Friday, May 17th, 2013
Feminists in Germany are organizing protests around the opening of a life-sized Barbie-themed house in Berlin, citing gender stereotypes that often follow the famous doll. In February, the first ever Barbie-themed restaurant opened in Taipei, Taiwan, to fanfare and excitement, a very different experience from the Berlin property. More from CNN.com:
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Left-wing feminists are protesting the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience — a 27,000-square-foot lifesized pink estate — opening in Berlin on May 16.
Located off the shopping district of Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Dreamhouse is meant to show off Barbie’s Malibu lifestyle.
The pink mansion is full of rooms showcasing how her makeup, kitchen and wardrobe are put together.
In addition to viewing 350 Barbie dolls and other displays, visitors can strut a long runway, “bake” virtual cupcakes in a pink kitchen or eat real ones in the cafe. And, of course, shell out for dolls and products in the gift shop.
Protestors from the Left Party are up in arms over the sexism and shallow materialism that they argue Barbie symbolizes.
“They present an image of cooking, primping and singing, as if it were in some way life-fulfilling,” Socialist Alternative editor Michael Koschitzki, 27, told German newspaper Der Spiegel.
“The Barbie Dreamhouse is the expression of a conventional role model that isn’t OK,” he said.
Barbie has long been a subject of controversy — with criticisms ranging from sexism to racism to creating body image issues for girls.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Merida, the spunky, wild-haired heroine of the Disney film “Brave,” is set to become Disney’s 11th official princess on May 11. But a makeover of her look has moms and fans incensed and disappointed that Merida’s new appearance puts her in line with stereotypical princess and distances her from what many moms considered to be her status as the first feminist princess. More from The Huffington Post:
For parents who have been frustrated by the messages Disney princesses send to young girls (look pretty, find your prince, live happily ever after), introducing a character like Merida seemed to be a step in a good direction. As HuffPost blogger Kristen Howerton wrote when the film was first released, “‘Brave’ may be considered by many to be the first feminist princess movie. Merida does not pine for a prince to come to her rescue, and solves her own problems without the aid of a suitor.” The character was independent, hada realistic body type, and succeeded sans prince charming. Unsurprisingly, messing with that by giving her a new look is causing an uproar.
A Mighty Girl, a female empowerment website, has launched a petition on Change.org to convince Disney to leave Merida alone. Clearly, she has a loyal fanbase — the petition has almost 19,000 signatures.
The letter on Change.org reads, in part:
“The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.”So far, there has been an outpouring of agreement. Peggy Orenstein, the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter who is often at the forefront of discussions about how princess culture affects young girls, thinks Merida’s makeover sends a terrible message: “In the end, it wasn’t about being brave after all. It was about being pretty,” Orenstein writes on her personal blog.
Image: Merida’s new look (left) and her original appearance (right), via The Huffington Post
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Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Attachment parenting, the parenting philosophy that captured national attention when a controversial Time magazine cover sparked debate, has the support of a high number of self-identified feminists, a new study published in the journal Sex Roles has found.
The study asked mothers and non-mothers–who either did or did not identify themselves as feminists–to rate their level of support of a number of parenting principles, including the length of time children should be breastfed (from not at all to more than 18 months), whether mothers should carry their children in slings or arms as often as possible, and whether parents should co-sleep with their children.
On all of those measures, feminist mothers were most likely to support attachment parenting principles, with non-feminist mothers right behind them, and non-feminist non-mothers the least likely to support the principles.
The findings are intertwined with the perennial question of how to define feminism. The study’s authors, psychologists Miriam Liss and Mindy J. Erchull, write that the self-identified feminists in the study “saw themselves as somewhat atypical feminists who were more interested in attachment parenting than they thought was typical of feminists.”
An analysis from BuzzFeed.com said that Liss and Erchull also found that non-feminist mothers were most likely to believe that the principles of attachment parenting are incompatible with feminism:
Despite finding that feminist moms were more likely to subscribe to attachment-parenting philosophies, the study authors found that non-feminists, especially non-feminist moms, still believed the opposite: that feminism meant you weren’t interested in things like co-sleeping or carrying your baby in a sling. Liss and Erchull wrote, “these stereotypes are consistent with the image of a feminist woman as being less invested in her children and family, perhaps because she is more invested in aspects of her life outside of the home.”
Image: Baby in a sling, via Shutterstock
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