Who would have thought that a plastic doll with impossibly perfect proportions would end up a feminist icon? I know, I was skeptical too. But our girl Barbie has had quite the empowering glow up over the past 60 years. If you want to see the Barbie spirit in motion, check out the bubbly Bachata dance video made by Casa Latina dance school in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Their beaming smiles and playfulness capture the confidence and community Barbie continues to inspire in women worldwide:
Like all of us, Barbie has gone through phases. She’s tried on different careers, styles, and attitudes. As much as we’ve changed culturally since her debut in 1959, Barbie’s evolution reflects society’s changing perceptions of femininity and women’s expanding roles.
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As a timid teen obsessed with fitting in, I thought Barbie was the epitome of superficial perfection – all sparkles and no substance. But looking back now with more seasoned eyes, I realize she was a pioneer. Barbie showed girls a world of possibilities beyond motherhood and housework. Whether she was a pilot, doctor, or president, Barbie proved women could be anything.
Yet even as her careers pushed boundaries, Barbie’s physique remained unattainably idealized. But over time, her creators have reinvented her body type and style to be more inclusive – curvy Barbies, tall Barbies, Barbies with prosthetic limbs. This pivot toward realistic diversity empowers girls to embrace who they are while reaching for their dreams.
Barbie’s evolution from flashy fashionista to empowered Everywoman culminated in 2023’s movie with the same name as our doll. Watching Margot Robbie embody Barbie’s joyful confidence and defiance of expectations, I was hit with all the nostalgia of playing with my Dream House as a girl. But now with perspective, I saw the true magic of Barbie is how she inspires independence, courage, and belief in one’s boundless potential.
The 2023 film sparked a Barbie renaissance across popular culture. Dance studios started creating “Barbie” themed dance choreographies focused on channelling feminine poise and self-love. Social dance schools hosted “Lady in Pink” or “Barbie and Ken” events for dancing dressed in Barbie glam. For a night, we allow our inner child to play, dress up and move to the beat of her own drum, worries cast away.
Now dancers around the globe leap into dance classes and events wearing pink tutus, leaping and twirling to “Barbie Girl” without care. Each hip swivel and shimmy connects them back to the little girl who would dance around her room dreaming of all she could become.
So laugh if you want at us adults gleefully playing Barbie. But it takes courage to access that unapologetic joy. Barbie reminds women that our power lies not in looks or others’ approval, but in fully embracing ourselves. As Barbie shows, real beauty radiates from within when we dance to the tune of our own destiny.
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