Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I'm NOT a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world!

Was just going to throw this catalogue (should that be cata-lol-ogue?) advertising clerical gear in the recycling bag when I saw this photo again and had to share:

I guess it's pretty much par for the course in "forward" churchy thinking, but seriously? Blue for a boy and pink for a girl (with icky sweet shorty-short sleeves)? In the 21st century, what were they thinking?

OK, so yes, I do own and wear a pink clerical. Yes with short sleeves. In fact I still have the ones I've had since I was ordained in 1999, made before I was a probationer c1996, hand-stitched by a company in Yorkshire and made to last!

But I also have a blue one. And a yellow one. And a green one, several black ones and one of a weird washed-out shade that was dyed like that accidentally when my washing machine broke and the shirt found itself unexpectedly stewing for hours with non-colourfast band t-shirts, socks and other more colourful fabrics!

This photo made me laugh. One of those slightly manic, others-might-despair sort of laughs. Nice shirts, though, no doubt. Just saying. Suppose we should just be grateful to be pictured at all! 

On the same theme, this wonderful photo that's been doing the rounds of the Facebook-Tumblr-Twitter-sphere. You've probably seen it by now. It's an advert for Body Shop challenging society's idea of ideal female beauty and perfection. It's powerful and so spot-on. 

Sadly, the advert was apparently banned when Barbie INC, who own the rights to the Barbie imagery, decided it didn't reflect well on them. That's why it's now being shared and reblogged all over the social networks to stop the usual "pretty in pink" message being the only one getting across to vulnerable men and women who feel pressurised to conform to society's phoney norms.

To misquote the lyrics of Aqua's European hit "Barbie Girl":

'I'm NOT a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world,
Wrapped in plastic, it's NOT fantastic.'

It won't be fantastic, till we all learn to value everybody for who they are, just as they are, and give each other a little respect. Not damaging each other with stereotypes, labels and unhelpful nonsense pushing people into 'little boxes made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same' (Malvina Reynolds, lyrics to "Little Boxes" a hit for Pete Seeger in 1963).

Rant over. Pink shirt alongside the blue in the closet.

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