Barbie Entrepreneur, Yay or Nay
I have been watching the initiatives that Barbie is taking to inspire young girls to dream bigger with its tagline “If you can dream it, you can be it”. I love the original quote by Walt Disney (“If you can dream it, you can do it”) and I have used this in our orientation session for our new employees. But what Disney was saying is that it requires ‘action’ to accomplish dreams, which is not the same thing as just instantly ‘becoming it’.
While I am thrilled and excited for Mattel’s ambition, I am both skeptical and supportive of it. Inspiring young girls to be more than ‘pretty face’ has been a personal passion of me for quite some time. I was fortunate enough to have grown up in a family that appreciates strong women. Surrounded by my mother and my older sister who were not only brilliant, but tough without sacrifice, I naturally learned that this was a true way to embrace femininity. Nonetheless, this was only possible because of the understanding and brave father who admired the strong women around him. And what both my father and mother taught me all throughout my childhood is that it requires a lot of work to become successful.
While I think that Entrepreneur Barbie is one of the healthiest representation of the female gender in media in the last few years, I am not sure that this is the best way to broadcast this message. I can’t help but associate Barbie with her exaggerated body figure and aesthetics. Times are changing. I think that a more successful attempt, at least for me, would have been one where they went through a physical update on the dolls along with the campaign, not just the tagline. Barbie looks identical to the way she did 40 years ago. Why not generate a healthier, realistic view of women through their products? It is very dangerous to teach young girls that a successful woman looks and dresses a certain way.
Furthermore, I see a great deal of potential with the new initiatives. Luckily I have professionally grown at a rapid rate. Unfortunately, I can’t help but notice struggles from women left to right in the professional world. Women are often called names and put into stereotypes. You can argue that there is an inevitable difference between men and women and I am not here to disagree with that. There absolutely exists a fundamental difference and that is what makes society so interesting. A group full of only male leaders will never be able to innovate because it ultimately becomes ‘blind leading blind’. A mix is always healthy to a groups of any nature. So how can we work towards a healthy balance between male and female leaders?
I would like to invite some men leaders to join and discuss, however, I feel that women also carry the responsibility to behave like an equal at work. I was watching Miss Representation and it talked about a very sensitive topic that no one has had the courage to reveal. Women see other women as competition. They refuse to help each other. This is very true. Men are much simpler in this regard. While rivalry and competitive nature is a very masculine quality, men help each other all the time. This buddy system allows for men to benefit from each other and consequently succeed together. And if not, let’s punch each other’s face, shake it off and go grab a beer together.
In short, if we could use Barbie, or whatever toy is relevant to children today, to generate a healthy and inspiring way for Girls to become Women, I do have realistic hopes for girls generations to come.
I would like to emphasize that this is purely a personal expression of mine. This, by no means, reflects the opinions of the Company. I would like to invite you to join with your take on this phenomenon. What are your thoughts?