Quick hit: Fat Barbie

No, not that fat Barbie, sadly. According to WWD, shoe designer Christian Louboutin, who recently designed some high fashion Barbies, had to “reshape” the dolls because “He found her ankles were too fat” (according to a spokesperson).

Cankles? (photo by melloveschallah)

Cankles? (photo by melloveschallah)

I’ll let you sit with that one a minute.

*wanders off, pours some booze, comes back*

Barbie’s ankles are too fat for fashion. Barbie, the fashion doll. Barbie, the legendarily disproportionate model of femininity, whose feet are permanently molded for high heels, has cankles.

(Hat tip Broadsheet.)

160 thoughts on “Quick hit: Fat Barbie

  1. I’m stunned. All the shit going on in the world and someone bothered to look at the freakish fashion doll’s ankles, and then managed to decide that even those were too fat?

    Did I step into some alternate universe or something? This can’t possibly be reality.

  2. I’ve tried five different comments. All that’s left is the bottle of wine in the fridge with my name on it…

  3. Oy, the comments there. The fat hate that exists kills me a little on the insides every single fucking time.

    I will NEVER wear his shoes. For many reasons, but this is the icing on the cake. Cankles my big fat Dansko wearing ass.

  4. Jesus. It’s Procrustes come to life — don’t change the shoes, for god’s sake, just lop off part of her leg. CLEARLY the leg is at fault for not fitting the shoe, and not the shoe at fault for not fitting the leg. After all, would a shoe designer lie about that? Never!

    Excuse me, I’m going to go be bitter for a while.

  5. Oh, the hell with that.
    Pygmalion complex much?

    The ones she has on look like Bruno Maglis anyway, which for my money are better shoes.

    To wish that Steve Madden would successfully counterfeit his red soles would screw with my IP karma, so instead I’ll wish someone finds – or makes – a Barbie that will cut him back.

  6. Wouldn’t the real problem be that her calves are too skinny? Sure, maybe her ankles don’t have the right definition, but that’s because her legs are basically straight lines!

    How horrifically ridiculous.

  7. Because it absolutely shows off your skill as a designer to make shoes only for the one “perfect” kind of foot, and ignore all the others.

    Same as, since making clothes look awesome on fat bodies is harder than on very very thin ones, it is absolutely not a cop-out that high-fashion designers only make/show clothes on very small people. Not at all a sign that they don’t have the skills and artistry to make clothes for more than one type of body! Nooooo. We’re the ones at fault there.

  8. Is it really true that only 9% of French women are overweight compared to 70% of Americans? Or is the article writer just assuming that French Women Don’t Get Fat is a scientific publication?

    No, there is no reason why anyone should answer this for me. I’m just thinking aloud. On screen. Whatever. Anything to avoid thinking about the fact that someone considers Barbie to be fat.

  9. And it was too hard to say that the shoe was the wrong shape for the doll’s ankle, wasn’t it? After all, there’s nothing wrong with the SHOE!

  10. It would be a hell of a lot easier to make clothes look great on fat women if they would stop using fabrics patterns that look like someone shot granny’s couch.

  11. Oh my God. Infants are too fat. Dolls’ ankles are too fat. Cartoon characters are too fat. James Tiptree, Jr. could have written this story in the 60’s and everyone would have been like THAT’S RIDICULOUS.

    It would almost be laughable if there weren’t people in the world who seriously believed this was a PROBLEM. I am willing to put money down that in the very near future, we will discover actual life on another planet. And… it will be too fat.

    Do I hear $5? $10?

  12. Gotta love this:

    This comes on the, um, heels of Louboutin’s fellow Parisian Karl Lagerfeld’s declaration that: “No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”

    Fat mothers – who apparently don’t count as people – with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television. I wish I had something funny to say, but that one hits me in my ginormous bestretchmarked mommy gut.

  13. fabrics patterns that look like someone shot granny’s couch.

    And cheapass material that looks skeevy after a single wash. Grump.

  14. I’m pretty much convinced that fashion designers just hate all women, period. Louboutin does make a lovely shoe, but 5 inch heels? I know some people can wear them just fine but I cringe thinking about shoving my foot into one of those instruments of torture. It’s funny how they all talk about fat being unhealthy but no one will bring up what kind of permanent damage wearing heels like that will do to your feet, knees & back.

  15. It’s a shame because I do like his shoes, but I don’t really get the Louboutin obsession. They’re beautiful shoes, but like the one article says, painting the bottoms of plain shoes red doesn’t make you a fashion genius.

  16. I really can only think that he meant to piss people off. I’m an artist, many of the people I know are artists, we would all be terribly ashamed to admit that we couldn’t create something that would look good on someone even if that had fat ankles. Artists = problem solvers, but not problem solvers who instead of redesigning the shoes would cut up someone’s leg. I mean fucking hell we’re treating Barbie like a human here by having her clothing designed by actual designers, take it to the next step and not chop her up.

    I really think he conciously hates fat people and did this to piss us off. “I’ll show them. Damn cows not wanting me to exclusively use starved models, or models who are naturally skinnier than 90% of the population.” That’s the only way this could make sense.

  17. Just like everything else, it is easier to blame someone, or in this case something else when you face a difficulty. Health problems face disproportionately effect inner city youth? It’s teh fats! It has nothing to do with the fact reliable, preventative health care and healthy food isn’t affordable next to cheap subsidized crap, not to mention the power structure prefers corporate welfare to helping people. Same goes for designers who cop out and join in the fat blame game. This highlights it’s ridiculousness because seriously?!? Barbie fat? Yes, and that Tracy Gold could probably lose a few in their twisted perceptions.

  18. What is the world coming to when even skinny, disproportionate Barbie is being discriminated against for being fat?

  19. If we’re re-designing fat clothes, I would like to get rid of all of the god damned sequins and embroidery. My jeans are not doubling as an evening gown!

