[ Arts Index | SF Metropolitan | MetroActive Central | Archives ]
Miss Pinkie Shears
How come Barbie is always dressed like some color-blind Midwestern hooker and Ken looks like a backup "singer/dancer" for a Kathie Lee Carnival Cruise Line commercial? Is Mattel under some strange spell that makes them think their dolls really look hip and fashionable? If you use your influence for nothing else, can't you please do something about this? I work for the ad agency that handles the Barbie account and I just don't think I can take it anymore. Please, Pinkie, you're our only hope.
Mattel is under no illusion. Barbie was always intended to be a blind prostitute with a heart of gold and Ken her rent-boy best friend trying to make it as a legitimate chorus dancer to pull them both out of the gutter and find love and happiness with two equally rich, handsome and caring men. But somehow the American public couldn't grasp this avant toy concept in the '50s. Already deep in production, Mattel was forced to quickly alter the advertising campaign to conform to the general public perception of the dolls. Although the look of the dolls never changed, under this new "Dream Girl and her All American Boyfriend" campaign they were a huge success. Over time Barbie and Ken morphed into many forms--Malibu, Disco, Bob Mackie's Vegas Showgirl, Astronaut, Olympic Ice Skater--but subversively Mattel never let go of its original vision when styling them. So rather than berate Mattel for forcing upon children such poorly attired and intellectually stunted role models, remember it didn't intend for this to happen. Americans did it to themselves. Mattel had a more noble dream and it's stitched into every slutty, florid garment Barbie wears.
The rest of this column
I devote to the direct and immediate education of You, The Potential Petitioner. If you desire my help, you have but to ask, but please keep in mind that although I can seem omniscient, I am not. Advice columns work on the premise of reasonable expectation. I cannot reasonably respond to a call for help if the call inspires insult rather than empathy. If your future missives contain anything like the following, do not waste precious saliva on an envelope:
- Where should I go on vacation and what should I wear to find that special lady I been looking for all my life while I'm there?
- I can't find my favorite style of panties anymore and I don't know what to do. I've called and written the company repeatedly and each time they told me it has been discontinued. I'm starting to panic. What should I do?
- I really like the color pink and am so happy that it is in this spring. But I am a bit concerned that people will think that I'm just following the trend when I wear it and not expressing a true love of the color and how it symbolizes the inner me. Any ideas on how I might make it clear to people who pass me on the street?
In need of advice? Send all queries and comments to Miss Pinkie Shears at San Francisco Metropolitan, 1776A 18th St, San Francisco, 94107. Miss Shears cannot be reached by phone.
[ San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives ]
From the May 24, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.
Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.