November 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
In conjunction with the release of her memoir, GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann will also be selling, in partnership with Mattel, Inc., a Barbie doll modeled on her person. The “My GOP Nominee Barbie” comes complete with tasteful blazer, pearls, and corndog accessories.
Bachmann’s campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, acknowledged the marketing symmetry, stating, “I thought it was a brilliant idea to put an image of the Barbie doll rather than of Michele herself on the cover of the memoir. Republicans love the free market, and what better way to remind them of Michele’s commitment to America and to capitalism than with a blatant attempt to sell them something – in addition to the book they just bought?”
Feminist bloggers and journalists have criticized the concept that the only female candidate must be reduced to her physicality, also noting that making a Barbie doll in her image highlights the fake-seeming aspects of Bachmann’s actual appearance, such as her airbrushed makeup and apparently plastic hair.
“Bachmann’s presentation of her body has never been progressive,” writes Amy Gobsmack of thiscannotbehappening.com, “but on the cover of her book, the proportions of her body are obviously off. Her waist should not be the same width as her head.”
A similar critique was brought against Ralph Lauren in 2009 for its airbrushed advertising images, one in particular of model Fillippa Hamilton.
Ralph Lauren apologized for distorting the model’s body from it’s normal state.
Nahigian notes that the Michele Bachmann Barbie, however, is a different situation entirely. “Barbies have been distorting societal expectations of female beauty with their unrealistic proportions since they first came out in 1959,” he commented.”We at the Bachmann campaign are simply taking advantage of existing desires within society – a purely capitalist impulse!”
Additionally, Nahigian confided, the Bachmann campaign is hoping to win points with parents, especially mothers.
“We want to get at the children,” he noted, “so that they can convince their parents to vote Michele. Additionally, the Republicans want to get at future voters as early as possible.”
In response to the “My GOP Nominee Barbie,” the Romney campaign is considering debuting a “My Mitt Styling Head” along the lines of Mattel’s existing “Barbie Totally Hair Styling Head.”
The Gingrich campaign briefly considered a Newt Gingrich Mr. Potato Head, but decided one would be superfluous.