Vintage body anxiety

I gave a talk last week at the Kansas City Library about Barbie. I won’t belabor my ideas here, but I did want to share a vintage Barbie workout video that one of the awesome audience members sent to me later. She had potent memories of doing these workout videos as a little girl.

I didn’t have this particular video, but I do remember being a little obsessed with some kind of mommy and me workout video. (involving real, live, calorie-burning obsessed women and girls!). In some ways, that time seemed pretty innocent. There was no obesity epidemic. There was no Jessica Simpson. It was just girls and their moms having a good time in cotton candy pink leg warmers. Right?
On the other hand, of course, this was sometimes the beginning of some girls’ body anxiety. Many moms of the 80s gave their little girls these videos as a not-so-subtle attempt to get them to lose weight, or induct them into the horrific female ritual of body hatred and fitness addiction.
I suppose it all really came down to the spirit in which girls and women of the 80s marched it out–with gleeful joy to be moving and grooving or a sense of obligation and body anxiety?
Thanks to Kristin Marciniak for finding the video.

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