Who questions gender labels? Barbie.
Who questions constructs of femininity? Barbie.
Who questions Patriarchy? Barbie.
Who is the ultimate sass queen? Barbie.
Wait! But aren’t Barbies, with their unhealthy body make, undying love for fashion, and ability to overlook the absence of Ken’s penis, the ultimate embodiment of mainstream everyday-sexism? Yes. But the Barbie I’m talking about is nothing like the ones created by Mattel.
Meet Trophy Wife Barbie. She bleeds, pukes, parties, drinks wine, smokes weed, doesn’t wax, breastfeeds in public, chills with her transgender buddies and frequently gives the finger. What else? She owns a colossal arsenal of pink guns. Am I missing something? Oh, yes. She has antlers sprouting from her head.
This Instagram project is the brainchild of 36-year old South African conceptual artist Annelies Hofmeyr. Trophy Wife Barbie started on the day of her divorce and documents her journey of self-discovery. In her first post, she wields a bloody sword and clutches her ex-husband’s decapitated head. The wall behind her is spattered with gore. “Yay! My divorce went through today!” her caption reads. According to Hofmeyr,
She has been judged by her appearance and now that her situation has changed (and she’s no longer a wife) she needs to find her identity outside of her label.
Hofmeyr takes up ridiculous gender labels, places them in a frame along with Barbie and leaves you chuckling as the stereotypes shatter to the ground. She brings to the fore everyday issues like slut shaming, cellulite shaming, labelling of toilets, taboos on menstruation and body hair, and restriction on women’s clothes, among others. The antlers are a physical representation of a label imposed on a woman. Trophy Wife Barbie also features Rupi Kaur, Harnaam Kaur, Miley Cyrus and her transgender friend Kendra.
Who are these images for?- For everyone who believes that women must dress, behave and look a certain way. Well, we will give you a few examples. It is for those who believe the following:
GOOD CHARACTER IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE LENGTH OF YOUR SKIRT (NOT THAT LONG, YOU OLD HAG)
SOCIETY WILL DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN WEAR AND WHAT YOU CAN’T #BURKINI
CELLULITE DEPOSITS MUST BE ‘FIXED’ ALTHOUGH 90% WOMEN HAVE THEM.
IT IS UNLADYLIKE TO HAVE ARMPIT HAIR ( YOU DEFINITELY CAN’T HAVE THEM DYED PINK)
A BEACH BODY IS NOT ONE THAT HAS PUBIC HAIR; GET WAXED
WHAT HAPPENS IN A MENSTRUAL CYCLE STAYS IN THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE.
SO WHAT IF THE BABY IS HUNGRY, BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC IS INDECENT.
BEING TRANSGENDER IS UNNATURAL. DON’T MIX WITH HIM…HER…WELL…SEE!
HARNAAM KAUR, A WOMAN, CAN’T HAVE FACIAL HAIR. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE HAS PCO AND ITS NATURAL FOR HER.
I’m interested in using iconic Barbie imagery, with a little twist, to highlight and challenge gender stereotypes. It is often easier to talk about difficult topics using humour and something as non-threatening as a doll.
So every time someone hums the super sexist ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ by Aqua or just indulges in gender stereotypes, take them to the nearest source of internet , open Trophy Wife Barbie on instagram and watch them receive enlightenment from the sarcastic political undertones of this Barbie Girl. After all, a woman’s life is not about meeting standards set by the society. Sometimes its about loading those pink guns and raging on!