Opinions

Let’s Talk About The Dream Gap

Have you heard of The Dream Gap? It’s Barbie’s new campaign, and it’s causing quite a storm already.

Not that Barbie is a stranger to controversy, of course. This campaign is the most recent in a long-line of similar campaigns -let’s take a look at some of the popular ones over time.

In 2008, there was We Believe in Girls.

In 2014, there was The Barbie Project. (although this one has a slightly different message)

In 2015, there was Imagine The Possibilities. 

There’s been other campaigns, too, like Dads Who Play Barbie, #Unapologetic, Anything Is Possible and I Can Be.

But anyway. Back to The Dream Gap.

It all started four days ago, when this video was released.

This video only received 37 thousand views. If you’re not familiar with YouTube, that sounds like a lot -but it’s really not, especially since Barbie has five million subscribers. To put this in comparison, daily vlogs, where people film mundane things like visiting the supermarket or cleaning their house, often get 200 thousand views or more.

Two days ago, another video was released -this time it was Barbie’s vlog, where she talks about The Dream Gap and how girls like Chelsea are afraid to speak up and share their ideas.

This one received 90 thousand views.

Since then, Barbie has been posting quite a bit of Twitter and Instagram.

This a reference to a 2014 search analysis conducted by the New York Times, who found that parents of sons are more likely to search ‘is my son gifted?’, and parents of daughters are more likely to search ‘is my daughter overweight?’ or ‘is my daughter ugly?’

Read more here.

Unfortunately, most of the comments have been negative.

via Instagram.

via Twitter.

In my opinion, I feel like people are seriously missing the point of this campaign. People are saying things like ‘that’s not true! my daughters know they can be whatever they want to be!’ and ‘that’s not true! I never doubted myself!’

And sure, that’s great! But for a lot of children, that’s just not true.

Barbie Close the Dream Gap

For me personally, I remember we were separated into groups in primary (elementary) school. There was the ‘smart group,’ who would do more advanced work, and the ‘dumb group’, who would do “regular work.” The smart group was always full of boys, with one or two token girls. We were probably around six.

Barbie says that “by the time girls are five, they have already started to doubt the possibilities.” I feel that this is really true -by the time I was five, I knew I couldn’t be a police officer, firefighter, politician, construction worker, engineer, astronaut or airplane pilot. Because, after all, girls just didn’t do those things.

I now know, obviously, I could have been a police officer and all those other things, but nobody told me at the time. It just wasn’t an option. Even today, I’ve never seen a female firefighter or airplane pilot. Literally never. 

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Nowadays, if a customer is upset with me, they won’t listen to anything I am saying. They’ll just yell more and more. And when a male co-worker (who’s at the same level as me) comes over, and tells them the exact same thing that I’m saying, they’ll listen.

I also have many friends who didn’t sign up for computer class, or the more advanced maths or science class, because they would be the only girl in the class. And if you don’t take the advanced maths and science classes, you can’t get into a more advanced degree (like being a doctor or engineer). And if you don’t do the degree, you can’t get the job.

So that’s just my experience. Anyway. Back to the point.

I decided to visit the offical website to try and find some more information. Here’s what it says:

Research shows that children pick up on cultural stereotypes at a very young age that suggest women aren’t as smart as men. These stereotypes are often perpetuated by the media and grown-ups who subtly reinforce them.

The self-limiting beliefs these stereotypes create can snowball to affect a girl’s trajectory and future career choices. They may even discourage women to pursue prestigious careers, especially in fields that value brilliance.

I feel that this is very true. Yes, there are women who are doctors and scientists and such, but how many? How many female doctors have you seen, compared to male doctors?

We’re committed to learning more about the Dream Gap and how we can help. This is a highly under-researched issue that needs our attention, so we’ll be funding a research program in collaboration with Associate Professor Andrei Cimpian from New York University. Globally, we’re working with local researchers to identify what issues may be holding girls back from fulfilling their potential around the world.

