In the Blog

Barbie Loves MAC

March 14th, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

Now don’t get me wrong, I am of the feminist leaning that loves to slap on the make-up and a mini-dress, throw on the high heels al la high femme and blow far too many non-profit earned dollars on a dye job, but for some reason the latest spring line at MAC cosmetics got my thong panties in a knot. MAC, a Canadian company primarily famed for it’s gender-bending and drag-queen friendly take on high glam cosmetics, has recruited none other than our favourite antifeminist icon, Barbie, to sell its wares:

“Many women’s first experiences with fashion and beauty were playing with Barbie. Today this fantasy continues with Barbie Loves MAC, a color collection that allows women to rediscover their inner girl,” said Richard Dickson, senior vice president of Marketing, Media and Entertainment, Worldwide, Mattel. “Barbie is about aspiration and inspiring girls to explore a world of possibilities, and now today’s woman can do that in beauty with the Barbie Loves MAC collection.”

Um, thanks Richard.

But, well, excuse me? Barbie is all about aspiration? Aspiration to do what? Drive a pink Corvette and win over Ken with an unrealistic and anatomically absurd figure? An aspiration to realize and tell the world that “Math is hard?” or wonder “Will we ever have enough clothes?”

All these warped ideals of female beauty from a company that has seemingly been about social responsibility, been a champion for AIDS related causes and has commonly used less than typical models as style icons in their advertising campaigns. I mean come on, Ru Paul was the first face of MAC. The print campaign itself is perhaps the most disturbing part of the partnership, it’s visuals of vacant “doll-like” models staring absently into a void.

All I can say is that I’m a little disappointed. And I’m not the only one: Susan Wagner at Blogher says, “Unlike RuPaul, who was entirely self created (a man who becomes a woman through sheer force of will and great makeup and clothes), Barbie is a plastic mock-up of an unattainable female form. The models in the new Barbie Loves MAC ad campaign are styled to look like dolls; their facial expressions are vacant and frankly, a little frightening… this line will most certainly appeal to young women, specifically ‘tweens. It is naive for anyone to think that Barbie makeup will not be incredibly enticing to girls who are teetering on the brink between playing with Barbie and making themselves up to look like her.”

Are we going backwards, or is it just me?barbie-copy.jpg

Tags: body politics, media savvy

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