Friday, June 7, 2013

How Barbie Came About

For the fiction biography of Barbie, click here.

March, 9, 1959
Barbie was first launched for sale. Created by Ruth Handler, wife of Elliot (co-founder of Mattell).
Before creation, inspiration led as Ruth would watch her Daughter Barbra play with her paper dolls, giving them adult roles. She did as any good mother married to a co-founder of the toy industry would do. Suggested an adult bodied doll. Elliot (along with other Mattel executives) were unsure of the idea.
In 1956 the Handler family took a trip to Europe. On that trip, they discovered the inspiration that led to the creation of Barbie dolls.

A German doll (Bild Lilli) caught Ruth's attention. Lilli doll had an adult body, and created of plastics. Knowing her daughter would fall in love, Handler purchased three of the dolls. Giving one to daughter Barbra, and the others to Mattel for observation. Personally I would have bought an additional one for myself, just sayin'.

Bild Lilli doll was a pretty blonde who knew what she wanted in life, and refused the use of men to get there. Maybe why Ruth had no interest to have one for herself... JUST SAYIN'!

Shortly after observation, Mattel had redesigned the doll putting her on the market. Barbie had officially set sail. The rights to Bild Lilli were acquired by Mattel in 1964, and manufacturing of the German doll came to a halt. I find it bizzare they got rights to a doll that is almost identical to their's.

Barbie first debuted as a "Teen-age Fashion Model" with selection of a blonde or brunette (Why no red-head? I wonder the same thing). Wearing a zebra stripped one-piece bathing suit, and rocking her signature pony tail. Charlotte Johnson designed Barbie's clothing, while manufactured in Japan (hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers). Approximately 350,000 dolls were sold the first year. In 1971, eyes were made to look straight forward instead of the original side glance. The never struck me before. I did however always think there's something peculiar about the classic doll that I can't quite figure out.

Controversy arose as parent's felt the doll wasn't a good role model, in result of unrealistic body image. Barbie's vital statistics have been estimated at 36 inches (chest), 18 inches (waist) and 33 inches (hips). 5'9" tall, and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24. A BMI of 18 and under is considered to be severely underweight. If the doll was an actual human being, she'd be 35 pounds underweight. 

Never understood how on earth parents just happen to recognize an unrealistic human version. She's a doll, and looks normal size. However, in 1963, the outfit Barbie Baby-Sits came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight which advised: "Don't eat!". As if this wasn't scary enough, a pink bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs was included in another ensemble called "Slumber Party" in 1965. Barbie's body mold was redesigned and given a wider waist in 1997, with Mattel saying that "this would make the doll better suited to contemporary fashion designs." Is it just me, or maybe the accessories are more of an eating disorder risk than Barbie's vital statics?

Barbie Syndrome No, it's not like the Sylvia Plath effect. Barbie syndrome is the desire to obtain Barbie's physical features, as well as her un-realistic lifestyle. Affecting pre-teens and adolescents. Sound phony? The news showed a clip on real life Barbie (Valeria Lukyan, 23) who clearly has the syndrome. Lukyan not only looks like the doll, she actually has some interesting talents. Including her ability to opera sing. Girls not bad.
Another "real life doll" (Anastasiya Shpagina, 19) models herself as an anime character. Spending hours doing make-up on her eyes and allegedly considering surgery.
Besides Barbie's image, I see no problem in an aspiring astronaut, flight attendant, teacher, a child.

   To this day, Barbie is a cultural icon. Received rare honors including a one-week replacement street name "Barbie Boulevard" in Times Square 1974. If I were around back then, I'd definitely go check that out. But wait, there's more!                                                                              
About a decade after, a painting of Barbie was created by Andy Warhol.
As if this wasn't enough,  the first themed restaurant "Barbie Cafè" was opened this year, 2013, in Taiwan. From an illness, street name, portrait by Warhol, and even a restaurant opened in her honor. Barbie is the most known doll in existence, and always will be.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Moons Reaching for Me

   We've all heard the expression "Getcha' head outta the clouds!". Referring to one caught up in unrealistic dreams. When I look at the sky, it's my biggest reality check. Daytime blue skies, fluffy clouds, it appears un-real to me. When I was just a youngin' I told my brother the sky looks fake. He replied with "Or maybe fake skies look real". Anytime I look up at a nice summer sky, that memory hits me like a 'nam flash back. It wasn't until my first plane ride that I realized clouds are just fog. Foggy days are technically cloudy days, considering they're clouds on earths land.

   The night sky is a whole different ball game. Clear nights I love looking up at the moon and constellations. Wish I could recognize more than the big/little dipper and Orion's belt. Anytime I look at a crescent moon I squint one eye and reach my thumb out. My fingernail is a match, and so is yours! (Saw that in a movie once...). As a child, I thought when told to look at the man on the moon I was literally looking for a human being standing on top. A few years ago I discovered the design of a face with the craters. Also around the time I saw my first shooting star. Growing up I never looked fast enough to see the magic fireball fly through the night sky. Before I knew it, it would have already vanished. Greek mythology, horoscopes/astrological signs always caught my interest.
Fun fact, as an Aquarius my planet happens to be Saturn. The hula hooping legend of space.

I wish I could sit back and enjoy a cup of galaxy. Maybe it would be a reality check in beverage form?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How Hula Hooping Changed my Life

July 4th 2011. This was the day I first started hooping. My sister, Ginger Mandy, had just returned from LA. With her she brought home (at that time, home = BFE with my mum) 2 hoopnotica fitness hoops. 

