Not without controversy, Barbie hasn’t always had it easy. From the very beginning, she was criticized for promoting unrealistic body image. Barbies response was to publish a book “How to lose weight”, providing the simple instruction “Don’t Eat”. As she grew into her teenage years, she again drew criticism based on her lack of diversity. She reacted much more comprehensively this time around, launching several different cultures and colors of Barbie, including celebrations of ethnic holidays around the globe such as Cinco de Mayo Barbie. But she still wasn’t as thorough as one would hope, many of the supposed nationalities of Barbie we’re simply the same Barbie in a different color, and not genuinely featured. Of course Oreo Barbie didn’t exactly help here.
This absolutely egregious level of political incorrectness achieved by a simple child’s toy is truly impressive. Even more impressive is Barbie’s popularity in the face of all this in your face with any want of wholesomeness. According to Wikipedia, Barbie is by far Mattel’s most profitable product line. Perhaps we just couldn’t help ourselves from admiring Barbie’s perpetual rebellion against social norms.
And so Barbie endures as one of our fonder childhood memories. A pop culture icon now, she has long been the inspiration of art music and photography in the nostalgia genre. She’s even partnered with another nostalgia icon in the Polaroid 600 camera, Barbie edition. So now we can quick capture nostalgia with our nostalgia, so meta.
Barbie notwithstanding, the everyday life of children’s toys typically seems about as mundane as weekend chores or geography homework. But the seemingly mundane aspects day-to-day life, ubiquitous to our shared human condition, can sometimes later become the memories that really matter. There’s no better illustration of this then Robert Franks 1958 book The Americans. He ventured out in the height of the documentary photo craze to capture everyday life all across America. Intentionally seeking out and capturing ordinary moments, the characters and backstories of folks in his imagery shines through. His extra-ordinary efforts to photograph the ordinary life gifts us with timeless nostalgia in his photo book today.
Isn’t it the same for all of us? The common human element of our day-to-day lives that seem mundane in the moment become the memories that we cherish in our future photo albums. Selfies with your besties at the house party last weekend. A quick snap of your kids soccer game. Or a chance sunset after a long day at the office.
It’s not the photo of the story, but the story of the photo that resonates with us for a long lasting impact and sometimes even life-changing perspective. We here at MX-Fusion love storytelling photographs, and even more so when amplified by the emotions of music!
Now let’s enjoy a fusion for Aqua | Barbie Girl: