“It’s a Barbie world; wrapped in plastic, it’s fantastic!” My sisters and I recently attempted to sing karaoke to this 90’s hit. I never thought about the words to the song when I was younger; I just liked the reference to Barbie. Now that I am older, I believe I am wiser…or maybe my opinions have grown stronger.
Nothing seems real on women anymore. I have to remind myself as I look through selfies on Facebook, Instagram and other social media: That’s not their real hair, those are false eyelashes, not their original nose, or lips; their foreheads don’t move and they can hardly smile. Their boobs are inserted with bags of who-knows-what and skin is cut from the outside all the way into their inside. Things are added and things are taken away. Women tan to look like they live in perpetual summer, fake nails, whiten teeth, and makeup….
What are mom’s going to tell their daughters about aging? “After you have kids your boobs are going to sag to your belly button. But don’t worry sweetheart, you can get implants and perk those puppies right on up!” or how about “Life will give you wrinkles but you can have a Botox party at your house. It will be so much fun! You can invite all your friends and serve wine and big girl drinks! It will be ‘the’ party with lots of laughs while someone injects your skin with chemicals that will make you look like a character frozen in Elsa’s ice storm.”
But, I am a hypocrite. I want to look and feel pretty. I wear makeup and color my hair. I even whiten my teeth occasionally to combat the evidence of a daily cup of coffee. In all fairness, that’s being fake, too, right? I want long lashes and a flat tummy. Sure, I would like that wrinkle across my forehead to vanish into Neverland and the bumps of cellulite to take a long overdue hike back to Hades. Perfectly styled hair every morning would be fabulous and a plump pout in place of my thin lips would look ahhh-mazing. If someone could vacuum my muffin top, I would wear cute little shirts instead of trying to hide what childbirth left behind. As much as I want these things, I think about how I feel when I see a post on Facebook where a woman is posing for a selfie showing off her recent botox, or new hair and eyelash extensions. And don’t get me started on plastic surgery. Sure, I am jealous. I would like perky boobs and my stomach made smaller so I didn’t eat as much. Like I said, I am envious but also fearful. For some women, these alterations to their bodies must be done for various health reasons. I understand, and that is not what I am referring to here. In fact, a little bit doesn’t bother me. What makes me frightened is that women believe that it’s not pretty to age; and I feel myself wanting to jump on the bandwagon. Our obsession with a better version of ourselves has rendered us unrecognizable and has set unrealistic standards for women. We no longer look like who we truly are. All the while, little girls watch at home as their mommies host a botox party or as Mommy flaunts her new boobs and tummy job in a skimpy bikini. Impressionable young girls are growing up believing and feeling the pressure that they have to do the same thing, and soon, we will be living in a Barbie world; wrapped in plastic.