• Wed, Aug 7 - 10:15 am ET

Let’s Stop Calling Female Politicians “Barbie,” But While We’re At It, How About A Pro-Choice Barbie?

Rick Perry Calls Texas Legislature Back For Special Second Session

My favorite thing about this morning is nothing, because a professional troll of a man called Texas State Senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie.” Let’s start at the beginning.

Stupid, factually inaccurate, poorly-researched, ill-informed, and irresponsible publication The Weekly Standard has begun a smear campaign against Davis and her activism for abortion access by attempting to link legal, safe abortions to the horrifying crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. In case you need a refresher, Eve Vawter had a great piece explaining that Gosnell was not an abortion provider so much as a crazed murderer over at our sister site, Mommyish, and here’s an important takeaway:

It’s a horrific case, and one that I’m sure many abortion doctors and their staff are equally appalled by. This case can’t be used as a weapon in the war against choice, it can only be used as an example of a horrible doctor providing horrible “care.”

Gosnell’s horrific crimes are not at all a demonstration of pro-choice ideas. In fact, most of Gosnell’s patients had no other options, so it’s not a stretch to say that anti choice legislation that limits access to safe, legal abortions lead women to seek out unsafe procedures from psychos like Gosnell.

I have strayed from my original point. At an event of the National Press Club, The Weekly Standard asked Davis to address “claims that there is no difference between some types of legal abortion and the crimes of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell.” When she declined to address that incredible fallacy, The Standard published an attack on Davis.

Here’s where things get exciting. Fox News contributor and human cartoon bully Erick Erickson tweeted a link to The Standard’s story and this gem:


As Media Matters points out, Erickson has an exciting twitter history full of poor judgement, including “directing liberals to a coat hanger sales site after a restrictive Texas abortion bill passed.” Ten points for your hilarity, sir. Minus ten zillion points for ignorance.

It’s obviously problematic to equate Wendy Davis with Barbie–it’s a demeaning, marginalizing, and gendered insult that’s not particularly creative. Erickson is trying to make her look dumb based on her appearance, and it’s amazing how easily he can write off an intelligent, successful woman by pointing out she’s an attractive blonde. I feel an aneurysm coming on.

Here’s what I do want to talk about: how cool would it actually be to have a Pro-Choice Barbie? What about Abortion Provider Barbie? If Barbie can be a doctor, astronaut, pancake chef, part of an Arctic rescue team, French, or a mermaid, why can’t she provide safe and legal abortions? Or, what if Barbie disclosed that she in fact had an abortion at one point, and look at all that she’s accomplished because she was legally entitled to agency and choice over her own body and future? According to the Guttmacher Institute, “nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.” Given these statistics, it’s not unlikely that Barbie would have had an unintended pregnancy that could very well have ended in abortion. Then again, Barbie’s been to outer space and has served as a US President, so I guess she’s pretty good at beating the odds.

Barbie’s a powerhouse because she can be professionally successful as well as instilling unrealistic expectations for women’s bodies into the minds of our youth. How about we have her do something positive for women’s bodies for once? “Abortion Barbie” may have been a ham-fisted, artless insult aimed at one of our most promising advocates, but it’s a Barbie I’d happily buy for my future children.

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  • Katie

    Well you’ve just forced me to write an angry reply on a 5 month old article…so thanks for that link.

    And when I first read his tweet, I totally thought he was talking about a real Barbie. Like what! They have an abortion Barbie now?

    Abortion Barbie! Accessories include broken condom, expired plan B and a whole closet of wire hangers for her whole hospital stay wardrobe.

  • Carolina Cornejo

    can we discus the real issue of a guy named erick erickson