Written by Mary K. Moore
Barbie is back. But this time, it’s not your benign girlhood companion that couldn’t even bend at the knee. Thanks to the savvy folks at Mattel, Barbie is now animated–and not only has use of her knees but can bring parents to theirs with an array of insipid movies that would make even Elle Woods wince. Specifically, on-screen Barbie has attitude. (“Even though it’s crazy ridiculous, it’s majorly real!”)
And little girls love it. But Barbie isn’t without blonde ambition. When she’s not dabbling as a ballerina or the latest incarnation of a mermaid, Barbie teaches girls they “can be”…so long as you’re a vet, bride or pizza chef. (The Barbie condo comes complete with a reinforced glass ceiling. Soul sold separately.)
In her latest vocational pursuit, Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, Barbie hits Paris, along with her scarily anthropomorphised poodle Sequin, and turns designer in order to save her Aunt Millicent’s fashion house. Dreams and glitter ensue. We asked Scarlett, age 5, an avid Barbie collector and daughter of Smatter contributor Mary K. Moore, to lay out a defense for her plastic heroine with a review of her latest European adventure. The resulting mother-daughter debate can only be described as Ooh la la!
In Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, after Barbie is fired from a movie and loses her boyfriend, Barbie’s friend Grace sagely suggests she go to a place where she can feel good about herself “like Melrose for mani-pedis and ice blendeds.” What do you think those are?
Scarlett: They’re drinks. Hawaii drinks.
Instead Barbie decides to go to Paris. Why did she go there?
Scarlett: She had a lot of problems. Ken broke up with her, she was fired…When you’re fired, you lose your job. But there’s something fun about being fired because then you’re on vacation.
Barbie has a lot of jobs. Do you think she went to college?
Scarlett: She has a lot of college. That’s how she’s an animal doctor, bride and pizza chef. But wait, bride is not a job. Just “x” out what I said about the bride and put surfer.
So how is Barbie a fashion designer all of the sudden? I thought she was an actor.
Scarlett: She has help from the Flairies, Shimmer, Glimmer and Shine. They glitterize dresses and transform them.
Do you worry that the Flairies are unpaid labor?
Scarlett: No, they just came to life in the fashion house. They don’t have a job. They’re Flairies!
Did you notice they were in Paris but everyone spoke English all the time? What’s that about?
Scarlett: How else are we supposed to know what they are saying? Did you notice they had little accents?
Touché. What do you think Barbie’s message is to young girls in this movie?
Scarlett: Thanks for buying my DVD.
That we can agree on. So what happens in the end?
Scarlett: Barbie learns about friendship and how to be true. And Barbie is not going to be sad anymore. The break up is over at the end. Ken only dates dates girls with blue eyes anyway.
Is Ken an Aryan?
Scarlett: I don’t think so. Wait, yes he is. You are, too.
You mean an Aries.
What do you think the recent FBI warnings about Barbie Video Girl are about? (The FBI issued a concern that the camera-doll could facilitate child pornography.)
Scarlett: Never go in the water with it or it loses its video power and never let a dog chew it. Are you a panda?
Scarlett: Because you ask a lot of questions. And they’re curious. Are you going to put this on Facebook?
Yes, I think The Smatter will link it.
Scarlett: What’s The Smatter?
It’s a website with funny and interesting stuff on it.
Scarlett: Okay. Just make sure they know this is one of the interesting ones and not one of the funny ones.