  20. After all the crap articles I have read today, I am ready to end it all. But then I read how fat people are bad at suicide – but then I read how obesity is worse than preventing suicide… You see what I’m getting at here?

    Anyway, the whole fashion industry can kiss my big fat ass. I’m about ready to buy the most hideous threads possible and wear ‘em with pride.

    Is it really true that only 9% of French women are overweight compared to 70% of Americans? Or is the article writer just assuming that French Women Don’t Get Fat is a scientific publication?

    I’ll answer it for ya – 31% of French women are either “overweight” or “obese.” But according to the same people who got these stats, the French will be “as fat” as the US by 2020! Take that, Christian and Karl!

  21. Are cankles something we’ve been supposed to be worrying about all along and I just never got that memo, or are they a new thing to make ourselves sick over and I didn’t get that memo either? I never heard of cankles until about 3 months ago, but everyone who’s mentioned them used the word as if duh, of course we know what it means. I mean, the memo’s probably in my inbox somewhere, but the silly thing is stuffed with memos from Pop Kutchur, MSM, Everybody Knows, etc, and I’d really rather not read most of them.

  22. The only logical conclusion I can make is that Barbie is a bad role model. She is only encouraging young girls to have fat feet. People die from fat feet! What do I know, I am just a mom who sits around eating chips. Oh wait, I have no time to sit and I don’t have any chips.

    There is just no explaining this guy except what alibelle said. He really does hate fat people and want to piss them off.

  23. I know, SW, nevah! read! the comments!

    But I do. Then the rage and throbbing pain starts. Then I come back here, eat a baby donut, and all is good again.

  24. Dearest Mommy A Sarah –

    I say only to lift your spirits that I know you are not going to take Kooky Karl seriously.

    Not only is he full of self-hate — he used to be much more filled-out, and got thinner on a “diet”, if you can call it that, whose main staple was ‘protein sachets’, whatever those are — but you also know in your heart of hearts that

    Anna Scholz’s and Elena Miró’s clothes are better,
    Clarins skincare is better (as is, really, most of the Neutrogena line), and
    Ferragamo’s bags are better,

    as are Dior’s sunglasses (and Nixon’s, if you prefer the sportive look to the fashy-fash), and SpaRitual nail polish is even better for you (being Big 3 free).

    :-)

  25. I’m with you alibelle. Artists are artists because they create. It doesn’t matter what the medium is, they create because they can’t help themselves. Under the most horrendous conditions an artist will produce amazing things. So when I see these diva dudes/dudettes flouncing around in a huff because they “simply CANNOT work under these conditions” I automatically re-evaluate my opinion of them.

    This “artist” can design around a tiny foot, but not one connected to an equally tiny ankle? He claims the proportions were wrong but wouldn’t a true artist rise to the… (ahem) challenge? My next assumption must be that perhaps the master has lost his touch. When the talent starts to fail it is usually a common procedure to bark a lot of nonsense in order to seem edgy. It helps to hide the fact that the flash-in-the-pan has morphed into a has-been.

    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more…full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  26. I had some sanity points so I went over to the comments…I love it when the fat haters end their rants with “That’s just sciense”…that is a direct quote. lmfao.

  27. Went to the Barbie collector site, they have a new Heidi Klum Barbie. The ankles are almost microscopic but still run straight up into her calves. Robert Best managed to create an absolutely darling pair of chunky platform sandals for her anyway. :-)

  28. @Forestroad –
    It’s also amusing when they tout the benefits of “excercize” (or whatever the mutation of the day happens to be) — not that those benefits can’t inure to those of us of all “cizes.”

    Heh.

  29. You know, there’s something about this that I find too absurd to really resent. I mean, Barbie? Poster girl for an unhealthy fetish with women’s disproportion? Doll with feet that already require five-inch heels (an odd look for Soccer Barbie)? It just feels like someone in the fashion world is engaged in an off-season April Fool’s joke.

    Or perhaps they’re about to pull the curtain and admit that, really, fashion designers prefer to work in two dimensions, have been edging towards this change for years, and finally have decided to quit making clothes altogether and make questionable ink sketches instead.

  30. Rebecca V., I’ve known about cankles since before I ever heard the word (which was first somewhere in high school, about 6 or 7 years ago), because kids made fun of my thick ankles. I then briefly became obsessed with other girls’ ankles, and envied the girls with prominent ankle bones. I even found some sort of book or magazine with exercises that were supposed to “whittle your ankles,” though I was never very diligent about it. It was just something stupid like rolling my foot in a circle anyway, and probably wouldn’t have done anything except make the muscles in my shins a little bigger.

    so no Louboutins for me, I guess. Not that I was dying to pay hundreds of dollars that would cause me lots of pain, anyway. But you know, good to know that the designer is expressly uninterested in designing for my body.

    in unrelated but still clearly related news: I just ate a spoonful of cream cheese frosting straight from the can and it was the best thing I did all day besides buy french fries to go with the dinner I’d packed myself. Both were necessary to restore my Sanity Watchers points.

  31. I’ve known about cankles since before I ever heard the word (which was first somewhere in high school, about 6 or 7 years ago), because kids made fun of my thick ankles

    Middle school for me, and that was more than 30 years ago. I don’t have a visible Achilles tendon, so even when very thin I have “cankles”. I had the misfortune to discover one of those spot exercising books at around age 12 which led to an obsession with reshaping my thick ankles and wide calves. I think that was the same book that said women should weigh 100 pounds for the first five feet, and five pounds for each additional inch.

    I’d like to smack the author with that book.

  32. I’m a pretty shallow guy, and it’s never occurred to me to evaluate a woman’s ankles. I had to do a google when Hillary’s doppelganger used the word last year.

  33. New York Times
    January 14, 2010

    “In a long-expected industry decision sending waves through the modeling world, eight of fashion’s big houses have announced that the Fall 2010 collections will model clothes only on stick figures. ‘This decision will only enhance our ability to display cuts and fabrics without the visual interruption of human flesh,’ reads the joint press release from Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Annie Sui, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, and Giorgio Armani.

