Monday, April 28, 2008

To Barbie or not to Barbie?

I am just home from watching Persepolis, which I can't recommend highly enough. It stirred all sorts of thoughts in me. Which I may blog later if they settle into a firm enough form. They haven't yet. In fact they are so swirly that I am not sure what to make of this story, which was waiting there on the top of the BBC News feed for me when I got in.

Now, I hate Barbie, obviously. I hate the ubiquity of Barbie almost as much as I hate the commodification of the Playboy logo. I hate the way that girlhood is now almost inescapably fuchsia pink and lip-glossed. I think it's constraining and oppressive.

But not as constraining and oppressive as "fix your scarf, sister". Nowhere near. Give me bodily contours, even eating disordered ones, before you give me that.

Still, I am torn.

After, we went for dinner at the just as highly-recommended Al-Shami Lebanese restaurant. They are celebrating 'twenty happy years' this year. A card on each table offers diners in May a bottle of house wine on the house, with a message that says:
"Thank you, Oxford. Thank you Jericho. Thank you, the Arab and Jewish communities. It's great to live together."

They may have got a marketing person to write that, but I don't think so. It brought a little crosscultural tear to my mongrel eye.



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