Barbie Girl and Self-Image

Part of my lesson plans for English this term has included song-writing.  Writing and singing your own song is a good way to practice language skills — don’t you know.  We have already had karaoke events at school and our students are well-exposed to the arts.  We have a good dance teacher and cultural festivals allow staff and children to get a break from the regular study routine.  (Witness our You Tube channel)  This posting is about one of the songs my students chose to sing … “I’m a Barbie Girl” … and the subject is weird to me in many ways.  I am ‘saddled’ with more than just one viewpoint/perspective on the meaning of this song while to my students it is just a simple little catchy tune.  We have even watched the You Tube video of Russian soldiers marching and singing the song — now, there are some real G.I. Joe dolls.

Am I a He-She?

Am I a He-She?

I find this totally strange as most Nepalese children that I have ever met don’t seem to play with dolls.  There aren’t too many local shops with these kinds of dolls for sale.  Who could afford to buy one, anyway?  However, I am serving the poorer elements of the society here so I can’t be sure about children with parents who are better off financially.  In any case, there is an interesting blog that I pulled the above picture from.  The author there is VERY upset about feminists — none of them that I know of in Nepal, as well.  l do understand what these dolls in the west are trying to sell — body image/self image, whatever you want to call it.  “Identify with me and you can fantasize about whatever you want to be/become” — lyrics from the song re-emphasize that message … “Imagination, life is your creation … life in plastic, it’s fantastic”.  Of course, we understand that ‘plastic’ means moldable … as in the minds of young children … but “I’m a blond bimbo girl in the fantasy world” are lyrics that mock the original intent of the doll’s creator who borrowed the image of a German girl doll that was meant to model a ‘woman who could think for herself’.  Someone somewhere has been at work mixing memes again — all to confuse those young and impressionable minds.   I don’t worry about my students not getting it, though.  I am there to remind them of the silliness of the whole thing — not a serious bone in those dolls, after all.  There is no need to broach the subject of ‘adult sex dolls’, either, with my students although we have watched the documentary ‘Samsara’ in which Japanese sex dolls are compared to Thai prostitutes.  They are perceptive enough to understand what messages are out there in the ‘bozo’ land of t.v. and movies.  Some of my students have been entertained by the American t.v. series ‘The Walking Dead’.  As my students were assigned the task of finding a popular song and re-writing the lyrics … the following was one inspired version of the Barbie Girl song.

“I’m a zombie teacher, in my zombie world, I’m made of dead meat, you can kiss my feet, eat me everywhere, your dream is a nightmare, come on, let’s go party …”

I think you might realize this is VERY weird … but in a funny way.  I am pleased it mocks the seriousness that some people in the west place on their cultural images — very unhealthy, most of them.  We could discuss ‘princess and prince’ mind control programming in movies and other stereotypes used by cultural programmers to degrade the Western lifestyle.  Some might comment that the Barbie ‘anorexic’ look is more akin to a ‘walking skeleton’, and along with modern fashion models, promotes a ‘death’style, as opposed to lifestyle.  Dolls are not alive, we must remember — and for people who might be intent on programming society to accept psychopathy as normal, it is a clever advertising gimmick.  Don’t look at the sick reality all around you, ‘disassociate’ from its trauma-inducing conditions and escape into a dream reality.  This is very clever, as we do influence the world all around us through our dreams.  Or, are we all part of a consensual dream?  If so, it is time to wake up (as in lucid dreaming) and start to change it.  The whole topics is WEIRD for sure.


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