    “The modeling industry, already suffering in the wake of the current recession, will be hard-hit by this decision. ‘Our girls are professionals,’ Ford Model Agency’s Genevieve McMath replied to a request for comment. ‘Clothes simply won’t produce the same effect sashaying down the runway alone.’ Other modeling agencies have declined to comment.

    “A press conference held by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg condemned the decision. ‘City unemployment rates are already topping 10%. These designers have essentially put an entire industry out of work. The majority of these newly-unemployed women are young, self-employed, have never worked in other industries, and some already suffer from malnourishment and substance abuse problems. New York City is committed to assist this vulnerable population through city services and charitable organizations such as City Pantry.’

    “But the outlook is not all bleak. Designers admit that what was previously a frivolous suggestion floating through the major houses began to gather momentum in fall 2007 as luxury spending decreased dramatically. The cost of the stick figures–a combination of PVC pipe and faces made from repurposed Frisbees–is significantly lower than that of even the cheapest models. Makeup and fitting experts are also unnecessary, and hairdressers will be replaced by perruquiers. Even the increased cost of the track necessary to promenade the stick figures up and down a catwalk is a minor expenditure, compared to the savings in salaries and dress refittings.

    “‘To be honest, we probably would have done this a year ago if we’d been able to find an appropriate eco-friendly version of PVC,’ one designer commented by e-mail on condition of anonymity. The decision has resulted in condemnation by environmental activists, who urge designers to use more ecologically-friendly materials, such as broomsticks.

    “Fashion journalism is also benefiting from the trend. Vogue has already reorganized its visual media department, promoting Bianca Marek to Assistant Editor. Marek, a former intern whose skill at drawing stick figures was first brought to supervisors’ attention through her non-stop games of Hangman over lunch breaks, is enthusiastic about her role.

    “‘This benefits all of us in the industry,’ she pointed out by telephone. ‘Think of how much time and effort will be saved by no longer needing to Photoshop real women into stick figures.'”

  34. I mean, I know that as an “overweight” woman, I’m not welcome to wear any of the top fashion designers clothing, and a few have even gone on the record admitting they don’t want to see their clothes on anyone over a size 10. I’ve had to be content fantasizing about great accessories, but now the fucking shoe designers don’t want us in their product either? what’s next-our fingers are too fat to clutch the handle of a handbag? Holy fuck. Just….wow.

  35. I’m just thinking of all the money these stupidfuckingignorant designers are losing by only designing for size 0-2.
    Someday, karma is gonna come around and bite those bastards in their skinny asses.

  36. I’m still unsure if I have cankles or not but I do know that there were two men of my acquaintance this year who were crazy about my short, stubby, strong legs, especially the calves. I mostly wear hiking boots or Tevas and am pretty close to 60. Dudes just must not have gotten the word…

  37. I followed SM’s mittens link, and it reports a supposed study (they were careful not to actually give a citation) that found (even if a related study exists, it’s highly improbable this kind of article reported on it correctly) that overweight people wind up with more heat in their extremities than thinner people.

    And the article says this is a bad thing.

    When was the last time anyone heard of someone’s hands or feet being heated from the inside to the point of pain? Because I’m always hearing about people whose hands and feet are cold to the point of pain due to one reason or another.

  38. I think that was the same book that said women should weigh 100 pounds for the first five feet, and five pounds for each additional inch.

    I remember that, too, Sniper. That bit of “advice” still torments me on occasion, in sneak attacks. I’ll be all good, then all of a sudden: “I’m only 5 feet tall. What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t weigh 100 lbs? I’m S’POSED to weigh 100 lbs.” Yeah- maybe if I stopped eating altogether. Fucking bastard author. Who makes this shit up?

    Topic: I expect nothing less from Lagerfeld, but Louboutin? Seriously? You’re a crappy enough designer that you can only make shoes that look good on one certain type of lower leg/foot?

  39. Brava, Sweet Machine! And thank you for this post- it inspired me to write a quick post of my own for a fashion business website I’m helping to launch.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    And kudos all around, to the excellent, thought-provoking writing that goes on here. I laugh, I pause, I think. Even when I don’t leave comments.

    – Elizabeth

  40. Starling, I think I love you!!

    RE: the fat people have warmer extremities study. I’m 5’7, about 240 and my hands are always freaking cold!! What the hell is wrong with people?

  41. To be fair, at least when I was a kid, Barbie had bizarre, deformed feet that bent away from her ankles at an odd angle and then narrowed into nothingness, so that after the thick plastic shoes were on, they were the right shape and size, and the shoes stayed on, but she looked inhuman when barefoot. It may be that he needed to make Barbie’s feet look more footlike in order to put his real-person shoes on them? And the ankles were too fat because the feet had been shrunk? Maybe?

    Hey, a girl can dream!

  42. Oh, I’ve actually found evidence for my claim! Check out this photo.

    The “beach party barbie,” which is intended to remain barefoot, has much larger, more human feet. The “fashion barbie” has little plastic blobs almost thinner than her ankles, since they’re intended to go in shoes, which practically double their apparent size (you can see the effect here.)

    I don’t know if it’s all that much less problematic that Barbie usually has tiny, deformed feet so she’ll look better in Beauty2K-compliant shoes, but at least there’s a chance that the change is being made for the better?

  43. I just read that Christian Louboutin’s muse is Dita Von Teese.
    The woman that has a 16 inch waist when wearing her corset (she says it’s easy to do, if you just don’t eat!!)
    She also just recently launched her new line for WonderBra.
    Wow.

