I have had the privilege to tap into my own madness and interview barbie... because...why not?? Following the same questions that we always have in the website I wanted to explore it further!
In your own words, who is Barbie?
Barbie is a doll. So I guess it is a tool to be anything. Barbie can be as ambitious or shallow as wanted. Can be a way to dream bigger, or to perpetuate ideas. It is a vessel for others to fill with stories.
What is the story behind it?
In March 1959 Barbie was launched, being the first mass produced toy in the US. The co-founder of Mattel and creator of the doll, said "Every little girl needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future".
A lot of you might not know that the precursor of barbie was a sexy doll, intended for adults, from Germany. You can read about it here
What is the biggest impact on what you do?
I allow people to stretch their imagination, to role play, to design houses, and dresses, and lives! It is proven how benefitial role playing is for children, and it is a shame that because I am a woman boys don't tap into what barbie has to offer. The idea that boys can or would enjoy something that wasn't created with them at the forefront is alien to many, but we don't have the same problem with girls.
This film has given me the opportunity to have a further and current impact, talking about important things in a way that arrives to very different people. It has also opened up a pink revolution in which women are unapologetically tapping into the same things that are mocked as too feminine.
What has been your biggest learning since you started?
There has been so many learnings and now a long road to convert them into actions. Being the main one the lack of diversity.
Stereotypical barbie, the barbie that we have in mind when we think of it, is still white, blonde, dangerously slim, impossible body shape, body able...
When we set up standards as such in the pursuit to "universal beauty" we are inviting everyone to fail. We are telling girls that their dolls are an ideal and they can't recognise themselves in it.
Also the plastic and the consumerism...but I mean, I am first and most, a product of capitalism!
What is the goal? The big vision of what you would like to achieve?
I would like to adapt to the times, to keep creating this opportunities and be used, through the role playing, to help dismantle difficult concepts. To introduce diversity in kids, to invite boys to play with dolls, to get over the idea that in order to be feminist you need to look a certain way. You can kick ass while wearing a gorgeous pink dress.
What is Feminism for you?
Feminism is the active fight of the patriarchy. It is an action. Not necessary a huge action, but an intentional one.
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
People assuming that you are stupid because you look a certain way, or because you care about beauty. People assuming that we wear certain things for men and not for ourselves (and more realistically for the other barbies that will appreciate it and understand it)
Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?
I guess I always told myself that I had a feminist spirit, I just choose to look the other way and when realising how problematic I was as well. I think it is easy to tell yourself that you are one of the good ones instead of the bad ones instead of seeing the nuance of both with accountability. But again, capitalist product and all..
Who is your biggest feminist role model?
Greta Gerwig. That woman had a task and oh she went for it. She was focused, she got mattel to pass things that nobody thought they would and she made her goal by speaking everyone's language. She spoke money to producers, she spoke fashion to some of the audience, emotions to others, feminism to others...she got everyone in a journey to achieve what she wanted to do.
What is your favourite Feminist quote in the film?
This might be controversial, but one of the quotes from the film that I see quoted the most is "we mothers of daughters stand still so our daughters can see how far they have come"
I think mothers of daughters fight twice as hard to end misogyny and standing still is rarely an option.
I do think that sometimes there is so far that women can go, because of barriers, or too deep conditioning, or because by the time you realise it is too late to change the past... but I don't know many mothers that stand still on this fight, we want to walk together.
I think it would have been more truth to feminism something like "when we mothers can't keep going we have the privilege to look forward to see how far how daughters can still go"
What is your proud feminist victory?
It is difficult to choose, but probably claiming "hi barbie" as a new "I see you in your whole womanhood and I love you" salute. Because women love each other even if we are tried to be convinced that we are not.
That and pissing off a lot of men. but mostly "hi barbie".
What is your feminist recommendation?
- Book: There are girls like lions. Poetry by women,
- tv show:the bold type. feminism, sisterhood and fashion. I am in.
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
Don't be embarrassed of claiming all sides of yourself. Dream big. Tap in the sisterhood. Dance with your friends while working towards the utopia.