LOS ANGELES -- Since Barbie first entered the workforce modeling her iconic black and white swimsuit in 1959, she's gone on to pursue meaningful employment as a police officer, yoga instructor, dolphin trainer, football coach, paleontologist, paratrooper, surgeon and Canadian Mountie.
This week -- after serving a brief tour of duty as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model -- Barbie set her unblinking eyes on a new career, using the misshapen discs that she calls hands to peck out an op-ed on the topic of modern feminism.
"My bathing suit now hangs beside a Presidential power suit, Pastry Chef hat, and Astronaut gear in a wardrobe reflecting the more than 150 careers I've pursued to illustrate for girls that they can achieve anything for which they aim," Barbie wrote in a piece that received prominent placement on the prestigious Barbie-related news outlet BarbieCollector.com. "And yet, I am still seen as just a pretty face. It's simpler to keep me in a box -- and since I am a doll -- chances are that's where I'll stay."
Time to update your resume, Barbie! You've just got a new job as a Barbie I Can Be ...(TM) Internet Troll, a sadistic garbage person posting to the Internet under the fictional persona of an emaciated teenage swimsuit model made out of molded plastic. You creep.
Last time we heard from Barbie, she said stuff like, "I love being a fashion model," "Would you like to go shopping?" and "What shall I wear to the prom?" She's since mastered the sophisticated vocabulary necessary to pontificate on why the real thing holding back women today are the women who think the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is holding women back. When did Barbie learn to talk like that? (Maybe when Mattel's 90.9 percent white male leadership team recruited her to serve as a pawn in its Machiavellian corporate strategy to profit off the ambitions and insecurities of young girls?)
"Barbie dolls aren't the problem," wrote the cabal of old white men speaking through a diminutive facsimile of a human woman who appears never to age and storms recklessly through important jobs for which she is woefully underqualified. "Models choosing to pose in a bikini aren't the problem. The assumption that women of any age should only be part of who they are in order to succeed is the problem ... It's time to stop boxing in potential. Be free to launch a career in a swimsuit, lead a company while gorgeous, or wear pink to an interview at MIT." Finally, Barbie has been freed to indulge in her psychopathic side, while also being beautiful, and an astronaut, and dainty, and a cop, and hot, and the president. And sexy and a special-education teacher and cute and a dentist and sensual and a firefighter. What a relief that some brave soul has finally given girls permission to be all these totally verboten things.
"Today, truly anything is possible for a girl," the unfeeling hulk of molded plastic continued. "The reality of today is that girls can go anywhere and be anything." Well, anywhere except the top of Mattel.
• Hess is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. She blogs for DoubleX on sex, science and health. Tweet at her amandahess.