  44. I only heard the term ‘cankles’ this year, but the phenomenon of ‘fat ankles’ isn’t new to me. I’m pretty sure that there were humorous character sketches in some of the Anne of Green Gables books about picky bachelors who would reject a women for her ‘thick ankles’ or such like and picky spinsters who would reject a man because of his facial hair (except they’d call it ‘whiskers’). But the thing was that we were all meant to laugh about it – like what a ridiculous thing to reject someone for. Though it still made me check out my ankles to see if they were too thick or nice and shapely.

  45. Of course, even though it was a joke, it sort of made more sense back in an era when it was the only part of a woman’s leg that would conceivably be on public display. Oooh sexy, flashing a bit of ankle now, are we?

    As for Christian Louboutin, wtf?

  46. I think he’s trolling in real life, honestly, and this is his petty way to strike back at criticism of the fashion industry for only being willing to show clothes/shoes on skinny teenagers.

    Also as an official shoe fanatic whose friends have been known to refer to her as Imelda? Your shoes are not that great, sir. Blahniks and Choos are prettier, Prada makes sturdier heels, and Hollywould and Mar Jacobs are better at the cutely over the top thing.

    He and Lagerfeld can have their little bitter party together, though I personally would not want to go out for drinks with a man who looks like a Bond villain who has inexplicably lost his fluffy white cat. Maybe that’s why he’s so angry?

  47. Interfacings wrote: in unrelated but still clearly related news: I just ate a spoonful of cream cheese frosting straight from the can and it was the best thing I did all day besides buy french fries to go with the dinner I’d packed myself. Both were necessary to restore my Sanity Watchers points.

    I just had some thinly sliced Tillamook cheddar with my Vivacious Vicky white wine. I now feel much more calm and centered. ;)

  48. Is it really true that only 9% of French women are overweight compared to 70% of Americans? Or is the article writer just assuming that French Women Don’t Get Fat is a scientific publication?

    Heh. When that book was published the amazing French lecturer who’s art history paper I was taking came to class fuming.

    Quote “There’s plenty of fat French women! They’re just too ashamed to leave the house because of bullshit like this!”

  49. Once or twice a year I might flip through a fashion magazine. Any more than that, and the content (for me) stops being what it is: FANTASY. Professional female models tend to be extraordinarily thin, unusually proportioned people. If they are modeling some $700 shoes or a $2000 sweater, what do I care? Buying those items is yet another fantasy.

    Now if a company is trying to sell me a $50 sweater from JC Penney’s or an Old Navy skirt for $19.95, I expect them to keep it real.

  50. I’m torn on this issue. Louboutin actually makes my size (10.5 narrow) unlike many (read: MOST) shoe companies so on one hand I tip my hat to him. But on the other hand how in God’s name does barbie have fat ankles?

    I’m going to have to play devils advocate and say even though I disagree with him on this point I would still buy his product if it showed up in my size and price range because my distress at the comment is less angry that my wildfire burning intense all-consuming hate of companies that stop at size 10 or do the “whole and half sizes up to 11, no 10.5″ which insinuate that anyone whose foot stops at 10.5 is grotesque, mutated, and not-a-real-woman which I find much more soul crushing than the insinuation that a plastic doll doesn’t measure up in his eyes.

  51. @Rebecca – is it really so horrible? I am sad to hear it. After 20 years in the 8.5-9.5 shoe size range, I was recently informed that I’m actually a size 11. Apparently, my pregnancy last year dramatically increased my shoe size. I’d hoped online would have better pickin’s – over the years I’ve noticed that size 10+ women who shop for shoes in stores have maybe four styles to choose from.

  52. 10.5 is a weird category. 11 is much easier to find than 10.5. The theory is that “because there are so few customers that wear 10.5 or 11″ that it’s best to “just make 11 because both sizes can buy the 11″ Which then insinuates that people that wear 10.5 should just suck it up and buy ill-fitting 1/2 size too big shoes because we are lesser people. And it’s also easier to find wides than it is to find narrows (not that finding a wide isn’t also difficult)

    The rage. it burns.

  53. in perspective though, but God help you if you’re 11.5 or 12.5 which trumps my problem and I want to buy all those fine ladies a drink. I know there are some people on here that have to be in those size categories. To all of you, I pat you on the back and offer the whiskey.

  54. My guess is that Louboutin wasn’t deliberately out to offend people, it’s that he has, and other high-end designers have, some of the biggest privilege blinders out there. Barbie’s existing feet and legs don’t look great in the shoes he envisioned? No problem, tell Mattel to make the foot fit the shoe! He’s used to this brand of twisted logic, designers do the same thing to models.

    “The damn dress is too tight!”
    “Lose ten pounds, fatso.”

    “The damn dress won’t let me raise my arms!”
    “So don’t raise your arms and it isn’t a problem.”

    “The damn dress is too big!”
    *record screeches*
    “Holy mother of sequins, I didn’t think that was possible these days!”

    Also, I am a card-carrying member of the Society of Big-Footed Women, at a 10-11 wide. (Some 10s fit, a few 11s fit, 10.5 would probably be ideal but nobody makes them, as Rebecca has pointed out.) I have found two pairs of everyday shoes that fit comfortably and one pair of boots that is kinda marginal on comfort but I am willing to forgive them, since they are not only cute boots, they are cute water-resistant boots with grippy rubber treads. Everything else in my closet sits there because it is either uncomfortable or downright painful. I have resigned myself to blisters whenever I have to wear formal shoes. There’s a wedding I have to attend on the 31st and my dress requires heels. Ouch. Last wedding I went to, I ended up with at least four blisters. Damn long toes, they never fit right or look right in sandals or dress shoes.

    I offer chocolate and sympathy, Rebecca. (The fatty’s version of tea and sympathy.) It’s hard enough to find large wide shoes, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to find large narrow shoes. Why are shoe designers so convinced that all human beings’ feet are the same width? Whyyyy?

  55. Sniper said “I think that was the same book that said women should weigh 100 pounds for the first five feet, and five pounds for each additional inch.” They were STILL TEACHING THAT when I was in college eight years ago. In the Nutrition course taught to daycare workers. Fucking hell.

