Have you ever been in a meeting where you give a really great idea, and it feels like no one notices, but then a man gives the same idea a few moments later and suddenly the clouds have parted and a beam of magical light is reflecting upon him with all the adoration he's receiving. He gets all the credit for an idea that you developed. This notion of "glossing over" is the subject of the new Barbie vlog, Finding Your Voice with Barbie in celebration of women and Barbie's 60th Anniversary, and it's spurring young people the world over to stand up and be counted.
For more than half a century, Barbie has been a staple of playrooms all over the world, and since her inception, Barbie has evolved. (Much like women and feminism if we're keeping with the theme.) Where she was once only a buxom representation of womanhood meant to dress up and prance around with her boyfriend Ken, she is now more shapes and sizes, a serious career woman who has been everything from an astronaut to an actor to a veterinarian, and she's even been President. Now, Barbie has launched a series of YouTube vlogs sure to inspire an entire generation of children, allowing them to celebrate their uniqueness and their voice. In this one timed for International Women's Day, Find Your Voice, Barbie tells girls it's time to take up their space.
My 7-year-old is absolutely obsessed with Barbie and her vlogs. It's a true creative outlet for my little one. Her dolls have such a rich personal life that sometimes I wonder where she gets all of these ideas. Right now, her dolls are living the camper life, traveling around, communally raising their children. All of her Barbies have very interesting names and careers. Currently, her favorite Barbie is named "Cherry," and Cherry and her wife are both traveling veterinarians who make their living by making YouTube pet videos and designing their own line of compostable wee wee pads. (I am not kidding even a little bit.) Rest assured, there is no man to gainsay those ladies in any meeting.
Unfortunately, that world is imaginary, and it's all too easy to consider a scenario my daughter may soon enter where her ideas aren't valued because of her gender. It happens so young. Research has shown that girls/young femmes stop speaking up for themselves as early as adolescence, reported the University of South Florida. This is a conditioning that lasts throughout adulthood. Barbie wants to change that. Not just with dressing dolls differently, but by engaging with children where they live — YouTube.
"The overall message is that when women speak up for each other, they summon the strength and power to stay in the conversation," the press release for the vlog noted. "This International Women's Day, Barbie wants girls to know that women and girls should always push to have their voices heard." This is crucial because sometimes, even in a crowd of strong, intelligent women, our words become lost, drowned by the cacophony of history that has told us to be less than, be quiet, acquiesce to the masculine voice.
That is nothing we want for our daughters. We want them to be heard — we want their voices valued and their words uplifted. We, like Barbie want us all to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, in defiance of what we have been fed by those who would see us silent. YouTube is the medium of our children, the access point of learning and of recreation, and Finding Your Voice with Barbie is perhaps only a tilt in the direction of our better natures. But sometimes a tilt is all it takes to send everything crashing in new directions. Go, Barbie, go.
And if your kids, like most, are looking to YouTube Kids for content, they can get extra excited. For the month of March, Barbie will be a YouTube Kids editor thanks to her influence of over 108 million views. Her takeover will go live March 8, so if you're looking for the ultimate playlist of inspiring videos, Barbie's your girl. (Seriously, she's always your girl.)