Last semester I took a ULLC class about Political cartoons and I recently found some that pertain to Barbie’s recent 50 year anniversary. The political cartoon that I found on Daryl Cagle’s website does two things: they show how much of a role model Barbie has been in terms of beauty gender expectations for women and they mock how obsessed America’s women have become about retaining beauty. Both of these messages secure the common stereotype that beauty and looks should be of the main concern for women all across the country.
The cartoon depicts a woman looking at the “Botox Barbie” that her daughter has handed her. On one hand, the little girl wants the doll because its Barbie, on the other hand, it’s making the mother think about her own beauty and if she does or doesn’t need to get botox herself to stay looking young and fresh, just like Barbie does at age 50. The cartoon also pokes fun at the intense expectations of women in the US to keep their beauty. Does the mother need botox? Probably not, but there’s a societal pressure for her to look good as a woman–and after all, if her childhood role model is doing it, then why shouldn’t she?
Lowe, C. (Artist). Barbie turns 50. (Cartoon). (2009, May 7). May 4, 2009, from http://www.cagle.com/news/Barbie50/3.asp
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.