  56. 100 pounds for the first five feet, and five pounds for each additional inch.

    I think I would be fairly skeletal if I only weighed 150 pounds…. (5’10”) and @libbyblue, wtf wtf wtf D:

    Also, I agree that her ankles only look poorly-defined because she has no calves to speak of. And the fact that this is a completely ridiculous topic and what the hell mr shoe designer dude.

    Oh, and skankle is hilarious.

  57. Wait…Barbie is too “fat” now? The Holy Grail of unrealistic body standards no longer fits the unrealistic body standards? I want my brain back.

    Helen Huntingdon-

    I followed SM’s mittens link, and it reports a supposed study (they were careful not to actually give a citation) that found (even if a related study exists, it’s highly improbable this kind of article reported on it correctly) that overweight people wind up with more heat in their extremities than thinner people.

    And the article says this is a bad thing.

    When was the last time anyone heard of someone’s hands or feet being heated from the inside to the point of pain? Because I’m always hearing about people whose hands and feet are cold to the point of pain due to one reason or another.

    *raises hand* I have very long, thin fingers, and cold cuts through my hands like a blade. So, apparently not suffering is a problem? I guess they aren’t even trying to use the BS “health” excuse for fat hatred anymore.

  58. @hsofia: Have you checked out Barefoot Tess? I have had good luck with them. . .sometimes pricey, but good sales. Shoes size 9.5 and up, I believe.

  59. In the Nutrition course taught to daycare workers. Fucking hell.

    … I am speechless. (I am also 5’1″ and at 105lb/7.5st I would be very underweight. Really ill, in fact.)

  60. I would like to tell all the women who think that fat ankles are something to warry about, that bony ankles suck. Even at my heaviest, my ankles were always bony – along with my feet, which, thanks to the boniness, have massive bunion-esque protrusions (which don’t hurt, but make it horrible to wear really pointy shoes. I love my Steve Madden Mary Janes!). The bones sticking out in my ankles are easily kicked when I walk (or run), and I have constant raw patches because they have no padding, no matter how much I weigh (I qualify as “overweight” now BMI-wise, yet my ankles are as bony as ever, and sporting attractive scabs from where I kicked them yesterday).

    This is like that idiotic thing about 7 years ago when bony clavicles were “in” (I’m bony, not thin), and women were starving themselves to get a visible clavicle. Being bony sucks – there’s never enough padding to stop bruising, and none of my necklaces ever lie flat. Fashion is stupid, stupid, stupid. I stick to the designers that know how to design for any foot (my feet are triangle-shaped, with short toes – I look good in ankle-strap Mary Janes and boots).

  61. My sanity watcher’s points are pretty stable, and that 100lbs for 5 feet isn’t that surprising. I was playing with a BMI calculator, and I would have to loose a full half of my body weight to be “normal.” Of course I told this to my husband with the numbers, and his response, “That would be half a Dani!! I want a WHOLE Dani!” I love my husband.

    That said, dear god designers need to pull their heads out of their asses. Look, you aren’t a creative genius if you cant design for more than straight lines. I’m an artist, I repaint canvases if I can’t afford to buy new, I repaint furniture I pull out of dumpsters, I redecorated my bedroom for $100, including 5 paintings, curtains, candles, and a host of stuff I repurposed from around the house (an old Halloween mask, some alcohol bottles, old dried flowers.) Lacking ideal conditions shouldn’t be enough to stop you. As someone upthread said, artists HAVE to create, it’s not a choice, it’s not something that waits for everything to be just right, if you don’t have the proper conditions you find a way within those conditions. I have no respect for designers who fall apart when they don’t have a rail thin model, if you don’t have enough creativity to make something look awesome on a curvy or fat figure, then you aren’t an artist.

  62. Am I paranoid for imagining a group of old guys sitting around a table, smoking cigars, saying “women are getting too uppity. What can we do to cut them down to size? What we need is a new physical flaw – one they never thought of before, and have a snowball’s chance of hell trying to change… I know! We’ll tell them their *ankles* are too fat! Mwahahaha! And of course we’ll define “too fat” as anything physically possible – brilliant!”
    I assume, since an already-impossibly thin plastic doll must be made thinner and more impossible to look good in these shoes, they must be hideous on an actual human being. (But hey, where did I get the loony idea that fashion was made to be worn by human beings?)

  63. “I’m pretty much convinced that fashion designers just hate all women, period.”

    Word.

    And just who the fuck do they think they are, anyways? I’d like to challenge Karl Lagerfeld to a cage match or something.

    When I hear folks quote these dipshits it gets me all rankly. Gah.

  64. I’d throw a sneaker at Christian Louboutin’s head but I need ‘em since the only shoes I wear most of the time are my Asics with the extra arch support. They’re comfortable and they fit my orthotics and at this point, anyone who’s judging me based on what shoes I wear is so not worth my time. Dammit.

    DRST

  65. I think I would be fairly skeletal if I only weighed 150 pounds…. (5′10″) and @libbyblue, wtf wtf wtf D:

    My best friend is 5’9 and weighs 160 pounds and she still comfortably wears a size 4/6. I saw a photo of her from high school where she weighed 145 (the “recommended” weight for 5’9) and she was SKINNY. Like, size 0/2 with hollow cheeks skinny.

  66. I was prepared to be all angry about this, but then I got distracted by my inner 6-year-old who just wants to chew on Barbie’s feet.

  67. I’ve so far succeeded in keeping Barbie out of my home — SuperHeroPrincess of course loves to play with them at other people’s houses — but I wish there really were fat Barbies (and muscular Barbies, and slender, small chested Barbies with realistic human proportions) so SuperHeroPrincess could play with them. Like Groovy Girls versions of Barbies. We have these tiny Disney Princesses (yuck, I know) but they are so small and their rubbery clothes relatively unappealing, and while they have ridiculously wee waists, they aren’t Barbie-shaped overall.
    I loved and hated Barbie, and like SuperHeroPrincess, played with her at others’ houses. Oh, and I saw a “Barbie and the Three Musketeers” playhouse that a friend’s daughter received as a requested gift at her birthday and thought, wait, isn’t that a, uh, adult film? (It turns out Barbie wants to be a Muskeeter.)

