Guest Post: Postcards from Canada.

Bienvenue à Toronto! (Welcome to Toronto!) (02/05/11).

I must admit I feel like I have squandered a lot of my time thus far in Toronto. I am yet to do anything incredibly touristy, unless you count walking the streets and taking photos of pretty buildings. Walking around everywhere has helped me to learn my way around the city and a lot of the street names, as well as find some hidden gems. I do intend to see the view from the CN Tower, get some culture at the Royal Ontario Museum and revel in all things the Maple Leaves at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Instead of acting like a tourist I’m at the point in my journey when I need pieces of home. And for me that means seeing my favourite band, Anberlin, who happen to be in town, and catching a roller derby bout next week. Not exactly Australian past times but they do equate to a relative state of normalcy for me. After Disneyland satisfied my love of shopping (and added to my collections of badges, Mr. Potato Heads and stuffed toys), Toronto alleviated my impulse to buy dresses. I got a super cute white and blue speckled summery number from H&M.

H&M also had a staff wanted sign up too, which brings me to my other mission while in Toronto: finding a job, and hopefully a house. I’ve seen a few signs around, which is more than I can say for the online classifieds. I also got into apartment hunting, mainly to see what is out there, but it all seems scarier in a foreign place. After only a few days here I deemed it responsible to extend my stay at the backpackers another two weeks. While living at the hostel I’ve managed to meet some good people, mostly boys. One I have nicknamed “Dreamboat”, a particularly charming and adorable man, who I have already written to my best friend, girlfriends and mum about. But being in a backpackers and talking to other travellers has meant I’ve heard many a travel/life story over beers, good old pub grub and games of pool. How very Australian!

“United Nations of Awesome!” (09/05/11).

So week two of Toronto life got a little more productive and a lot more exciting.

After chatting in the bar with a friend, James, I ran into one of my old roomies and another boy I’d met through him. Despite my lack of shoes, they tried to talk me into coming along on a pub-crawl. With a bit of arm twisting, and a mental self reminder to “roll with the punches”, I was recruited.

Being after midnight by the time we left, we only had a few hours before last call (which is 2am for a 2.30am close here in Toronto). With no real idea of where we were going we set off down the road and headed into a nearby pub. After having all our IDs checked and purchasing drinks, we settled into a large table, accommodating all 12 or so of us, and started to get to know one another. Everybody had some connection to someone else there, but most of us were new to one another.

With time against us, after downing one drink, we headed to our next location, a bar all of one minute from the last.

The second pub was much the same as the first. Everyone ordered a drink and we got chatting. We discovered that our little group consisted of seven different nationalities and after my flippant comment, “We’re just like the United Nations”, another Aussie, Luke, piped up with, “Yeah, the United Nations of Awesome!” A wonderful name that I will forever associate with that night.

CN Towerific (11/05/11).

The Toronto Blue Jays at practice. Break me off a piece o’ dat!

After the events of the pub-crawl, I managed to meet a great group of people.

With a lot of them either leaving or staying in different hostels, there weren’t many to be seen around the backpackers. However, I did get a new roommate, a New Zealand traveller named Hannah.

We were pretty friendly, pretty quickly. We talked about our travels and our intended travels, as well as life at home.

Later that night we ran into each other in the bar and got chatting again. We subsequently met two guys from the hostel,  another Aussie and an Irishman. After talking to them for a while, the suggestion of tequila shots came up. I passed but was obviously ignored as a shot was placed in front of me, just like the other three. This was to be my first ever tequila shot, at the ripe old age of 25! With free alcohol being supplied by the Irishman and his inability to understand the word “no”, I proceeded to drink another four tequilas and two vodka sunrises, to end up just a wee bit tipsy. However, I did not realise the alcohol’s affect on my senses until I tried to stand still for a little bit and could feel myself swaying. Quite an interesting experience as I rarely drink so much in such quick succession and have never even felt tipsy before.

Having lost Hannah to the company of another, I spent some time with my Irish friends from the pub-crawl. They reminded me of their plan to hit up the CN Tower the following day, so we arranged a time to meet up and I headed off to bed.

