The other night after catching up with the news channels, which in our house involves channel surfing between CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, I made this comment to my husband, “Why do all the women journalists look like Barbie, and the men look nothing like Ken?” My husband smiled, “Eye candy.” I said, “Where’s my eye candy?” This launched a discussion about gender expectations.
I grew up in the era of Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug, strong women speaking out against objectifying women. My friends and I embraced the message of the Feminist Movement; that a women’s value did not depend on the size of her breasts but on the size of her brains. Certainly the women journalists that are currently employed by the media are intelligent as well as beautiful, but unfortunately, that is about one percent of the population. What happens the the ninety-nine percent of intelligent women who want to become journalists, but who resemble Midge more than Barbie? This is Babe Discrimination! Have we as a culture regressed? What sort of message does this send to our girls?
My wonderful husband brought up a significant point: the media is sending this message, not men. He claims that most guys do not want a Barbie doll. He said there’s nothing more annoying to men than waiting for two hours while Barbie does her hair and make-up. Men want a woman who can laugh and have a drink without re-applying their lipstick every few minutes. A woman who will dive head first into the lake without a care for her hair. A woman who is real. A woman who is a companion.
I calmed down. I like being Midge, not Barbie, and I’m happy my husband is more like Allan than Ken.