From Voice of the Copts, a site exposing religious bigotry, comes an article on Iran’s objections to Barbie in all her blonde, accessorized glory. Why? Well, the usual feelings towards a doll promoting the clothing of loose moral values, but more importantly Barbie represents the Western ideal woman…or so they think. Barbie has been just as contentious for Western feminists as she has been for Muslim clerics. However, the average American woman and apparently the average Iranian woman don’t really have a problem with the poseable gal. Barbie has infiltrated Iran to the extent that she has become a concern for the government and religion (often tied together in the Middle East).
Feminists, or rather I should say hardline feminists as feminism has diversified since the bra burning days, may want to rethink Barbie. Yes, she’s an unrealistic woman, but then she’s also a toy. The question is, what do Muslim clerics find threatening about Barbie? So much so that the goverment of Iran has come out with “Sara and Dara”, appropriately dressed dolls for little girls, one of them wearing a head scarf. Voice of the Copts quotes a press release from the Islam for Today website saying the dolls promote traditional values (sound familiar?) and pro-family backgrounds. In other words, Sara and Dara should tell little girls their goal in life should be to get married, keep house, produce babies and probably not question male authority.
Barbie in comparison, looks like a powerful woman. She drives a car, plays sports, wears the newest fashions, dates Ken and other men of her choice, and can have a career if she wishes. She is an ideal no Western woman can live up to, but most women settle for part of the Barbie dream. Her toy selection does include “domesticated housewife” kits, but the point is that Barbie can choose. Some women want to stay at home, others like the hustle and bustle of business and others want to juggle both.
I think if Barbie scares Iran, as well as other countries like Saudia Arabia, there’s more to her than shopping and beautiful hair. She seems to be a woman in control, for better or worse.
SIDENOTE: Check out one of Barbie’s careers at Barbie.com: Architect Barbie. Seems like the blonde is expected to have a brain now. Good! Brains and body, a perfect mixture. When are they coming out with Astro Physicist Barbie?