(If there was one thing I was excited about doing in Toronto it was seeing the CN Tower, a structure built to deal with the growing telecommunication needs of the city. There’s something about seeing a whole city from a bird’s eye view that makes me happy.)

The group consisted of myself, my new roomie Hannah, fellow Aussie Sol, the birthday girl Tanya, her boyfriend Peter, and their friend Sarah.

We made our way up the 114 storeys, 346m (1,136ft), to the observation deck. I spent a lot of time taking photos of every bit of the city I could see with my amazing camera. When everyone was done we headed down to the glass floor level.

This level is much like the one above but a section of the floor has been replaced with glass panels. The idea is to stand over the panels (they can hold the weight of four rhinoceroses) and look down at the plaza below. That’s 342m down! Being not afraid of heights, just a tad afraid of falling, and having done The Edge experience at the Eureka Skydeck back in Melbourne, I was very surprised to find myself feeling physically ill when I came within a foot of the glass floor. (I’m blaming the 5 shots of tequila from the night before!) It took Sol pushing me across the floor to get me on the glass panels and even then I couldn’t bring myself to look down. I snapped a few photos through the floor but could only stand there for about 30 seconds before I thought I’d lose my breakfast, which consisted of Tim Horton’s, naturally.

We did get a few rather good photos of our feet and our mugs as we stood over the glass floor. 

After some gift shop purchases (I didn’t earn the nickname Gift Shop Girl for no reason!) and an epic air hockey battle, with the birthday girl being the victor, we made our way back to the hostel.

Once home, we all settled in for another night of drinking at our hostel’s bar and our newest tradition, late night early morning McDonalds!

“I’m Niagara Fall-ing for This Place” (12/05/11).

My lovely roomie, Hannah, convinced me to accompany her on a day trip to Niagara Falls and so I obliged. Despite a little direction-related tiff between the tour guide and the bus driver, the hour and a half drive was rather pleasant and very informative.

The guide spoke about the history of Toronto, Hamilton, St Catharines and Niagara, as well as the significance of buildings or districts that we travelled through or past. I learnt about the Mississauga,  Etobicoke and Iroquois tribes and that the name Spadina Avenue (the road next to my hostel) originates from the Ojibwa word ishpadinaa meaning “sudden rise in the land”, and that Toronto was a Mohawk word meaning “where there are trees standing in the water” which, according to the tour guide, referred to the trees the natives used to tie their canoes to.

After my education, and nearly crossing the US border, we arrived in Niagara Falls to be hit by the extreme beauty and awesomeness of the falls and their surrounds.

First on the agenda was our Maid in the Mist experience, where you go on a boat down into the falls. Just looking at the falls from the bus, or even the road, was spectacular, but being down there, right in the falls, was incredibly awe-inspiring. We may have looked like giant, blue condoms but having the pristine water mist over you as you get a hands on experience was well worth the extra $16.

After taking too many photos, water logging our cameras and drinking our own piece of the falls (trust me, you can’t help but get at least a mouthful!), Hannah and I headed in the direction of food.

I wanted nothing more than a hot dog and chips and Hannah felt like ice cream so we found a hot dog stand right next to an ice creamery (!) and then took our loot to an amazing memorial park that overlooked the falls, escaping the mini-Vegas that is the main street.

It was the most picturesque way to spend an afternoon. 

With not much time remaining until our bus departed, we ran over to the Hershey’s store for a sticky beak. I discovered they make York mint patties, which I had been meaning to try since first seeing the ad on US television. Departing with a massive bag of them, and having had our photos taken with the giant Hershey’s Kiss character, we legged it to the bus stop, where we realised neither of us remembered what kind of bus we rode into town on. 

Finding other lost souls from our bus, we found the vehicle and made our way to Niagara-On-The-Lake, via the whirlpool, a section of the lake, which branches off but in the centre the churning water looks like a whirlpool. There we spotted a hot boy, a fellow Aussie who had gone unnoticed on our bus, who laughed along with me at Hannah’s reluctance to go anywhere near the cliff face.

