Well here's an update since my last blog -- I am now officially allowed back into Barbie World. I don't know if maybe there was a glitch or what? I no longer feel like a total creep which is good and now I can explore around more to truly examine and write this blog about gender.
Happy 4th of July everyone! While exploring around Barbie World I entered a room where the Barbie who lived in the room demand everyone to wear red, white, and blue to enter. She blocked the entrance to her room with three red, white, and blue garbage cans. Here is a screen shot of my 4th of July look, and of the room with the red, white, and blue cans blocking the entrance. I changed my look and hair to see if people would communicate with me differently but as I am coming to find out the topic of communication is pretty lame in Barbie World. No one really talks and if they do it’s typically about clothes and physical appearance.
Gender is defined as what is in between your ears while sex is defined as what is in between your legs. Gender has to do with the ideas of femininity and masculinity and what someone thinks of them self. Gender is also socially constructed by talking with others, and determining how others view you. Gender is overall how someone views them self in terms of being feminine or masculine. There are many biological males who feel very feminine rather than masculine and many females who feel more masculine than feminine. An example of this would be a cross-dresser or drag queen. They are biologically males but feel feminine so they dress in female clothing like dresses and skirts and wear makeup. Gender is a hard thing to decipher especially in Virtual Barbie. I cannot really talk to these avatars about how they view their own gender or what they think of gender in general and it’s hard to tell just from an avatars appearance.
In Barbie World every avatar has to be female so there is no room for cross-dressing or gender changes. While adventuring around a lot of the world is pink and very feminine music is playing in the back ground. When communicating with other avatars I tend to find that they focus a lot on appearance including clothes and accessories. In one of the avatars rooms I visited they even had a mirror contest. The Barbies would take turn sitting in front of the mirror and then the other Barbies would say things like “you’re so pretty” and stuff like that. This is just implying that all females must be feminine and that if a biological female feels more masculine then it is not allowed/accepted. Many girls who enter this world are just learning that the ultimate idea of femininity is all about pink, butterflies, clothes, makeup, and ultimately girlhood. A girl who felt more inclined to playing sports and was a “tom boy” could possibly feel ashamed of her interests because it is nonconventional to what a “normal, feminine, girl” enjoys. I think this virtual world plays into the idea of ultra femininity, and that all girls have to be totally feminine and not at all masculine to be accepted. You can’t engage in physical sports in Barbie World and never come into contact with anything pertaining to masculinity. Virtual worlds like this can be sending messages to young children on how to behave based upon their sex when maybe their gender is telling them something different. This can lead to many unhappy people in our society. An example could be a male who feels like a woman (gender) but is trapped in a male body (sex). Learning what gender is supposed to go with which sex at a young age can lead many people to feel lost and unaccepted in the world.
Here's a fun photo of an AWESOME chair I found in someone's room. (This has nothing to do with gender, I just thought it was nifty!)
How do you think gender is portrayed in our contemporary media? Do you think we are exposed to enough stories about drag queens, gays, and bisexuals? Do you think that if our popular media included more gays, transsexuals, bisexuals, and cross dressers we would find it more accepting and in return not judge people who fall into these categories as much? Do you think people should be more exposed to the idea of gender, and what it actually means?