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Photocredit: Jacqueline Biollo

A Barbie Named Believe |Jacqueline Biollo, MBA, ICD.D

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After watching the recently released trailer for the Warner Bros. Pictures movie ‘Barbie,’ I’m excited to see the movie on the big screen, even with mixed emotions about this controversial childhood play toy. I might even make it a girls’ night, where my friends and I can escape for a moment and reflect on what exactly is or was the impact Barbie and the stereotypes or conversations that her fictional persona and over 200 careers have had on our life.

Barbie was first manufactured in 1959. Lloyd Price’s ‘Personality’ peaked in 1959 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Over and over, what more can I do’ – perhaps indirectly foreshadowing what Mattel, a leading global toy company, might have been saying as they sought inspiration to market the fashion doll.

Regrettably, much like women’s wages, which even in 1959 were experiencing a pay equity gap – Barbie has experienced a pendulum swing of disparaging and complimentary character definitions. As reported by Statistics Canada, the average hourly earnings of male and female employees in 1959 were $1.88 and $1.11, respectively. Barbie, often perceived as lacking substance, character, or intelligence, has had over 200 jobs. Ken, often perceived as flawlessly handsome but possibly a shallow man, has had just 40 odd jobs. One might surmise that Barbie was just pursuing the next great opportunity.

So, what does one take from the school of Ken and Barbie? Is it a source of shame when you struggle to be the image others perceive you to be? Are you overcomplicating your life with expectations, resolutions, or actions you simply don’t have the time or energy to fulfill? What about the self-fulfilling prophecy that you are good enough and choose to focus only on the essentials, the priorities that complement or simplify your life, the distractions that bring you joy and contentment?

Don’t let the distractions of Ken and Barbie (real or perceived) cloud your non-negotiables. Although Ken and Barbie likely spend hours on end gazing longingly at themselves in the mirror in admiration of their appearance, channel your vanity instead in excessive pride in your abilities and accomplishments.

Find ways to go after your dreams, feel more vital than ever, and practice new approaches to showing up for yourself and your life. Write down what you want to accomplish. Resign yourself to work hard, find motivation and willpower, and break each goal down into smaller ones so that you can stay positive, even with setbacks, to succeed.

It’s taken Ken and Barbie several years and lots of learning from failure to adjust accordingly and keep their promises to themselves to succeed in the future… and you can too.
Walk with personality. Talk with personality. Over and over.
Jacqueline Biollo has been on a long, exhausting journey to be all she can be. Much like Barbie, Jacqueline is part of a broader strategic shift to champion what many have encouraged – that women can stand on their own two feet and succeed in anything they put their minds to.
Photo by Sandra Helen

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