Barbie Girl Song
Art is a window into the heart of a culture. It can show both values and fears that a group of people may hold. It can say what is beautiful or useful or treasured. Sometimes the art demonstrates something the artist did not know was true about himself. If any of those statements are true, then the Barbie girl song sheds some light on two interesting facets of American culture.
It is no secret that Americans are obsessed with beauty. The Barbie girl song may have been born because of that obsession. Not long ago, protesters demanded a change in Barbie's measurements because she gave even young girls poor self esteem. Beautiful women are plastered all over billboards, movie screens and television advertisements. The first statement that the Barbie girl song makes about American culture with its lyrics is that women in this country are increasingly falsifying and sexualizing themselves.
The lyrics of the Barbie girl song reference plastic surgery and the popularity of sex. The singer sounds like a brainless young woman without a thought past the superficial. The popularity of the Barbie girl song may testify to the public's approval of such values, or it may demonstrate something entirely different.
The Barbie girl song is no doubt whimsical. It is not in the least a serious
commentary. Instead, it makes fun of its own content. Rather than encouraging
young girls to adhere to unrealistic standards of beauty or to give up their
bodies in exchange for a party, it tells them to challenge the ridiculousness
of such requests. The second statement that the Barbie girl song makes is
that a new generation of America is not going to follow or repeat the old
generation's obsessions and mistaken identities. It not only points out the
problems with our perceptions of women, it shows us how silly those perceptions