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Real Life Barbie with Kari Byron


Kari Byron in FHM ©2006

In the future, all celebrities will be interactively programmed by twitter group think! This future will be a wonderful magical place! In the mean time, I’m kinda curious about something that I noticed on Twitter earlier tonight. And it has to do with Mythbusters and Kari Byron, so I’m gonna do it all science-like! (well, or the Mav-approximation of it). Exciting huh?

(I’m going to ramble around here a bit, like I tend to do, but then I’m going to get to a real cultural point about society, I swear. And I have some questions that I would love people’s feedback on)

I’m kinda wondering if maybe the reason men are obsessed with sexy women is that we don’t get to play with Barbie dolls when we’re boys. Think about it. At least stereotypically, men like to look at women in sexy outfits. Women like men in sexy outfits too, but not same way. Sociologically, we (men) are supposed to get all hot and bothered not just by naked women but by women in clothes in a way we as a society don’t expect women to. Sure, part of that has to do with clothing being designed to accentuate a woman’s secondary sex characteristics, but the same is true of men’s clothing too. I wonder if it has to do with the toys we get to play with as children. Girls get Barbie Dolls. Boys get action figures.

“But Mav! Action figures and Barbie dolls are the same thing!”


Anatomical Barbie by Jason Freeney

No, they aren’t! Because action figures miss one key element that Barbies have. And no, it isn’t a lack of bendable knees and realistic proportions. Barbie gets tons of criticism for giving girls unrealistic body images, but then other people counter (and rightly so) that  “boy dolls” (He-man, GI Joe, etc.) are just as unrealistically proportioned, if not more so. Of course, I think the context is different and a lot can be said for better or for worse about the effects that this has and why. One of my favorites but I’m not really talking about that here.

No, the thing I’m wondering about right now is the one thing that Barbie has and GI Joe doesn’t. There’s no way to make them naked! (Mostly, anyway. Yes, there are some GI Joe classic line action figures and the like that are 12 inches with removable clothing… but everyone know that those aren’t really toys; those are collectibles! No kid is allowed to play with those. Those belong safely on a shelf out of kids reach. Mint in box, dammit! MINT IN BOX!)

Anyway, the reason I started thinking about all of this just now was because Kari Byron, of Mythbusters, posted a tweet asking her twitter followers (@KariByron) to help her choose her dress for the Emmys.

And she followed it up with linking to a poll on the Discovery Channel’s website to help her pick her dress.

Originally, I saw this and I was just going to tweet/facebook about it, but I found myself wanting to talk more about it so I decided to write a blog. I was immediately excited about the idea. Part of me figured, that it was just me. Obviously, picking outfits is just a “girlie” thing, and I love girlie stuff. I was looking at the outfits. I love #7. It was a good Emmy dress, but not quite right for Byron’s body or public persona. #5 and $6 lengthen her torso too much and made her boobs look wrong. #8 was all wrong for her figure in so many ways. #4 is totally wrong for the Emmys. #1 is more of an Oscar dress, but also too “Classic Hollywood” for her (I love Classic Hollywood, but it wasn’t quite right for her). It also made her look oddly top-heavy. #2 I actually LOVE, as a dress, but not on her. The cut is all wrong. It actually makes her look less feminine instead of more.  But #3! That is the dress. Whimsical, classic, sexy, elegant. I loved it in every way. Fabulous!  Ok, seriously, I’m swear I’m not gay…<SEINFELD>Not that there’s anything wrong with that!</SEINFELD>

Oh yeah, I had like an actual sociocultural point here, didn’t I? I think that’s why I love photography so much. It’s just a lot of fun picking outfits, dressing models, etc… playing make-believe. It’s like having a real life Barbie doll to play with! And that’s what brought me to this thought.

When I was looking at Byron’s dresses, and the obvious choices she made to put her boobs on display, I was reminded of last week’s Mythbusters, which basically amounted to the myth of “Do Bigger Tits Yield Bigger Tips?”

No really…

So I started thinking about things scientifically. And if playing dress up with Kari really is like having a real life Barbie, why do I, a boy enjoy it? Shouldn’t that be a girl thing? That brought me back to the kid thing. Girls get Barbie (and other) dolls and from like age 2, they’re totally “trained” to enjoy trying on different outfits. I watch my nieces play with their American Girl dolls. And by “play,” this essentially means that they dress them in cute little outfits, then strip them down. Then put new cute little outfits on them and repeat ad nauseam. They can do the same with Barbie or Ken. Boys, don’t get this. We have GI Joe and he just is what he is. You want another outfit, then you have to buy another fucking toy!

