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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
76th Speaker of the Senate Marcus Glass, left, poses with incoming 77th Speaker of the Senate Ava Blackburn.
Student leaders reflect on years of service in final Student Senate meeting
Justice Jenson, Senior News Reporter • April 18, 2024

The Student Government Association wrapped up its 76th session by giving out awards such as the Senator, Committee and Statesman of the Year...

Freshman Tiago Pires reaches to return the ball during Texas A&M’s match against Arkansas on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)
No. 14 Aggies receive early exit from SEC Tournament
Matthew Seaver, Sports Writer • April 19, 2024

The No. 14 Texas A&M men’s tennis team fell to the No. 44 LSU Tigers 4-3 in a down-to-the-wire duel on Thursday, April 18. Facing off at...

Julia Cottrill (42) celebrating a double during Texas A&Ms game against Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Muffled the Mean Green
April 17, 2024
Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
Orchestrating a century-old tradition
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor • April 18, 2024

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of...

(Graphic by Ethan Mattson/The Battalion)
Opinion: ‘Fake Money,’ real change
Eddie Phillips, Opinion Writer • April 19, 2024

Us Aggies live privileged existences: companies beg us to take on tens of thousands in loans.  I know this may sound contradictory, but the...

Opinion: Plastic feminism

Barbie isn’t the empowering icon she’s branded as today
Graphic by Corynn Young/The Battalion
Does Barbie actually empower women? Opinion writer Isabella Garcia says Mattel’s doll has relegated the feminist movement to a commodity. (Graphic by Corynn Young/The Battalion)

We all know the usual feminist icons touted during Women’s History Month — Simone de Beauvoir, Ida B. Wells, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Frida Kahlo, to name a few. They and countless others are celebrated for their astounding contributions to the feminist movement, from breaking boundaries in the art industry to revolutionizing the role of women in society. 

But what about those who negatively contributed? Namely, icons who may have claimed to support the movement but in reality subverted it. 

I’m talking about you, Barbie. 

Before this fabulous blonde came along in the 1950s, most girls played with baby dolls that conditioned them into being mothers and reinforced their caregiving role in society.

Barbie, however, changed the status quo. Her first big break in the fashion industry was a real job — and with that came money to spend. But you couldn’t just buy Barbie without buying all her outfits to model as well, and it was through this spending embedded in her product that Barbie directly modeled the late 1950s developing teen culture. Young girls didn’t just have to aspire to motherhood anymore but instead could begin to associate adulthood with indulgent consumption. 

Barbie’s origins weren’t empowering so much as commercialistic, but who’s to say people can’t change? From going to the moon to becoming the first female president, she really has set a wonderful example for girls all across the nation. 


The role of the middle-class woman has substantially changed since the 1960s and so has Barbie’s. She is now a zoologist, doctor, athlete, construction worker, chef, engineer, ballerina, yoga instructor and everything in between. The barbie of today is no longer just a shopper — but you still are. How else do you expect Barbie to perform experiments if you don’t buy her lab equipment? How can she save lives if you don’t drop almost a hundred dollars on her ambulance and hospital accessories kit? After all, you don’t want your little girls to have only one dream job, do you? Remember, girls can do lots and lots of anything! 

Whether it’s in the form of outfits, playsets or dream houses, to purchase a Barbie is to purchase a Barbie identity. In other words, any Barbie can be reduced to only what she owns — and by partaking in such consumerism, that’s all we are too.

It’s pretty obvious now that these corporations are simply folding the language of progress and diversity into their Barbie products, but it doesn’t stop with her 250 different jobs. 

Mattel launched Barbie in “petite, tall and curvy” body types, but if you take a closer look, all we’ve got is classic skinny, short skinny, tall skinny and slim thick — who, by the way, is still smaller than real “curvy” women. Throwing in a couple of “diverse” shades and different fonts of the same skinny body type doesn’t exactly scream progress, and the majority of what’s actually on store shelves is still classic Barbie. 

Even if Mattel wanted to truly promote diversity and body positivity, isn’t it a little hypocritical to be selling official Barbie anti-wrinkle cream, anti-bump serum and makeup at the same time? These products reinforce the idea our natural bodies are imperfect and can only be considered as perfect as Barbie’s by consuming them. Apparently, our teeth are ugly too. 

Nonetheless, they persist. 

Numerous Barbies modeled after inspiring women such as Amelia Earheart, Sally Ride and Rosa Parks have been released throughout the years. At first glance, these astounding women obviously must serve as excellent role models for young girls — assuming they can afford them in the first place. Though I’m pretty sure most girls can learn how to paint on their own without dropping $200 on a yassified Frida Kahlo Barbie. 

Barbie wants us to feel good about ourselves, but we must first purchase her official Barbie products. She wants us to reify her world of female empowerment, but not without her hundreds of expensive accessories and kits. All it takes is for companies to lather Barbie in technicolored feminism monogrammed with pink bold logos and artsy, self-aware messaging to placate society into thinking she’s empowering. 

We cannot fall for it.  

As consumers in a capitalist society, we love to feel like we can shop our way through social justice, but what we don’t realize is this feeling arises from faux-feminist marketing designed to give the illusion that our purchases result in tangible change. Advancement in historically male-dominated occupations is commodified into accessories. Radical feminist messages are diminished to “You can do it too” and plastered all over merchandise. Powerful movements become nothing more than mass-manufactured, packaged toys to be purchased.

It’s not feminism; it’s a plastic doll. Plastic feminism, if you will.  

Isabella Garcia is an economics sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Garcia
Isabella Garcia, Opinion Writer
Isabella Garcia is an Economics sophomore from San Antonio, Texas and has been an opinion writer for The Battalion since June 2023. After graduation, Isabella intends to earn a J.D. and pursue a career in corporate law.
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    Jeffrey CheungMar 5, 2024 at 11:21 pm