“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
– John Steinbeck.
It seems as though it was a whole lifetime ago, that there was a time when I was madly in love with my Barbie Dolls. I remember a time when I couldn’t wait until christmas morning so I could open my eyes, rush through the stairs, and unwrap as many presents as fast as I could, all while being surrounded by the people I love the most: My Family. My infatuation with barbie and her pink utopia diminished several divorces later. I began to despise Barbie, her perfect life and even, every girl that reminded me of Barbie. For unknowingly, as a child I had associated and compared my own happiness, and life to that of Barbie’s ideal and perfect world. In my young and naïve eyes, looking physically different from Barbie was an immediate “No-Entry” into Mattel’s pink Garden of Eden. As we all mature, gain self-confidence and acceptant of human differences, Barbie, ken and her pink castle, were forever stored in the attic of my past, rotting along with floppy disks and other obsolete objects. Only to haunt us all again.
The Barbie Phenomenon has caused across the globe the societal impact of empowering and motivating women into pursuing whichever field or profession women dreamt of. It seemed as though Mattel had eradicated the 19th Century’s misogynistic idea of “Femme Fatale”, with Barbie. The question is: “At what cost?” During the 20th Century, a difficult time period marked by constant wars, and the psychological trauma men endured after witnessing the horrors of the war, women had to become resilient and strong, like the soldiers in battlefields, by working and holding entire households on their shoulders, as we see in J. Howard Miller’s famous poster “We Can Do It!” (1943) Barbie without a doubt, succeeds in embodying the working women of the 20th century.
Now, in the 21st century, a new question emerges: Has barbie evolved with the needs of our time? Is Barbie still modern? Is Barbie still “Avant-Garde”? I argue that in a way Barbie, the owner of the Volkswagen, the pets, and everything around her; sold to young girls the idea that men (Ken) could also come as a promotion once you saved enough lunch money to buy “Barbie’s Mansion”- batteries not included, condoms sold separately – the invisible tag 21st century bachelorettes see stamped on men’s foreheads: Men, viewed as real life Kens, or most commonly called: “Boy toys.” The artist Dina Goldstein, shows in her In the Dollhouse Series, The perfect relationship of Barbie and Ken being brought down as Ken begins to reject the role Barbie has set for him: The role of being “Her Bitch”. It seems as though, the longer women linger unto the, what I like to call the “Barbie utopia”, the more women inadvertently begin to simulate being real life barbie dolls, and viewing their partners as male dress up dolls and or “trophy husbands.”I would argue that in today’s world, a large majority of girls can be found guilty of emasculating men, through their misguided fight for equality in feminism. In other words, feminism’s problem in 21st century should be targeted towards preventing women from psychologically castrating men.
Philandry, the opposite of misandry (the hatred for men) is defined as: “the fraternal love and admiration for men”. It was during college, that I noticed how on our weekly wine down sunday nights my best friends and I would find ourselves starting a conversation revolving around the thought of “Ugh, I hate men, they are so stupid”, we would tell stories and have a good laugh but slowly, as the evening progressed, those initial thoughts suddenly transform themselves into “Man, sometimes I stop and wonder why God didn’t make me a man?” Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand, speaks on Feminity’s essence being “Hero worship”, an intense type of admiration which can only be experienced by a woman of strong character and independent value-judgments.
“…And the anger began to Ferment.”
-John Steinbeck. Grapes of wrath.
Only a “clinging vine” type of woman would consider admiration towards a hard working man a synonym of inferiority, of dependence, and obedience; this will lead to her becoming not a love or admirer, but rather the opposite: A misandrist, an exploiter of men. The feminist movement would be advised to practice mindfulness when defending women against misogyny, for a new problem may emerge, women taking justice by their own hand, (As we see represented in the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi “Judith Decapitant Holopherne” 1614-1620) led by anger and incurring into one of the three deadliest sins: Wrath.