The toy maker, Mattel is putting Barbie in the Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in an attempt to promote sales. Barbie will appear in a version of the black-and-white bathing suit she wore for her 1959 debut. Some people are upset because the swimsuit issue demeans women and Barbie’s unrealistic proportions send an unhealthy message to young girls. She won’t be on the cover and she’ll be wearing more than the real life models that wear suits made of dental floss and strike a provocative pose. Unlike Barbie they will be airbrushed to remove cellulite, acne and anything that seems even remotely humanly realistic. They will be airbrushed to within an inch of their life to create the illusion that sells magazines.

Growing up I played with Barbie’s and stripped naked every single one. I’m not sure why I denied Barbie clothes (especially when it was 2 degrees,) but I did. Barbie owned elegant evening gowns, sportswear and appropriate cold weather attire, all which hung neatly in her closet. There were times, depending on the story line I created for her that I’d dress her for her stage debut, but once her scene was over I’d undress her and hang the clothes back in the closet.

Looking back now, I realize the difference about Barbie’s closet and my closet is she didn’t need a sorting system for her clothes. She was able to wear all her clothes, all the time. In my closet I have a ‘Fit and wear now’ section. I also have a ‘Don’t fit – ate too many donuts’ section. I also have a ‘What in the world was I thinking when I bought it’ section. And in the way, way back, waiting to be worn, I have the ‘Illusion’ section. This section consists of clothes I bought thanks to the model in a magazine that was airbrushed, 6 feet, 2 inches and weighed 90 pounds. I look at those clothes and think they were just like buying clothes for my Barbie – a waste of money.

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