When I announced I was going to be writing on plus-size Barbie dolls, you no doubt expected me to be wholly in condemnation of the concept. After all, isn’t this just another capitulation to the miserable, loveless “fat activism” set?
You no doubt expected that I’d stand with parents outraged that adult political hang-ups are being forced on their kids. Or focus groups of young girls who unwrapped “Curvy Barbie” only to laugh hysterically and talk about how fat she was. Surely, you’ll have been thinking to yourselves, Milo Yiannopoulos of all people would agree that Curvy Barbie is a blight on our toy shelves — an ugly stubbly beast that will grow up living in Skipper’s spare room running an Etsy store.
But you’d be wrong! Mattel may have foisted Curvy Barbie on us at the behest of feminists, but good things can sometimes happen for bad reasons. Firstly, let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m gay. The more young girls are encouraged to become fat and unattractive, the better life gets for me. Every step fat-feminism takes towards victory means another wistful glance in my direction from otherwise-straight men.
I also note that there has been no change to Barbie’s male equivalent, Ken. It seems he’ll remain a bronzed God, a veritable Michelangelo’s David of the toy aisle. That’s also good for me, because it means well meaning parents will continue to encourage their sons to get to the weight room early. By the time they turn 21,
they’ll be just right for me I mean they’ll be well-adjusted, healthy adults who won’t place a burden on western healthcare systems.
The combination of perfect bod Ken with Cellulite Thighs Barbie will also make women complacent. It’ll trick them into thinking that they can let themselves go and still get the perfect guy. Sorry ladies, but I don’t see Brad Pitt marrying Lena Dunham any day soon.
That’s not to say that there won’t be any positive unintended consequences for women as they become more mindful of certain daily occurrences. Single flights of stairs, for instance. Passing people in the elevator. Getting into normal-sized cars without a pry bar. Squeezing into a supermarket to buy cat food and ice cream.
I jest, I jest. While I support the traditional, skinny Barbie’s role as an aspirational beauty ideal, she only really provides a target to aim for. For a complete guide, girls also need to know what to avoid. Curvy Barbie will fulfil that role admirably. After all, to reach the top, you have to know what the bottom looks like. Trust me. I know all about tops and bottoms.
There is, of course, one slight problem. For the happy conclusion described above to obtain, girls will first have to buy the unsightly things. This is going to be a challenge. Perhaps the new Fat Barbie could be marketed as a Halloween toy, for female trick-or-treaters to scare the neighbours with? Assuming the burka fits around that distended belly.
Alternatively, they could be given away with Happy Meals. It would be a poetic move by McDonald’s: the toy would offer a glimpse into the girls’ future should they keep up their poor diets. Type-2 diabetes, angina, gout — collect the whole set!
Another reason to welcome Frumpy Barbie is that she isn’t nearly as obese as the fat activists would like. Campaigners are already arguing that she isn’t fat enough, or that the new doll’s ugliness is a subtle suggestion that “fat girls can’t be sexy.” (It’s not a suggestion; it’s a fact.) The reaction will teach Mattel a lesson: give fat activists an inch, and they’ll take a mile with an extra portion of fries and a Big Gulp on the side.
It should be noted, of course, that while the toy is marketed as “Curvy Barbie,” a more accurate title would be “Frumpy Thunderthigh-Sporting Ham-Planet Barbie.” Indeed, this monstrous creation is so obviously the product of a social justice warrior’s fantasies that she even has blue hair. She’s not Christina Hendricks, that’s all I’m saying.