Monday, September 04, 2006

Breast Cancer Barbie

For those of you who don't know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I know, I know, it's not October. But if you look around, you'll see pink retail items sprouting up faster than drunk boys at a frat house. Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer shit is everywhere- companies that make everything from yogurt to scissors want to cash in on some of our charitable shopping action. Of course, all portions of the proceeds are donated to XY/Your Mom's Breast Cancer Charity. Why they couldn't just write a check, I don't know. Granted, it is partly because of these retailers that there is research money, I just find it hard to swallow breast cancer awareness spatulas.

The new target of my concern is the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Barbie. She's beautiful. And glamorous. And ready for the next black tie charitable function. She is everything that real breast cancer isn't. It's an insult to me- a bald, chubby, oh so not ready for primetime, actual cancer patient. Yes, I know, I'm still beautiful. Yeah, I'm beautiful on the inside, whatever. As if Barbie hasn't messed with the self image of tons of little girls already with her huge tits and tiny waist. As if Barbie already misrepresents real women everywhere.

Now, before you call me a raging femi-nazi, complete with my butch bald head, I loved my Barbies. I played with them, had the Barbie dream house, played Barbie store. I'm sure I even grabbed my Barbie's face and slapped it up against Ken's and made kissing sounds. My brothers cut off Barbie's hair. I wanted to be Barbie. Go get over it.

That was before I had breast cancer and mattel decided the best way to rasie awareness is to make the most elaborate-pink-big haired, "I belong in beauty pageants" Barbie.

I've been spending a fair amount of time lately on the discussion boards of the Young Survival Coalition, where outrage ensued when this was announced. One poster went so far as to post a picture of the "Real" Breast Cancer Barbie.

Straight from the YSC:

From the photo you can see that Barbie has gained weight considerably, predominantly in the hips, ass and pooch area. She is sporting a paper "modesty vest," two drains and a gauze wrap tube-top bandage. She also has her lymphedema wrap, IV drip, port and has had some blood work done. Her toe nails and finger nails are unfortunately turning black and there is some concern that she may lose a nail or two. She is leery of going too far away from the toilet, can't remember if she took her pills today and is depressed that she doesn't have ovaries and can't have a baby. Her path report is looking OK but the bills are piling up and she is too sick to work, but has to keep working to keep medical insurance. Hot flashes are keeping her up all night and she wonders if she should call her old flame GI Joe when he comes home on leave from Iraq- but will he still want her? Her sex drive is gone, she's scarred-up and bald and twenty pounds overweight. Her body hurts, she feels as if she is losing her mind. She doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. Yelled at Skipper for asking her if she wanted to go to the Townhouse this weekend for a party, then cried afterwards. Drove pink Corvette to Jack in the Box for drive through burgers and a chocolate shake for dinner. (Thanks Linnea)

Unfortunately, reality isn't as pretty. And it doesn't sell Barbies.


Chris said...

I'd buy your Barbie over Mattel's any day.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

2 things...

#1. I spent about 15 minutes ranting about this today in class...

#2. You do not ever have to justify your distaste with the propagation of the subjucation and objectification of the female form that the men who control Mattel began half a century ago and continue today...especially by calling yourself a femi-nazi when you are just being sane.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

My mother had breast cancer 3 years ago and she still doesn't feel like herself. She still struggles with her low immunity getting sick for months at a time. I don't see Mattel's Barbie as ever being an acurate portrayl of a woman who has been through the nightmare of breast cancer.

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