At Niagara-On-The-Lake the first place I spotted was a store with stuffed toys in the window and a hilarious sign, “The Owl & The Pussycat, at the Sign of the Pineapple”. (I forgot to ask the cashier to explain said sign.) I dragged Hannah inside and found myself a hand puppet version of Red from Fraggle Rock! Han wasn’t too familiar with the show—let’s just blame her youth—but a lady in the street commented, “Oh, you’ve got yourself a Fraggle!” Glad to know the average Canadian appreciated my purchase, too.

Let’s Get Zoological (14/05/11).

The Saturday brought Sarah’s birthday, a bunch of rain and a trip to the zoo. After an hour and 45 minutes and one streetcar, a subway and a bus, we arrived at the Toronto Zoo.

Our group consisted of myself, Sol,  birthday girl Sarah, Tanya, Peter, Thomas and Declan.

Following consultation with the map we made our way towards the polar bear enclosure. We found one of the two bears swimming adorable laps of his pool. We watched and took amazing photos for about twenty minutes. He looked so peaceful that all I wanted to do was cuddle him. I could have watched him all day!

With that checked off my wish list I would have been happy to head home, as Thomas would probably agree. (He shares my love for polar bears!) Despite the miserable weather we soldiered on. We explored more of the tundra region, the Australasia area and finally the African region, finding many other animals along the way. We spent about ten minutes trying to get Sol a picture of a cheetah and roughly the same time trying to get a snow leopard to scale his fencing so we could get the perfect shot.

We decided after another downpour that we’d see a few more animals before heading home.

We checked off another tiger, orang-utans and eventually giraffes, after we located them hiding from the weather in a shed.

We had planned to check out the North American section, as I wanted to see a grizzly bear and the birthday girl was eager to see a moose, but we decided to call it quits just before closing time.

I made an obligatory pit stop at the gift shop (I didn’t get the nickname McGiftshop Whore for nothing!) and purchased myself an adorable hoodie—all white save for a couple of black eyes, a little black nose and the words “Toronto Zoo—Canadian polar bear in a snow storm”, which I had wanted since I first saw it in a souvenir store downtown. I also got a few badges to add to my ever-increasing collection.

—April Bonnick.

[Explorational] Homepage.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Postcards from Canada.

Guest Post: Postcards from Canada.

As you may already know, my bestie April has jetted off indefinitely to Canada.

In this new monthly post, I will be collating the best (and worst!) of April’s adventures from her travel blog, Explorational: An Aussie’s Adventures Abroad, for your vicarious pleasures.

Here, she details her feelings about her first overseas flight, trekking around Los Angeles and its theme parks, and arriving in Canada:

Parting is Such a Sweet Sorrow (26/04/11).

The whole airport thing went surprisingly well. All that worry for nothing! My mum and step-dad, as well as three very special friends, came to wish me “bon voyage” and help me navigate check-in, money transfer, and, most importantly, attempted to calm my nerves.

We had a lovely, sophisticated breakfast at good old McDonalds, checked in my luggage, got me some US and Canadian dollars, and then said our goodbyes at the rather non-ominous doors.

The goodbyes were the hardest part. My mum had already worried herself sick and I don’t know how she was after I left but she was crying, and making me tear up, as I was leaving.

My friends were very encouraging, rather than teary, but Scarlett didn’t want to let me go from our hug! I like hugs, but goodbyes have always been awkward for me. I don’t often feel like it’s going to be the last time I am going to see someone. Perhaps I can liken it to feeling it to be more of a “see you later”…

Going through all the departing procedures was reasonably breezy but waiting something like 2 hours for the flight to board was painful. I got fed a substantial amount on the flight. I had a yummy vegetable curry for our big meal (Mum would be proud!), and then a frittata which had mushrooms not mentioned on the menu.

Everything being free was great. I watched a series of movies including: Despicable Me, Due Date, Tangled, Gulliver’s Travels, The Social Network, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Love & Other Drugs (bar the last 15 minutes – shattered!).

Not long after I unsuccessfully tried to sleep on the plane, while listening to an excellent playlist, we touched down in LA. The girl next to me decided it was a good time to vomit in a sick bag, making me feel kind of queasy.

I then headed through the initial customs checkpoint, grabbed my bag (which conveniently came round the conveyor belt as I walked up), and waited in line for baggage check. After looking at my passport, the overly burly customs officer waved me straight through. No one even asked me about the food I declared. So my Vegemite and Cadbury crème eggs made it in just fine!

