Anchoring in a Barbie world
Call it a miscalculated move or sheer bad luck, but Mattel, maker of every girl's second-best friend Barbie doll, didn't envisage the hullabaloo that the 125th avatar of the doll has generated, writes Rajiv Arora.india Updated: Nov 02, 2010 23:22 IST
Like every noble profession, news anchoring also comes with its unique set of banes and boons. Despite all the things that all of us on the right (or wrong?) side of the camera refrain from saying aloud, we can't deny that those well-dressed — at least from waist-above — professionals in studios have a daunting job. It isn't an 'all glamour and no brains' business, after all. And it's certainly more than scaring the daylights out of interviewees or acting like excited bunnies each time a news 'breaks'.
But, thankfully, neither of them happens in our 168, aka 24x7, news channels. Nor is there, thankfully again, a dearth of female video journalists in India so as to trigger a gender debate. But this makes their lot more vulnerable to a debate of another kind, the likes of which hit the West recently. Call it a miscalculated move or sheer bad luck, but Mattel, maker of every girl's second-best friend Barbie doll, didn't envisage the hullabaloo that the 125th avatar of the doll has generated. Barbie is now also a — surprise! — news anchor. How the mighty have fallen from being a rock star and an astronaut to now an intrepid newsmonger!
The real life ladies with noses for news are upset for, we learn, their alleged Barbie-fication — being all glamorous and no brains — and the way the dolly looks. A gussied up Barb has barbarically axed the reputation of the entire community is what they lament. In her soft pinks, softer creams and high heels — not to forget the hallmark golden locks and, to put it mildly, the non-journalistic attire — she has shifted the focus away from professional hardships and towards something more sexy and, consequently, mundane.
But the twist, as always, is this: Barbie's new profession was chosen through a worldwide poll where young female adults chose it to a computer engineer Barbie. With this, they confirmed that the iconic doll's 'iconic' profession is what they longed to pursue.
It's yet to be figured how many adolescent dreams the real role models have broken by booing the idea, and whether this rejection would eventually make newsrooms turn dreary for the male journos in the electronic media — not print, where a faceless existence is both our perk and scourge. For not only is it impossible for our species to inspire doll makers — not that we want them to get ideas now — but it's also easy to misguide gullible readers into believing that something as trite as a Barbie doll is worthy of precious editorial space.