Sunday, March 09, 2014

the formative years - on wonder woman and barbie


i've always loved wonder woman. especially in the form of lynda carter's portrayal of her during my formative years. she was so brave and true and tough and beautiful, all at once. and man, those wonder woman jumps. i practiced those by getting the swing at the park going as high as i could and then leaping off. i'm sure i was very graceful and strong, just like wonder woman, tho' i'm glad that video mobile phones were not ubiquitous then, so that i don't have to sacrifice that memory. i too wanted bracelets that could deflect bullets, a lasso that could make people tell the truth and an invisible jet of my very own. wonder woman inspired me to greatness. i've probably let her down, but she was inspiring to me just the same.

charlie's angels were around in that same era and with their beauty and bravery, they inspired me as well. i know charlie ultimately took care of them, but they seemed so strong and capable by themselves. they were tough and beautiful and they had great hair and clothes and they always caught the bad guy in the end - what more could you ask?

speaking of great hair and wardrobe, i'll admit that i loved barbie as well. she also had great hair and clothes and those shoes, they were awesome. my cousin had a fabulous barbie collection that burned up in a fire and i missed those lost barbies for years afterwards. they'd never been promised to me and i'd only been allowed to look at them, not touch them (being much younger and probably much stickier), but i adored them anyway and lamented their passing. of course, i had barbies of my own, but her collection was something special.

i read this morning about a very thin study suggesting that playing with barbie limits girls' career opportunities. at least in their own minds. and i have to say i think that's crap. barbie always had way more going on than ken and we all knew it. she was the brains and she had her own car and house and he was a mere accessory, who she didn't even really need (my barbie personally liked johnny west way more and in fact, she taught him a swear word or two (goddamn son of a bitch, jesus christ almighty was her go-to swear phrase of choice). yes, her feet were forever stuck in high heeled position and her waist is abnormally tiny, but she was fabulous. like wonder woman and charlie's angels, she was strong and capable and the leader of her pack. i don't feel at all that my love for her has held me back or made me not pursue a career in science or math. what kept me from that was the fact that i spent most of my time reading dostoevsky during physics class in high school.

3 comments:

Ariadne Skyrianidou said...

Again I agree with you! Charlie's Angels was my favourite; and my one and only Barbie is still with me!AriadnefromGreece!

will said...

Well, there's that perspective on Wonder Woman and Charlie's Angels. I thing WW, the TV show, was popular with guys for other reasons and CA's,kinda sorta invented Jiggle TV.

A footnote to older Barbies ... the older ones (maybe all of them, I don't know) breakdown - the plastic gets soft, mushy and deteriorates. Apparently, there's a shelf life to many of the 70-80s toys, especially things like Pretty Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake ... and certain Barbies.

The hard plastic toys, such as the Star Wars figures, seem to be more chemically stable.

d smith kaich jones said...

i laughed and laughed and nodded my head while reading this, although i'm older than you and can only relate to the barbie thing. i mean how silly and gullible and easily influenced do these "studies" think girls are?

and re: older barbies - i have one from 1959 or 60, one of those in the black & white striped bathing suit, and she's made of hard plastic. no mushiness at all. the only issue she has is where my brothers kind of "broke" her neck. :)