The Happiest Place on Earth! (29/04/11)

My second day in Anaheim was planned as a California Adventure Park day but after waiting 45 minutes for the shuttle, I decided to follow a family for the walk to Downtown Disney, a place I didn’t even know existed.

Hooked from the first glance, at the Pin Traders store, where I subsequently spent $50 on badges, I decided shopping would constitute the day’s events.

I then visited the Lego store where I got a Ron Weasley Lego man keychain.

My next thought was food but I got distracted by Build-A-Bear (and the lack of appealing food options). I went into the store with one intention and left with exactly what I wanted—a chocolate brown-coloured Downtown Disney 2011 exclusive bear in green scrubs named Turkleton! He is absolutely adorable. Build-A-Bear also gave me some great ideas for presents so my plan is to return to Disneyland for one day in February before I head home.

I also discovered D Store and Mr. Potato Head versions of Chewbacca and C3PO. Very merrily purchased!

Upon entering the ultimate Disney store and making one last purchase, a stuffed Cheshire cat (to go with the Alice & Mad Hatter I’d got the day before), I asked for the nearest post office and set off to send my bulky loot home to mum. $80 later, my $200-ish worth of purchases were homeward bound, making me happier not to have to lug them around.

Next stop was California Adventure Park, and it definitely had some good stuff going for it. Not the lines I encountered or the confusion about how to get around thanks to the construction of the new Tron “experience”, though.

So I headed for Paradise Pier. I decided a fifteen minute wait for the California Screamin’ was acceptable as I had my chocolate soft serve to keep me occupied. (FYI: It was scrumptious!)

I seem to have developed quite a knack for consuming unstable foods right before discovering, and boarding, vomit-inducing rides. Thanks to my iron stomach, and the lack of “heart in throat” sensation (as my cousin Lizzie would call it), I kept everything internal. For a roller coaster, it wasn’t even as much fun as the good old Pirate Ship at the Rye Carnival!

I also went on the Mickey Mouse themed Ferris Wheel (opting for the non-swinging section as the wait was 25 minutes less), where I met two other Aussie travellers. We chatted about our impressions of the US and our plans for the rest of our trips.

The Silly Symphony swings were next on the agenda, followed by my favourite ride of the day, the Grizzly River Run. I met a couple of 20-something American boys in line who ended up with me on the ride. We had a good group in our “raft” and I spent the whole time in stitches. Was so much fun even if I ended up completely water logged (pun intended!).

At this point it was getting dark and I was a bit over the rides. So I ventured into yet another store where I found the build your own Mr. Potato Head section that my friend Eddie had told me about, which actually made me want to visit Disneyland. (In case you didn’t realise yet, I collect Mr Potato Heads!)

It, sadly, wasn’t as impressive as I was expecting from Eddie’s description. I had the option of a Pirates of the Caribbean, Tinkerbell or Mickey Mouse potato. After grabbing my box and stuffing my potato’s insides with little pieces, like eyes, noses and tongues, I realised the box, which must be closed upon purchase, was only really designed for one full ensemble. Determined to beat the system, I applied my practical application of Tetris skills and maneuvered all the pieces I wanted and shoved the lid closed. It was quite a process, as I had to decide what I really wanted and then make it all fit just right. I eliminated the pirate pieces as I already have two pirate themed potatoes at home and then worked with the Tinkerbell and Mickey pieces. Upon realising that Tinkerbell’s hair took up a ridiculous amount of space I knew I had my work cut out for me. But everything successfully fit in the end so I took my one of a kind Mr. Potato Head to the counter and handed over my $19.95, plus tax.

I consider Disneyland: defeated.

GTL: A Venice Beach Story (01/05/11).

I realised I hadn’t eaten all day and after nearly passing out and/or vomiting on the 733 Santa Monica via Venice bus, so I hit up UrbanSpoon (which has been my saviour!) and had all but decided on Mao’s Kitchen until I saw Bondi BBQ. As the website claimed it to be Aussie inspired, I wanted to try it for myself. It was just across from my hostel but was boarded up (never a good sign) so I headed for Mao’s Kitchen instead where I chowed down on my favourite: beef with black bean sauce (mum would be proud!), and it was pretty damn good.

