Artist Uses Barbie to Make You Rethink What Being a Modern Woman Really Means


Everyone knows Barbie, the tall, slender doll with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. In addition, everyone knows by now that she's also set an unrealistic standard of beauty for the young kids whom she's marketed to. One Toronto-based conceptual artist named Annelies Hofmeyr decided to turn that whole idea of Barbie on her head and actually use her to shatter those very stereotypes about women.

  • Now introducing Trophy Wife Barbie, Hofmeyr's multifaceted version of the iconic doll, who can be found on Instagram with the handle @trophywifebarbie.

    Her work with Barbie explores gender issues and the modern female identity, specifically the "limitations of labels," Hofmeyr tells CafeMom. Barbie was the perfect nonthreatening and humorous platform to use for talking about challenging issues.

    "Barbie is such a household name and most people have some sort of connection with her," Hofmeyr continues. "What I try to do is take Barbie, essentially a blank canvas, and project grown-up issues onto her, making her more relatable to a different audience. Once you relate to someone, it's much harder to hate them and makes you more open to seeing them differently."

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  • Unlike the original Barbie, Hofmeyr's is actually relatable -- and unapologetic. She's divorced, smokes weed, gets acne, and flaunts her body hair and cellulite.

    "I specifically chose to use a blonde white Barbie to highlight the limitations of stereotyping -- Barbie is held as the standard for beauty and desirability, but showing her as an activist/feminist/friend, I hope to show that nobody is just one thing," Hofmeyr tells CafeMom.

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  • If you haven't noticed, Hofmeyr's Barbie also dons antlers, which Hofmeyr says represents the label imposed on her, and likens her to a hunting trophy.

    However, unlike the original Barbie, Trophy Wife Barbie doesn't live according to those stereotypes or labels. Hofmeyr made sure her Barbie owned her vices and all of the other things that make her more real.

  • Trophy Wife Barbie, like all of us have experienced, sometimes forgets to get her roots done.

    "Same, girl," someone commented on this image.

    "Omg this is just hilarious," another person commented.

  • Sometimes she accidentally opens her phone camera when it's in selfie mode and sees an unflattering angle of her face.

    This happens to the best of us, sometimes multiple times a day.

  • Most recently, Trophy Wife Barbie unabashedly enjoys her Thanksgiving dinner.

    Stomach rolls aren't things usually shown on dolls, much less Barbie dolls.

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  • Hofmeyr hopes her Barbie will motivate people to think for themselves and break free of the stereotypes they feel are given to them.

    "Being represented, even in doll form, has a tremendously affirming ability," she says. "Building people up and promoting confidence and a healthy self-esteem is very important to me."

    Hofmeyr's work seems to have struck a chord with audiences, as she's about to have a Trophy Wife Barbie exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, in the beginning of next year. To find out more, check out her mailing list. Otherwise, we should all just revel in the glory that is the shameless Trophy Wife Barbie, and maybe learn a thing or two from her.

body positivity body image self esteem