  68. My son has a Cinderella Barbie (and Prince Charming Ken who, for some unknown reason, came with a teddy bear) and, appropriately, lost her shoes, which were clear and sparkly.

  69. I saw this piece of “news” on Feministing yesterday and it just made me laugh out loud. I thought it was just too out-of-this-world ridiculous to be taken seriously. What… no. I can’t even get upset about.

  70. My sister’s few Barbies got drafted to fight alongside G.I. Joe, Rocklords, Orcs, LEGO soldiers and pirates, etc. IIRC the problem was that they couldn’t hold anything in their hands, say a rifle or a scimitar.

  71. My sister’s few Barbies got drafted to fight alongside G.I. Joe, Rocklords, Orcs, LEGO soldiers and pirates, etc. IIRC the problem was that they couldn’t hold anything in their hands, say a rifle or a scimitar.

    Yeah, I have to say, I don’t see how skinnier ankles is going to help Barbie with her important work of having all-night makeout parties with Midge and then visiting My Little Pony Land.

  72. Sorry, but I saw that mittens story yesterday and had to laugh.

    I wonder if it occurred to anyone in the mitten intelligensia that people not wearing mittens might have more to do with all the gadgets we use with tiny buttons than with all the fatsos whose hands get too hot inside mittens. Dialing a cell phone with mittens on is kind of like playing the piano while wearing oven mitts.

    Perhaps if mitten makers made their product more technology friendly — by making more of the glove-mitten hybrids (you know, the ones that have the top part of your fingers separated and leave the tips bare so you can dial a phone or snap a camera shutter, with a flap that can be flipped over your fingertips to keep ‘em warm), maybe their industry wouldn’t be dying.

  73. Oh, and Barbie’s inability to stand on her own pointy feet was a constant source of irritation to me, as were her pointy fingers that were forever poking holes in her clothes.

    If they weren’t so expensive, I’ve heartily recommend the Tyler Wentworth doll line by Robert Tonner for girls who want “Fashion Dolls.” They are bigger (taller and thicker) than Barbies, have gorgeous clothes and have great joints that make them poseable and dressable. You might be able to get some cheap on eBay, as I think they are kind of out-of-fashion with doll collectors.

  74. Alas, I cannot take credit for this invention. I think they’re more commonly known as “hunting mittens,” but I use them when I’m shooting pictures outside in the winter, rather than shooting guns.

    http://www.bkkenterprises.com/proddetail.asp?prod=ACGLOW%5FMT

    Geez, a fat person talking on the phone AND outside doing something other than walking to her car to drive to the mailbox. I can hear heads exploding all down Sixth Avenue.

  75. Aleks, as one commenter on the mitten article pointed out, fat people never leave their houses and therefore don’t need mittens. I guess he’s forgotten that we need something to keep our hands warm on the day the crane comes to lift us onto the back of the truck bound for the hospital/Oprah’s set.

  76. My daughter read this over my shoulder. She loves her barbies, and her books and her art supplies etc. She was adamant that Barbie does not have fat ankles. I don’t know why she cared so much and we talked about how bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that ones appearance is not related to character. I suspect she will soon out grow the barbies as she has the princesses. I was very worried about the damaging impact of barbies and princesses but now I see it really is about fantasy and a passing phase at best.

    She also says she is half tomboy and doesn’t know what she wants the other half to be.

    I can only hope that these hateful comments by the elder statesmen of fashion are the last gasp of a dieing regime.

  77. @Jmars:

    Okay, well, you can’t patent a fashion product, so you design a logo, fancy the glittens (moves?) up and rebrand them for fatties only! Or something like that… And actually, I live in Florida and rarely have a need for any kind of hand protection…

  78. I guess he’s forgotten that we need something to keep our hands warm on the day the crane comes to lift us onto the back of the truck bound for the hospital/Oprah’s set.

    Hee!

  79. Thanks SM! I don’t knit, myself, or have time to learn at the moment, but my Grandma does. Maybe she’d make a pair for when I visit her in Kentucky this Winter…

  80. My ankles and wrists, hands and feet are the only skinny things about me. In marked contrast to the rest of my vaguely teddy-bear-like body, they border on being frickin’ elegant enough to satisfy Monsieur Louboutin. And you know what? They get cold. And, like Laura M, I can say that bony ankles suck. It’s not so great not ever being comfortable sitting on the floor with your legs crossed “Indian-style” because your damn ankles are being ground into the floor.

    This “cankle” crap, both pre- and post-Louboutin, is just another example of reducing women to objectified body parts that can be dissected and judged. For god’s sake, ankle padding has nothing to do with overall body size, anyway. I’ve known several women with the trait, and it has nothing to do with weight.

  81. I agree. Barbie’s ankles just didn’t seem to matter all that much when she was running from Headless Ken. Or after she was caught and suspended from the blade of the ceiling fan. Or after he turned it on.

  82. “My best friend is 5′9 and weighs 160 pounds and she still comfortably wears a size 4/6. I saw a photo of her from high school where she weighed 145 (the “recommended” weight for 5′9) and she was SKINNY. Like, size 0/2 with hollow cheeks skinny.”

    That’s because women have to be dainty and should never be tall unless they’re models. Why should the rules work for women who are already hopelessly unladylike because they’re taller than a lot of men? A real woman would have stopped gaining height below 5’8″ like the rest of us.

    /sarcasm

    Seriously, how did they come up with something even more borked than the BMI?. “100 pounds + 5 pounds per inch over 5 feet” adds up to a BMI of only 20 (for short people) to 22 (for tall people).

