While walking the dog this morning, my mom stumbled upon what appear to be the bound and dismembered remains of a Barbie doll. There were a number of theories bandied about as to the provenance of what was labeled “bondage Barbie.” My mom suggested a overweight girl finally getting her revenge – a scenario that provoked not a small amount of joy. My younger sister Grace imagined a less triumphant boy enacting his violent fantasies on a purloined doll. I can’t think of a particular history, although I imagine kids – both boys and girls – have tortured Barbies for as long as there have been Barbies. What I couldn’t get out of my head was the Bertolt Brecht quote, “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?” I look at the parts where the doll has been broken: the giraffe-like neck, the instrumental waist whose only purpose seems to be connecting breasts and hips. To worry about that it means to tear apart a Barbie is to see it as a representation of a person, when its dimensions are closer to the Na’vi. What, then, is the destruction of a Barbie compared to the molding of a Barbie?

Advertisements