Whenever Barbie gets brought out, everyone reverts to girly play mode. (By everyone, I’m not including straight men.) It’s cute seeing these two grown directors being utterly consumed by these toys. Over tea.
Instinctively, I feel like I shouldn’t be posting this as it may curtail the toil and efforts that have gone into recognizing female theatre makers in the industry.
But wait, why are straight men allowed to be condescending about Barbie and her immaculate sense of style and fashion? Why are clothes and vanity frowned upon as flippant by the collective group of people that have historically set the rules of what is appropriate and important? These people, who possess eye-rollingly basic skills of putting an outfit together, have decided that impeccable style, perhaps potentially threatening, must be ridiculed. The concept of grooming has been around for far longer than the concept of the businessman.
When I was playing with my Barbie (actually, she was a cheaper Chinese-designed doll named Candy) at age 8, I remember thinking, ‘This is important stuff.’ Thankfully, I gained my Candy when I explained to my parents that the Ken doll that I won at a costume contest needed a friend. Maybe I’m a businessman too.
Incidentally, I can’t wait to see the Malthouse Theatre/Helium season production of Bild-Lilli, by Elena Knox. Bild-Lilli is the sassy German men’s doll that evolved from a tabloid cartoon that ultimately inspired the creation of the Barbie. Maybe it does take a female artistic director and a gay man to program this sort of stuff for the theatre.