  83. Sarah B — “moves” I like that. Now I’ve got an idea for a pair with a black and white “cow print” on the outside and pink finger parts. Would it be horrible to call them “Moo-ves”?

    Also, I might have just the yarn for Shiyiya’s glittens, too. Will have to check out the yarn stash tonight.

    Thanks for the pattern link, SM!!

  84. Jmars: if by horrible, you mean horribly wonderful, then hell yes! That sounds like many different kinds of win.

    And yes, the marketing of Moves(TM) is taking my mind off of the horrible-ness that is the fashion industry.

  85. Barbie’s ankles just didn’t seem to matter all that much when she was running from Headless Ken. Or after she was caught and suspended from the blade of the ceiling fan. Or after he turned it on.

    Jeez, Volcanista! What were you playing, Friday the 13th Barbie?

    My sister’s few Barbies got drafted to fight alongside G.I. Joe, Rocklords, Orcs, LEGO soldiers and pirates, etc.

    See, I was the opposite. Without even trying I was the femmiest little girl in the entire world- you’d think a toy company had made me for a focus group. Whenever a boy friend left a G.I. Joe or thatsuch at my house, I didn’t know what to do with it. So I’d put a doll dress on it. I did that with a foot-tall Godzilla toy that scared me too. I wish I still had the ability to instantly feminize any man that threatened me now.

    I don’t remember who told me this, and I take full responsibility for any privilege/un-P.C.-ness it entails, but I once had a conversation with someone in which I was complaining about how high fashion is useless because no actual women can wear those clothes. And the person I was talking to said, “Of course not, because they’re not for women. They’re designed for the effeminate 15-year-old boys that the designers actually want to have sex with, but saying that out loud would cause uproar.” Huh. In any event, that’s what I started to tell myself when I felt like I was getting upset by high fashion.

  86. Still have a few comments to read but this: “I was prepared to be all angry about this, but then I got distracted by my inner 6-year-old who just wants to chew on Barbie’s feet.”

    Made me outright giggle. I’d be right there with you because I have a few *cough*many*cough* barbies which have all nommed up hands and feet. They were just so PERFECT for idle munching! I know, strange. :)

    And I’d totally be all over some glittens.

  87. @Starling: Yeah, stick figures…my husband has suggested using one of those motorized racks that you see at the dry cleaner’s shop.

  88. You know, the original article in The Star actually has more useful information on the study, aside from the “fat people don’t need mittens” bit. The doctor and the writer specifically talk about how hard it is to lose weight and speculate that the heat regulation thing might have something to do with it for fat folks. The doc even says, “The whole question of an optimal weight is very complicated.” Of course this is followed by ‘well then there’s the reaaaaallly fat people who are all gonna fall over and die’ because we can’t actually accept people as they are or anything.

    *offers a random link to dating advice for those not interested in mittens or exercise.

    DRST

  89. Lucy: I mean, as all kids know, Barbie’s head and limbs could be reattached once they were disconnected, because they were just ball joints (except for My First Barbie, but she was annoying anyway, with her legs that didn’t bend). So that lulled us into complacency, thinking we could take off Ken’s head… only to discover that Ken was different, and not just because of his painted-on undies and hair. Removing his head actually broke his neck joint and it would never go back on again. I mean, you could cram it back on there, but then he had no neck. So sometimes we’d just pretend he had a head (I mean, this was Tropical Ken, who was very dreamy), but he also made the perfect ghost for our Barbie horror episodes. Usual story: Barbie and friends on a road trip in the Barbie car, which breaks down near a house in the woods. They enter to see if they can use the phone, but the door locks behind them! And then the ghosts attack. Oh noez! We must have played it 100 times. The ceiling fan was also important in all of our games. 1) You can hang things from it and make them swing around. And 2) you can put stuffed animals on top of it, and when you turn it on they fly around the room. Fun times for all!

    Note that we did also brush and braid Barbie and Midge’s hair and put clothes on them, though shoes always fell off and got lost (I mean, did anyone actually USE the shoes beyond the first week of a new Barbie? it makes this article even funnier to me that someone thinks the shoes actually mattered). But after a while we’d get bored and we’d kill them all.

  90. And the person I was talking to said, “Of course not, because they’re not for women. They’re designed for the effeminate 15-year-old boys that the designers actually want to have sex with, but saying that out loud would cause uproar.”

    I’ve heard this before and I don’t like it: it rests on some homophobic and body-shaming assumptions that have no place here.

    and I take full responsibility for any privilege/un-P.C.-ness it entails

    You know, any time you find yourself saying something like this, you should really ask yourself if it’s something you want to be saying in the first place. “I know it’s not PC, but…” means “Forgive me in advance for offending you.” Why not just skip the offense?

  91. SM, you’re totally right. It was in no way meant to offend anyone or even reflect a belief I have; I paused before sharing it, but I wondered if anyone else had heard anything similar in light of the venom on the part of designers towards actual women.

    In any event, thank you for the check.

  92. Volcanista,
    Boys are toons, you can drop anything you want on their heads, they’ll shake it off. But break their hearts? They go to pieces just like you or me.

  93. Lucy, I think one can emphasize that designers seem to see women as obstacles that impede the pure design of their clothing art without going down the gays-want-to-sex-up-children route.

  94. Volcanista: the only time I’ve ever seen a Barbie swinging from a fan blade is at our neighbors’ Passover seders, in which they’re known to pull all kinds of stunts to illustrate the ten plagues, including spraying everyone with fake blood, displaying embalmed pregnant rats ordered from eBay, and using a Barbie hanging from a fan blade as the death of the firstborn.

    Never would I have thought of Barbie Slumber Party Massacre, though! Feminism explosion!

  95. I think one can emphasize that designers seem to see women as obstacles that impede the pure design of their clothing art

    On teacher work days when we have a chance to meet, plan, and grade someone always makes a joke about how much work we get done when the kids aren’t there. Of course, we’re just joking. The fashion designers seem to mean it.

