dolls to act out a future rather than practice a present. She believed that girls should focus more on womanhood than childhood to increase their self-esteem. She argued correctly that a "little girl could be anything she wanted to be" but added that "a woman has choices" beyond the traditional motherhood role reflected in earlier dolls which Handler's ads bashed as boring, uninspired, limited, and confined. Handler made sure that little girls felt that life without a Barbie and her lifestyle was an empty life indeed.

    By reflecting the societal changes in the late 20th century, Barbie indoctrinated girls in fashion, attitude, and lifestyle in ways which cannot be underestimated. Furthermore, Handler was the first to circumvent traditional toy marketing aimed at parents by presenting her doll to children directly via children's shows such as The Mickey Mouse Club. This technique closely resembles the subsequent insidious marketing of abortion around the parental obstacle via limited parental notice and consent laws.

    Handler claimed that Barbie was about choices, yet she never introduced a nun Barbie because that choice would make no sense to the kind of lifestyle Handler espoused. But after all, why would society want something of that nature since even the New Order church had abandoned tradition in embracing the world through the abominable aggiornamento that helped give credence to the whole Barbie phenomenon. We have all heard of homosexual, gothic, and hoodlum dolls in the market today. Even the Barbie line has introduced such perversions. We have also heard of anatomically correct dolls and now even have dolls having relations on screen in a recent political satire that rates as pure trash rather than a movie. All of these "developments" in how dolls are used to promote social agendas can thank the most popular doll of all: Barbie. Oh, there is one other to give credit to as well. Remember that serpent in the Garden of Eden? Bingo!

Gabriel Garnica


    Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.


    Gabriel's Clarion
    December 12-15, 2004
    Volume 15, no. 194