The Skin You’re In
by Julie Davidson
When I was little, I wanted a Barbie doll. I mean Barbie—not the knock offs. But my mother was adamant about not buying her for me. She did not want me to think that beauty meant you had to have blonde hair and big boobs. I was like six years old, and I wasn’t thinking about that. My next door neighbor had Barbie (and Ken and the town house), and I wanted her too!
Nope. So instead I got other dolls. I got Skipper. I think it was Skipper. Whoever it was had the kind of legs that didn’t bend at the knees. She was a bit difficult to manipulate at Barbie’s pool party. It was hard to balance her in the inflatable chairs. I also got an African American doll. She had this awesome milk chocolate skin tone. And thick curly hair, which I ruined trying to brush it out. And I had the Bionic woman. Yes, she was quite the doll. She had skin on one arm that rolled up to reveal her bionic parts. She was however, like two inches taller than the other dolls. Do you know how much difference that is in Barbie height?
Not long ago, I read that a well-known fashion designer referred to singer Adele as a “little too fat.” Really? I can only imagine how he would describe me. I bet the words “frumpy” and “fashionably challenged” would be included.
But Adele can handle her own, and she told People magazine, “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women, and I’m very proud of that.”
Sure we need to teach our kids to be healthy, but that includes embracing their physical characteristics.
Here is how I imagine my dolls conversing today:
“I am so glad I stopped relaxing my hair. My curls are awesome!”
“Yes they are! Did I tell you I’m the spokes person for People with Bionic Parts? People look up to me for more than one reason now!”
“That is so cool. Yeah, I don’t care if my knees don’t bend. I just joke and say it’s too much wear and tear on them anyway!”
“You all inspire me. I finally stopped getting upset about blonde jokes. I mean if I am so stupid, how come I was able to build an empire in my name with 200 variations of me? And for the record: Ken and I were just friends. Last time I saw him, he was at an antique show with GI Joe in LA.”