Females Expected to be Wonder Woman

As a consequence of media images of the beautiful woman in a business suit energetically carrying a brief case and baby, Barnard College president Debora Spar warned in her book Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection that her generation (she’s 50), thought that they could do anything. They also thought they should do everything well like TV character Clair Huxtable   Her generation made the mistake of “privatizing feminism” as neoliberal individualism teaches us. When they don’t live up to their standards of perfection, they feel guilty and like failures. Spar observed that as managers, they tend to be more empathetic than men but to care too much about being liked. When Mattel toy company designed a talking Barbie they felt they should reassure girls they don’t have to be wonder girls. Julia Pistor, Mattel vice president explained, ‘‘The subtext that is there that we would not do for boys is: ‘You don’t have to be perfect. It is O.K. to be messy and flawed and silly.’ ’’  The new Barbie also had flat feet instead of high heel feet and less makeup.
James Vlahos, “Barbie Wants to Get to Know Your Child,” New York Times, September 16, 2015.

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