Crazy Barbies - Then and Now
Loving America to Death, 2013 by N. L. Brisson
June 4, 2013
Feminism is important to me. Not the kind of feminism that says all females have to be alike and all women have to choose a certain lifestyle, but rather the kind of feminism that allows women to live their lives on an equal footing with men, at least in terms of the choices and salaries they are able to make. I attended those early “consciousness raising” meetings and, at first, there was a sort of herding element among feminists and a certain stridency. We were asking society to consider women in a different light. Yes, we already had the vote, we already were able to go to college and study, but, in our minds, we had not visualized what freedom for women could really mean. A big blobby dilemma (or a sweet blobby dilemma, take your pick) standing directly in the way of true freedom for women was the whole issue of motherhood, which we are still struggling with today.
The pill gave us freedom sexually, although less than we originally thought because AIDS came along to temper that particular freedom. The pill did not change the image of women as moms and stay-at-home wives whose key roles were as nurturers and housekeepers (household managers). Control over our own bodies in the sense of being able to choose whether to have another child or any child at all was definitely another great leveler, still being hotly contested today. However, once it became so costly to live that two incomes seemed necessary the race was truly on; the race to break through that glass ceiling and rule the world as equals with white men. Women also knew that the future of our culture had to belong not just to women, but also to people of color. Being inclusive may be making the whole process a bit slower but it is the right thing to do, and it guarantees that we won’t have to go through it twice.
So, any time we see a woman who achieves success we should lift her up and celebrate her ability to reach the top of the heap. We want to be able to stand in solidarity with our sisters and be supportive of them as they become more powerful. We assume that they will feel a kind of solidarity with all of us whose struggles have contributed to their success. However, women who end up on top do not always believe that the efforts of the women’s movement have any relationship to their current success which they see as something they achieved through a combination of their own personal attributes and their own endeavors, which, of course, is also true
Then we have two pretty and strong women who burst into politics from the fringes of the Republican Party, and we want to feel pride in their accomplishment but we just can’t all celebrate them. We feel terribly guilty about this, but there it is. Is it envy? Is it contempt? What is it about these two that challenges our theoretical dedication to sisterhood? We are actually insulted by their outrageous behavior, by their dramatic presence, by their flakiness, and by the way men accept them in their midst because they charm them. Are these women sell-outs? Are they movie stars who wandered into the wrong arena? They certainly did not give women a reputation for seriousness and trustworthiness. We have Kirsten Gillibrand, Gabby Giffords, Susan Collins, Diane Feinstein, and a number of much quieter heroines who do represent these great qualities, but not Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin.
These two got the lion’s share of recent attention and yet the qualities that have made them news fodder are not qualities that make women look good. The value they have had is that they have been entertaining. They made politics outrageous and silly because they are outrageous and silly. They are essentially both examples of “Crazy Barbie”. We owned Barbies that represented a variety of different careers, but they all had one characteristic in common; they did not talk. I’m sure that is why there was never a Crazy Barbie. These two political drama queens didn’t actually have to choose to be a Barbie at all. They could have just been women, which is quite enough to entitle them to “hold up half the sky”. We should be sad that they have left center stage but instead, we are just relieved. Of course, they may be back, but if they are let’s hope they bring us their more genuine selves, and that they learn some history and some geography. It’s OK for women to be vapid and snarky, but it is not a good combination for someone in government.
From a Google Image Search - The Washington Post
April 26, 2022
More Crazy Barbies, Women Against Women’s Rights
We now have a new batch of Crazy Barbies courtesy of the right-wing school of political theater. We have Marsha Blackburn – Evangelical Barbie, or Holier-than Thou Barbie, Self-righteous Barbie, Bed Head Barbie, Insinuation Barbie. I remember Marsha Blackburn from the early days of the “Freedom Caucus” when Ted Cruz felt that Congress needed to hear him read Green Eggs and Ham. She was more performative in those early days. However, the questions she asked Ketanji Brown Jackson at her confirmation hearing for a seat on the Supreme Court harkened back to those bad old days. Apparently, Marsha sees herself as a paragon of Christianity, judging God’s genetic intentions as productive of only two sexes which are always delivered with genetic precision and fall into only two categories despite all evidence to the contrary. I’m not sure what religious text contains the code for the human genome. I know it wasn’t in Leviticus because I read that one. Blackburn certainly knows how to create a moment. When she asked Ketanji Brown Jackson if she could define a woman, there was a moment of absolute silence, a stunned silence for some, an expectant silence for others. What did they think KBJ would say?
Asking loaded questions is a popular political sport and Republicans have taken it to extremes in recent years, but this question is not even about politics, or it shouldn’t be. It is accepted scientific information that sexual genetics is complicated and that asking people to hide an identity they did not necessarily choose is wrong. We know that being forced to deny who you love forces some people to die alone. It wreaks havoc with inheritance arrangements and funeral arrangements, and it presents society with both legal and emotional dilemmas. Who is Marsha Blackburn to determine whether sex genes can be affected by the same forces that affect all genetics, and to have the temerity to try to legislate biology? Of course, KBJ was stunned but she handled the impertinence very well. Her poise under fire proved she was no Crazy Barbie.
We also have Kyrsten Sinema, a Gun-Toting Barbie, Corporate Shill Barbie, DINO Barbie, Block Child Care Barbie - new to Congress (4 years) but not afraid to block the policies of those with many more years of experience and well-earned clout. Because the margins the Senate are so narrow, she may take pleasure from her temporary position of power, and she certainly understands what her corporate overlords expect of her.
Lauren Boebert, Representative in US House since 2021 – Culture War Barbie, Transphobic Barbie, Twitter Barbie is certain that her values are the correct ones and is not afraid to oppose President Biden’s environmental agenda and cheer when LGBTQ rights are deliberately ignored. On Twitter she cheered when Exxon refused to fly flags for BLM and LGBTQ rights.
In the Senate we have Elise Stefanik recently seen at the Southern border with the ole boy’s club to protest changing Title 42 to allow refugees to enter America now that COVID restrictions have been lifted. She’s One-of-the-Boys Barbie, Wasted Ivy League Education Barbie, Toady Barbie, or Sycophant Barbie (take your choice).
And we have possibly the craziest Barbie of all, the endlessly mouthy and clueless Marjorie Taylor Greene – Conspiracy Barbie, Unfiltered Barbie, Lower-Class Barbie, Gun Toting Barbie, Militia Moll Barbie, Rude Barbie, Twisted Barbie. Marjorie Taylor Greene was in court this week claiming that she did not remember saying things that are clearly documented in texts from the phone of Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff. Doesn’t she realize that claiming not to remember something when you do is perjury if it can be proven that you still hold this in memory. The brain may be a black box that does not allow us to see inside it, but MTG is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Some tricky lawyer or judge may be able to trip her up and she will be caught lying.
While it might be good for young children to be able to create some Crazy Barbies of their own; these ‘girls’ do not belong in Congress. The world is a complicated place and treating governing like it is entertainment means that the needs of those who live in our society will not be met.
Melinda Gates, a very Smart Barbie, wrote a book called The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. In this book she describes the work the Gates Foundation was doing in Africa, India, and Asia. It began as a fight against malaria, it morphed into an attempt to vaccinate against diseases that decimated developing nations at times, but it ended with what the women needed most, contraception. Women who are always pregnant cannot contribute to the economics of the family, they suffer from early aging and birth related maladies, they may die prematurely. The family cannot support all the children who are born. At first male pride turned this into an uphill battle, but as women were able to help their husbands with farming or begin a microbusiness that brought extra income into the family, as the family began to thrive, the husbands came on board and also embraced contraception. Contraception was more effective than even vaccinations for lifting families out of poverty, although both are now available.
The Crazy Barbies claim to be religious. They are certain that contraception is against God, and that abortion under any circumstances is murder. This does not seem to be what we mean when we speak of faith. Having faith that you know God’s mind, that you can judge for everyone what the Christian religion considers right and wrong by reading an ancient text that did not ever claim to come directly from God is not the same as accepting that there is a God and trying to live according to what we know about God’s laws as individuals. These arrogant women also assume that Christian laws should govern all Americans, although all Americans are not Christian. While it may be entertaining to assign character names to the newest batch of Crazy Barbies, the real point is to demonstrate that they are too biased and not serious enough to take part in our American government. They are an embarrassment, and we should make sure they get voted out of office.
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