  96. But see, guys, that’s because fashion is really art, and bodies are just the vehicles for displaying art! They aren’t clothes meant to clothe people or anything crazy like that!

  97. It’s not so great not ever being comfortable sitting on the floor with your legs crossed “Indian-style” because your damn ankles are being ground into the floor.

    Ever knocked your ankle bones together and then crumpled to the floor in agony? My clumsy ass does this all the time. Why does that hurt so much?!?!

  98. So I guess my size 7 (size 5 UK / 38 Euro) feet are another mark of my privilege. It’s true, most styles of shoe fit my feet pretty well. (Same with clothes – I’m kinda medium). The only downside of having a popular size is that it tends to sell out before the sales are on. I can live with that.

  99. OT @ aleks, you remind my of my ElemEd instructor who told us on the first day of class “Don’t be a teacher ‘because you love kids’. That’s a terrible reason to be a teacher. Kids don’t need teachers who *love* them. They have grandparents for that.”

  100. [i]but I wondered if anyone else had heard anything similar in light of the venom on the part of designers towards actual women.[/i]

    It’s one I hear in New Zealand almost anytime the subject of fashion comes up in general conversation. Here it tends go hand in hand with the assertation that women are stupid if they care about fashion because after all it’s not designed to make ‘real’ men find them more attractive.

    Following Sweet Machine and aleks’ comment I’d also add there’s enough motivation for the fashion/cosmetics/advertising industry to promote an unrealistic image as achievable perfection, and for fashion in particular to render models a disposable workforce, without it all hinging a bizarre sexual motivation on the part of designers.

  101. I still find it interesting how criticism of fashion design as an art is often couched in homophobic/ misogynist terms. It’s a way to denigrate all of it in one swell foop:
    – woman=silly & less than.
    – designers may be male dominated, BUT still=gay/womanish, and therefore silly & less than.
    – women wanting designers to design for them is a silly infringment on the male creative privilege, albeit a silly and womanish male privilege.
    – Who really cares what those faggy designers and silly women do anyway, amirite?

  102. Hey, hetero men are at fault for most things, we can’t afford to take on the blame for high fashion too. We like women’s bodies.

  103. Like so many of you, my first thought concerned Mr Louboutin’s capability to do his actual job. Barbie already has seventeen gazillion pairs of shoes. Methinks she’s not impossible to design for.
    (my Teresa has an awesome pair of handmade fetish-style boots I bought on eBay :) )

    I think we need a Friday Fluff thread for all the sick, alarming and inventive ways all girls have played with Barbie. Despite appearing a simple fashion slave, she’s a surprisingly versatile toy.
    BTW, eighties Barbies had a neck joint that could not be popped back after getting her head off, not easily at least and the joint often broke, too. The modern day Barbies are similar. Ken, however… The poor guy has a neck joint like a My Little Pony, so his head is very easy to remove and replace. This did not make his life easy in the hands of many little girls. I’m pretty sure I had a friend who used to play Barbie The Executioner…

  104. This thread is missing its “do not read in public unless you have no fear of looking like a fool as you laugh hysterically” warning label.

  105. for my mental wellbeing, I have to go with the theory it was actually about the ridiculous skinny-ness of barbies feet and calves compared to the ankles, rather than the ankles being too fat. if she had a curve to her calves, and reasonable feet, the ankle/foot/calve proportions would have been okay.

  106. I first saw this on Unfunny Business, and my reaction was WTF?!?!?! Seriously, Barbie doesn’t have fat ankles. Although I must admit to being surprised that no one in the fashion industry complaining that Barbie has large breasts and big hips. Because, y’know, if she’s not a stick with no curves whatsoever than clearly she is Teh Fats no matter what her waist size is, and we all know Teh Fats Must Be Stopped. *eyeroll* Then again, I was always too busy sending my Barbies on epic interplanetary expeditions and fantasy quests to pay attention to what they wore. My Star Trek Barbie was the one I played with the most, and she wore tall boots, so they maybe they just covered up her “cankles” (and what a stupid word is that? They ought to be fined for abuse of portmanteau!) well enough that I ever noticed. Yes, I am a nerd.

    As a doll collector: For those of you looking for a doll with a more realistic body for your kids, check out the Japanese Takara Jenny. She was originally the Japanese version of Barbie, and she has much smaller breasts, a more rounded waist, and smaller hips because of Japanese objection to the traditional sexualized Barbie figure. They are totally adorable- their faces are done in the anime style with very wide eyes, and they are just so cute! You can get them off EBay, and I believe Toys ‘R Us just started selling an American version. If you really trust your kid or are really worried about her body image if she’s heavier (or older) try the Tonner Emme doll. This really is not for little kids, though; it’s a collector doll and priced accordingly.

  107. The comments are so right on. This is so ridiculous. Need to find another post to read, because I feel like I’m going to cry. I recently started my fat/body/self acceptance journey (well, my whole life, really, but now it’s a more conscious effort), and damn, this is hard. Peace to all.

  108. The barbies in my house don’t worry about their cankles, they’re just grateful if they still have feet and hands after 5 minutes with Little My jr.
    Those Tonner dolls are divine!. I want the Joan Crawford but only if i can have a
    a Betty Davies one too so i can re-enact all my favorite baby jane moments.
    Or maybe Joan doll can adopt skipper and we can play “mommie dearest”.
    barbie got nothing on Joan..

  109. To paraphrase Margaret Cho: KARL LAGERFELD IS AN ASSHAT. IMO, so are most fashion designers. That’s why I’m so glad I don’t give them ANY of my money. Besides, do any of their clothes actually LOOK GOOD on women, even the models? No. They all look like they’ve been trapped in a really bad ’80’s punk movie. When even poor Barbie is judged as having fat anything, you know this world is going to hell in a big way.

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