by V.S. Stinger
30 April 2005
[From Instauration, February 1998]
The latest outrage perpetrated by feminists, especially those with pans like the pan-faced Betty Friedan, is what they're doing to Barbie. They are raping that Aryan image of female perfection because she glows with an iconic beauty impossible for women to achieve. Imposing such unduplicatable standards of perfection, we are told, destroys female self-esteem.
Why should all these Chosenite uglies lambaste Barbie and roast her on a spit of spite? Because, they say, she creates a feeling of inferiority in all womankind.
Since Barbie represents an impossible ideal, she automatically sows seeds of low self-esteem in little girls. Come to think of it, why didn't they shoot Grace Kelly in the cradle, before she had a chance to intimidate all those shanty Irish with her Nordic beauty? Surely her untimely death was a boost to every female's self-esteem. So why don't we give a medal to the murderer of JonBenet ramsey, for didn't he/she save a lot of little girls from low self-esteem?
Who said that women -- especially feminists -- are not logical? Who said that the male executives of Mattel wree spineless? Because they merely manufacture toys, does that mean that money shouldn't be priority #1? Who said that American public opinion was stalwart against facial warts? So Mattel, the makers of Barbie, caved. They agreed to produce a new, politically corrected, less intimidating version of Barbie.
The new Barbie will have a thicker waist to store more waste. But how close to a beer keg will she have to become not to threaten Roseanne? The new Barbie will be shorter. But how short will she have to be to raise Dr. Ruth's self-esteem? The new Barbie will have smaller and fallen breasts and peasant thunder thighs. but how many pounds will she have to gain not to threaten Bella Abzug's buxom beauty?
Can't you see it now? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw Sharon Stones. Can't you see th Candice Bergens of the world speeding off to their plastic surgeons to get a crook or a hook put into their noses? What happens to liposuction and breast implants? As well as ruining the toy industry, do the feminists also hope to impoverish every plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and Brighton Beach?
But why stop with noses? If you really want to raise a little girl's self-esteem, why not give her a real dose of middle-age realit? Why not destroy her childhood fantasies altogether? Why not endow the new Barbie with varicose veins, stretch marks and the dish-lips favored by African Ubangis?
Down with Venus de Milo, because she's perfect, despite her two amputated arms. Down with the Discus Thrower by Myron. Who throws discs anymore, when all the money is in basketball, even if you lose a few megabucks by wringing the neck of your "racist" coach? Down with Michelangelo's David, the Renaissance ideal of male adolescence. Shame on broken-nosed Michelangelo for projecting his Roman-nosed ideal onto posterity. And shame on those sculptors who don't use Danny DeVito instead of Robert Redford as their model for the male ideal. And to make sure he doesnt' create performance anxiety in men (and moist fantasies in women), let's "improve" David by patching on a pot belly, a hook nose and the round-shouldered slouch of a scholarly rabbi. And, since this is a Hebrew hero we're enhancing here, why not give him a medical degree or a Michael Milken flair for junk bonds, deception and bankruptcy? The prospect fills me with male self-esteem. Who wouldn't prefer to look like Peewee Herman rather than Brad Pitt?
A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for? All of us are standing in the mud, but some are reaching for the stars. Man may be the measure of all things, but God is the immeasurable length of man's longing.
Speaking of God, if Barbie represents an impossible ideal of perfection, what about God, the uncaused first cause, that image of perfection we should all emulate? Shouldn't Jesus, at least, have a few wens, a few peekaboo imperfections, to make Him more imitable? (When was the last time you walked on water, multiplied loaves and fishes or were resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven? What was God thinking, to have created such an impossible ideal? No wonder so many choose to worship the devil.)
Italians of the Renaissance perfected the Greek notion of art as mimesis (an imitation of reality). Aristotle saw everything in nature as striving to achieve perfection. The oak tree keeps producing crop after crop of acorns not to feed and produce the perfect pig, but in the deathless and undeviating hope ov eventually producing the perfect oak tree. Mankind is constantly striving to reproduce perfection in its progreny. (What the Greeks called teleology, today we might call evolution.) The point is that everything in nature is striving to achieve an ideal. Each species is struggling to attain a flawless paradigm of its own kind. Aquinas and other philosophers of the Middle Ages called God the flawless form that encompassed all the other forms of divinity. As English poet and lexicographer Dr. Johnson once said: The purpose of art is not to paint the stripes on the tulip, but the picture of the tulip as a whole. A gentleman in the 18th century did not wear high heels and a powdered wig to keep his head warm, any more than a woman wore a corset to improve her breathing. The idea was to mimic perfection, to "anticipate" nature in the perfection it was trying to achieve. Now we laugh at perfection and powdered wigs; that's called democracy. So why do women continue to wear makeup, pantyhose and tah-rah-rah boostee-ays?
Should Shakespeare be extolled as a paradigm for poets? In order to salvage one's self-esteem, shouldn't poetry doggedly be dumbed down to doggerel and greeting-card verse? Would that idealized vision of immortal woman, Mona Lisa, look less intimidating with warts and a mustache? Instead of David, would you choose a naked statue of Yitsuck Shamir to represent ideal manhood? To each his own, but my self-esteem is lifted, not depressed, by projections of the ideal form, male or female.
What would it take to return Michael Jackson to his original state of nature? Was he trying to perfect the acorn through all that bleaching and plastic surgery? Would it really be an improvement of the ideal to have David slay Goliath while the Hebrew hero was decked out with a broad flat nose, kinky hair and an organ politically corrected by Lorena Bobbitt? Would you feel better about yourself (not to mention the human race), if Ronald Colman and Errol Flynn were politically corrected to look like Yaphet Kotto or Dennis Rodman? Would you denominate Alan Greenspan and Arik Sharon as models of male beauty?
If you need to denigrate Barbie in order to raise your self-esteem, you may lose whatever self-esteem you had.