I was 230 pounds. I had previously lost about 20-30 pounds in result of no car while living in the city.
These hoops were heavy, large in diameter, and perfect.

I could hoop from waist to hips, do a 360 spin, and attempted a halo duck in.
The following day, we hit up home depot and target for hoop tubing/supplies and duct tape to make our own.  3/4" 160 psi HDPE tubing. Mine was decked out in Hello Kitty tape, my sisters leopard print. Once done, outside we went. With my sisters laptop for music, of course. Coza Frenzy on repeat, other bassnectar occasionally, and our hoops.
At the time I was jobless living with my ex in an apartment Downriver. Alone, I'd spend hours YouTube searching tutorials, performances, and made playlists. As I'd visit my mum's, to the backyard as usual my sister and I went. Some days we'd use the living room. No longer allowed, as it scares our senior pup Oliver....The wall happens to have skid marks, which may contribute as well.

My confidence dropped as I saw she would progress faster. She started first, but I couldn't help but feel envious. It felt impossible. Me....have the ability to progress?  The amount of other hoopers is outrageous. It felt pointless. day performing?
I became obsessed.

Patience took place of procrastination  Tricks became easier and easier. The vortex, chest hooping, knee hooping, isolation (took the longest aside from shoulder hooping). Before I knew it, my one year hoopiversary hit. Looking back, I can't believe the amount I've progressed. Lost 80 pounds, gained a lifetime source of happiness.

Winter 2012 I hit downtown Detroit with my neighbors who lived in mid-town. At night, adventured the city along with our hoops. People became curious, wanted to try, asked how. I was teaching others a skill left behind in one's childhood. People asked where to purchase such hoops, too bad I had no business cards.
During our adventure, as we went to turn a corner a crowd of clubbers surrounded us. Out stepped a Guy dressed in 70's attire. Chants began. "Hoop-off! Hoop-off!". We had ourselves a hoop-off, and they disappeared just as casually as approaching. 


I was tipped by a hot blonde, never going to forget that.
A car filled with guys chanted. Then began yelling "TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF!".
Instead I flipped them off.

Near the end of 2012 my friend and I took a visit to Belle Isle for a hooping photo-shoot. Windy, cold, but worth it. Before leaving I finally convinced her to go into the abandoned zoo with me. No ghost penguins attacked, but a vintage baby carriage was casually placed where vicious beasts once lived. By the water is an amazing view of Downtown Detroit. A nice lady saw my LED hoop troubles, and gave us glow sticks. I'm glad to be friends with such an amazing photographer.

Winter 2013 I lived with my Aunt. I'd use her basement daily to stretch, dance, and hoop. Music selection included Eminem's first 2 CD's, Janis Joplin, or the Cure.

I now live with my boyfriend, his dad, and his 91-year-old Italian grandmother. The weather is nice, and my neighbor/hoop buddy and I dance outside together.
It's currently June of 2013. I officially lost 100 pounds hooping. My 2 year hoopiversary is next month, and I can't believe how much I've progressed. Not to mention, with my homemade hoops. This July maybe I'll celebrate by purchasing myself a nice hoop.
Any suggestions as to advanced hoop suppliers is greatly appreciated. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To grow to Heaven you must reach the roots of Hell

      To me this explains today's society. I believe to reach success and happiness you must first defeat the roots of hell. C.G. Jung has amazing quotes. 

      When you need somebody the most they can flip around and really fuck you over. I myself need to learn not to trust people so quickly, or fall in "like" with others. This reminds me of Peter Pan. Yet his shadow just leaves whenever...

      This reminds me of myself daily. Miserably stuck in my boyfriends basement after babysitting for a stranger without being offered any money. Just join the Fake a smile corporation, and everybody thinks you're okay. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

        The smell of fresh cut grass, flowers, sunscreen, and fulfilled with the warmth you've been dying to experience again. Never too hot, the gust of lukewarm wind measures out the perfect temperature.
Those are the type of days you wish for in the winter, the 90+° weather. Such a short amount of time do we get to enjoy these hours of mother nature's compassion.

For 3 years I've been as close as sisters to my neighbor's 3 girls. After a long period without being able to talk, we enjoyed the first day at this park we've planned to visit since I can remember. 
The oldest, her books and music, the middle, the youngest with a dollar store hula hoop I decked out with hoop tape. Then myself, and one of my favorite handmade hoops.
While the youngest was playing with other kids at the park, the oldest and I talked while she'd sing as I hooped.
Shortly after, The youngster brought over her friend and his brother. The brother asked if he could play with the hoop. 
"Of course!"

At first he had to get the hang if it, but with motivation he quickly caught on.
We all played with the munchkins, and it wasn't until we sat down I noticed the little boy still amused learning more tricks.
Before he left, he came to return my hoop. Looking up very nervous, he says "Do you think maybe....uhm I could maybe bring this home..?".

Words can't express the feeling this gave me.

Noticed the youngest girl has a look of shock stuck on her face. After asked what was wrong, she softly squealed "He kissed me...That boy kissed me." Apparently the boy with mad hoop skills little brother had kissed her, and she sure as heck didn't approve. Kids are adorable. Before leaving, I do a few round-offs, we swing, the youngest ones play on the tire swing. Shortly after my friend reminded we're without a hoop.
I never felt happier from such news.