This is interesting -I wonder whether the findings of the study will be highlighted later on.

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As expected, there is quite a bit of media coverage surrounding the campaign.

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Not to be cynical or anything, but I feel like this will run for another few months or so -we might see a few more videos, a few more Instagram posts- and then it will fade into oblivion. A couple years later, we’ll see another #GirlsCanDoAnything campaign and things will start all over again.

Still, it’s giving Mattel lots of positive media attention and I suppose it’s spreading awareness.

On another note, I’ve been a bit busy recently so I haven’t been posting that much. I know I always say that, I know! But seriously -hopefully I can get back to “regular posting” in December.

Eugenie and Jack with (back row) Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Theodora Williams, Isla Phillips, Louis De Givenchy, Mia Tindall, Savannah Phillips and Maud Windsor. Picture: Alex Bramall

Finally, did we all watch the wedding? I watched a bit towards the end. Not the most entertaining thing on television, but still, I felt obliged. Doesn’t Prince George look sweet here?

Also, WordPress reminded me today that it’s my four-year-anniversary here. Happy anniversary to me! ~

See ya’ll soon.

xx

You can find me...

 

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About The Dream Gap

  1. Happy anniversary, Holly! Congrats on the four years! I’ve only been here since December, but I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen! I hope you continue to blog for years to come!

    Honestly, I’d never even heard of the Dream Gap until Mattel posted those videos about it. I didn’t know about the data of parents asking if girls are talented or not. That’s really sad. All parents should know their children are gifted regardless of whether they be male or female. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everybody.

    Personally, I never really questioned what I could be in elementary grades, probably because I always wanted to be either a writer or teacher. Still do, honestly. Also, our school never separated into “smart” vs. “dumb” groups. They do separate based on reading abilities, but I’ve been a teacher’s aide for two years now and I’ve always seen a mix of boys and girls. One of the groups may actually have fewer boys than girls, but I’m not sure.

    Funny you mentioned the number of doctors, because I was just thinking about it, and I actually think my doctor’s office has quite a few females. Not that I’ve ever counted…

    Also, I totally did not watch the royal wedding! I forgot about it! I love the picture you posted! Princess Charlotte and Prince George always look so adorable! I’ve have to check out more of the photos,

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    1. Ah that’s so interesting! My primary school was not the best though lol. I wanted to be a teacher for awhile as well, but now I don’t -I think I would go crazy haha.

      What’s funny is that people search “is my two year old son gifted” more than any other age. Like… they’re two! They can hardly do anything!

      (Well, I suppose if they were reading novels at two, that would be pretty special, but I doubt they are!)

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      1. Yeah, I go to a very small K-!2 school, and there’s probably only about 250 kids in entirety. I’ve been attending there since kindergarten. In the lower grades (like kindergarten through second), the teacher arranged the students into two groups based upon where they are in their comprehension of the reading material. Or something like that. They probably take more into consideration, too, in an effort to keep the naughty kids in separate groups! The groups allow the kids to build confidence in their reading, and also allow the teacher time to assess their abilities.

        People are searching if their two year old is gifted?! What in the world! That’s crazy! A two year old is just starting to talk! They can’t read, write, or do much of anything! I, too, doubt they’re reading novels. That would be something, though. All a two year old can really do is make messes and get into stuff they shouldn’t! Lol!

        Honestly, I think I might go crazy being a teacher too! I’d definitely have to work on my patience. It’s good that I’m a teacher’s aide as that helps me see how the teacher deals with the kid. She’s very patient, especially considering what some of those kids do! Like totally ignore what she’s saying, not listening…but I love her teaching style. She teaches second grade, which I think is a good grade to teach.Like, they can already read, do simple math, and should have some social skills down by that point. Not saying it’d be easy, but I still think it may be what’s in store for my life. Maybe-we’ll see. I guess I don’t really have to know for sure now. After all, I’m only fifteen!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t heard of the Dream Gap till this post, but it sounds interesting! I like how Mattel is promoting gender equality.

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