That is what Barbie is feeling after controversy broke out when she appeared in the 50th anniversary of the well-known swimsuit issue of “Sports Illustrated” magazine. Barbie turned to her blog and published a post called, “Why Posing for ‘Sports Illustrated’ Suits Me,” defending herself and women in general.
What is the big deal, you might ask? After all, Barbie is just a doll, not a real person. Others may have boycotted Barbie long ago because she gives girls “unrealistic body expectations.” We worry more about her long legs and forget the examples Barbie sets, and the message that you can be anything you want, whether it’s an astronaut, doctor or a politician. Her latest message, though, is unforgettable.
In her blog post, Barbie poses a powerful argument and calls out society by stating, “It’s time to stop boxing in potential. Be free to launch a career in a swimsuit, lead a company while gorgeous, or wear pink to an interview at MIT. The reality of today is that girls can go anywhere and be anything. They should celebrate who they are and never have to apologize for it.”
After reading the message, it was no longer another debate over what is right and wrong. This had turned into an empowering statement for women to do anything you want to, but don’t sacrifice who you are in the midst of it all.
I’ve been in Barbie’s pink heels before. As a student leader and current president of Blue Key Honor Society (an organization that historically only allowed male members), I have questioned how feminine I can be. I am a self-proclaimed “girly girl” that owns over 100 nail polishes. I’ve wondered if I’ll be taken less seriously not only because I am female, but also because I am shaking hands with administration and prestigious alums with glitter nail polish on my fingers.
There have been times I’ve felt like I have to tone down my outgoing personality or see my personal success as a negative thing. Then I find myself saying, “I’m not going to apologize for being myself.” So it was great to see an icon come out and say the same thing. We shouldn’t have to water down ourselves for others or because we think society wants us a certain way.
It shouldn’t matter if you agree or disagree with that fact that Barbie was on the cover of “Sports Illustrated.” We should feel comfortable in who we are and not have to sacrifice the quirky little things that make us happy and different.
What are you keeping? I’m keeping the glitter.