It’s true that girls are indoctrinated from a  young age to really concentrate on “being pretty” and glamorizing themselves (or their toys). But for boys, since we’re taught to totally ignore it, I wonder if part of the masculine condition, or more importantly, the feminine appeal to the masculine condition, is the excitement of the unknown. Of not having that. I know there’s certainly some power trip appeal to the idea of “MUHAHAHAHAH!!!! I SHALL DECIDE WHAT SHE WEARS TO THE EMMYS!!!!!” It’s like a real life video game. One of the best parts of modern video games is character creation/customization. And being able to do it with a real person is just awesome! Oh the power!!!!!

So I’m curious to a few things:

    1. Which outfit of hers do you pick? (or did you pick, if you’re voting in the poll) It appears that most people seem to be going with my choice, though probably nobody overthinks it as much as I do.
    2. Do other men like the whole dress up celebrities by proxy ideas as much as I do? Other women for that matter as well. (So probably let me know which you are)
    3. Did you play with Barbies as a kid? I’m wondering if there’s as much of a correlation between 2 and 3 and gender as I think there is. What about action figures?
    4. Anything else I’m missing?

As an aside, and only semi-related… I chose the sexy FHM photoshoot that Kari did a few years back as my image for this post just because I thought it made a better photo tag than the grainy cell phone pics that she used for her “choose my outfit” poll. And of course, I realize that as a lad magazine, the FHM photos are totally supposed to be PG-13 level whack material. And I’m me, and I approve of voluntary/self-sexual objectification, so fine. I remember when that issue came out and I thought they were sexy and fun. But I never noticed til just now how incredibly porny those photos are (you can click the photo to enlarge it and view it better). Not because she’s wearing a sexy bra, a ridiculously short lab coat and scientist standard pumps… that’s obvious. But, in the four pictures she is playing with a very phallic cucumber, an unidentified creamy white substance and two very large ejaculations, one coming from crotch level.

How did I not notice those before?

Yay science!


10 comments for “Real Life Barbie with Kari Byron

  1. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 4:15 am

    I liked dress 2 and 3 the best, but I would have voted for #2. Didn’t actually vote, because …

    I’m not at all into the idea of dressing celebrities — for one, I’m awful at choosing outfits for grown up people (I do ok with kids) and I think I care less than the average person in my demographic about what famous people wear to fancy events. I recognize that what someone else (or everyone else) chooses will be better than my selection.

    Never played with Barbies or action figures as a kid. (I think I’m missing the gene for enthusiasm for girlie dress up things … unless it’s for myself! Getting dressed up myself is fun.)

    1. avatar
      August 14, 2014 at 4:38 am

      Thanks for answering, Emily. I’m kinda curious as to how you found this so quick?

      Like I said, I really do love the #2 dress. I just think it looks not quite right on her. I mean, she certainly doesn’t look unattractive or anything… But it looks more dangerous and tough! It’s sexy but not in the elegant way I expect for the Emmys. Like, I would sort of expect her to wear if if she were a femme fatale bond girl or something (which she’s played the role of on the show)

  2. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

  3. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Philip: Is that autobiographical?

  4. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 11:40 am

    if only….

  5. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    #3, then #1. I played with “Barbies” but they were Charlies’ Angels solving mysteries (I think GI Joe had some involvement, too). I don’t remember ever playing dress-up with them as the primary activity.

    1. avatar
      August 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Steph, Do you mean these?

      You never took their clothes off and switched them or anything?

  6. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I’m sure I did (they needed to dress appropriately for their assignment), just not as the end goal.

  7. avatar
    August 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Ah, well… that was more of what I was getting at. I’m sure there are “reasons” for dressing different… Even my nieces don’t just strip their dolls for the hell of it… sometimes they’re “going to school” or “to work” or whatever… My point was more… “they can change their clothes.” As opposed to Gi Joe or He-Man where it’s basically “if he’s not right for this mission, get a new doll” (at least since the 80s… in the 70s, they were basically Barbies)

  8. avatar
    August 22, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    And now she’s off the show. :(. Do not like.

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