An art student has taken the popular meme of redrawing or altering Barbie to make a social statement and transformed the doll into a domestic violence victim. Complete with bruises, bloody cuts, and black eyes, Barbie is a far cry from her usual impossible bodily perfection. It’s an arresting take on the story of perfection that we sell to young girls with Barbie as our mascot, and brings up valid points about how we prepare children for realities of adult life.
Artist Sam Humphreys‘ project, “It’s A Matter Of Trust” aimed to “show the difference between how children view the world and its much darker realities.” Per the :The Huffington Post’s quote:
“The dolls are part of a project demonstrating how reality actually is and that life isn’t perfect. I was interested in how, when we’re younger, we’re led to believe that everything is perfect and how as children we are quite rightly sheltered from the harsh realities of adulthood.”
The photos are being shown at an exhibit called Speaking Out, which according to its website, aims “to address the difficult issue of gender violence by moving the debate forward and offering a positive contribution to social policy.”
Humphreys’ work aims to show that domestic violence can only be curbed if we start young, with respect and communication being critical values to impart as early as possible. She’s absolutely right, but I’m not sure how well these succeed beyond shock value. Okay, so we beat up Barbie. What next?
Obviously, it’s art and not a product model. Humphreys isn’t proposing that Mattel starts selling Domestic Violence Barbie, but at the same time, I don’t know that this reads as a rallying cry for more respect-based communication. Maybe I’m just experiencing Barbie-fatigue (you saw that she’s going to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, right?), but I’m not sure that this was the best execution of a good idea.