We all know that, in real life, no one looks like a super-model. That is, other than the super models themselves (and young girls who think this is the way women are supposed to look). But if you do count the super models themselves – taking into account the photo-shopping to make them look even more dramatic (and young girls who think this is the way women are supposed to look), there are at least some women in real life who are 6 feet tall, weigh 110 pounds, and have concave breasts and cheeks.
There are, however, no real life examples that I know of of someone who actually resembles Barbie.
That’s because, if Barbie were real, her neck couldn’t support her head, there’s be no room in her body for vital organs, her bones wouldn’t fit in her arms, and her feet would fit comfortably in baby shoes.
But, hey, let’s not blame Barbie. She’s just a doll.
We don’t blame Raggedy Ann for being floppy and having flaccid muscles, do we? Or Cabbage Patch dolls for looking like odd-balls? (We do, however, blame Bratz dolls for looking like hos, however.)
Still, I was interested to read about some Bolivian artisans who have appropriated Barbie’s figure, but are making it their own by giving her black hair, and dressing her up in the clothing of indigenous Andean women. (Source: AP article on boston.com.)
The dolls are made in China and imported to the Andean nation, where 15 young artisans at the Creaciones Hugo shop work to transform them.
They do so by dressing them in:
…low black shoes, a shawl and a long, colorful, patterned skirt known as a "pollera." On top is the crowning touch, the bowler hat favored by Aymara women who dress in "cholita" style.
They must use a different mold than classic Barbie, as classic Barbie’s tippy-toe, perpendicular feet just wouldn’t fit in a boring black flat. Nothing but plastic high heels for our gal. Maybe it’s the bowler hat, or that fact that they’re not dressed like hookers, but I think they’re cute. If I saw one on sale in La Paz, I might be tempted to buy me one. (I do think I’d take a pass on those Bolivian Ken dolls who are lurking behind the Bolivian Barbies wearing what, I can’t determine, but it looks authentically something or other. And so what if these cholita dolls exactly resemble a more authentic Bolivian cholita?
Who among us looks like Barbie? If you were paying attention above the answer is “no one”. And so what if little Bolivian girls want a doll who’s pretty? (“Por favor, mamacita, I don’t want that authentic folk doll that’s short, stubby, and smells like a lama.”)
And yet…something there is that doesn’t love the fact that one of our country’s most pervasive, lasting, and – alas – imitated exports is the 11.5” of plastic weirdery known as Barbie.