My second day I made the effort to walk the 45 minutes along the boulevard to the Santa Monica Pier. I’m not quite sure what the appeal of it is; same goes for the whole of Venice Beach. It’s not my kind of place. I only decided to stay here because it was closer to the airport than downtown Los Angeles or where I’d previously been in Hollywood. The whole place had an unsettling feeling about it.

But if tanning and/or pumping iron, street vendors and beggars are your thing, then maybe you should visit. [Early Bird note: Maybe the next season of Jersey Shore should be filmed here?] I somewhat regret not staying downtown but I will be back in August and will still have somewhere fun to explore.

First Impressions: An Open Letter to Canada (01/05/11).

On my last night in Venice Beach, my lovely German roommate, Marco, informed me he had received a text that Osama Bin Laden was dead.

All it said was: “Osama Bin Laden has been killed.”

So we did some internet research and watched a video confirming the news.

Barack Obama was to do a speech to confirm it.

I really didn’t think at all about how this news would impact on me until the next day, when I was waiting in line for security scanning at LAX for my flight to Toronto and overheard someone exclaiming, “Why did I have to fly this day, of all days?!” It dawned on me that today was, in fact, a day to be concerned about travelling in the United States.

Security leaving the US was a lot harder than entering, much to my surprise. Shoes and jackets had to be removed and as I jumped in the shortest line I realised I was about to be body scanned! Thinking it a bad idea and contemplating a shift to a simple metal scanner in another line, I read a sign that said if you refuse to be scanned you will be frisked. Deciding someone seeing me naked for a few seconds was far less invasive than someone frisking me for about a minute, I stayed in line and experienced my first body scan.

Having arrived at the airport 4 hours before my flight, I ended up with about three hours to kill, so I tried to write some stuff for my blog and just waste the time away, while enjoying a Starbucks breakfast.

My flight was rather boring and uncomfortable. American Airlines, despite the higher price they charge, doesn’t seem to offer much more than what I would imagine a budget airline here in North America would have. I felt cramped and overcharged. ($25 for one piece of checked luggage on top of a $300 fair—seriously?!) Nothing like my fabulous V Australia experience to LA.

Arriving in Toronto was a rather subdued affair. I had my working holiday visa processed, sadly only for one year, and was lucky to once again pick up my luggage the baggage carousel just as it came round the corner.

Then came the real security check. Having not been questioned on it arriving in the US, I was a little thrown when the Canadian Customs officer asked me if I had bought any food into Canada. I declared my Vegemite and half-eaten bag of Cadbury crème eggs and he let me straight through. I guess neither have been deemed threats to Canada so I was free to enjoy them at times when I missed home.

Again, with no plan, I headed out of the airport, found a shuttle and made a beeline for my new home, the Global Village Backpackers, in downtown Toronto.

 My lodgings are nothing flash; just the bare essentials. But the staff are nice and it provides the bed I need at night for a reasonable price. I’m set to stay here two weeks but I can always extend it if the accommodation search doesn’t go quite as well as I am hoping.

From my first few days here, Toronto feels a bit like Melbourne. There’re trams, which they call streetcars, and it’s rained a lot, just like home! Not sure yet if I like it here but it is going to be my home until August whether I do or not. So bring on the Canadian friendliness and the swooning over my intriguing accent.

—April Bonnick.

[Explorational] Homepage.

[UrbanSpoon] Homepage.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] United States of Ameri-Canada.

My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There).

It’s been a very busy week here at The Early Bird Catches the Worm, and will continue to be for the next week or so. Whoever thought of scheduling Easter on the same long weekend as ANZAC Day was “seriously disturbed”, as Elle Woods would say.

Sunday 17th: Got back from an early Easter weekend with my Mum in Bendigo, where I caught up with some friends, sat in the hairdresser’s chair for a couple of hours, went secondhand book shopping and to the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Monday 18th: Was all tuckered out from my weekend in the country I decided to lie in bed all day and watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Tuesday 19th: Did some blogging and jogging and went to see Sucker Punch. As my Facebook status that night said: “Well, it certainly lived up to the first four letters of the title.” Review pending.

Wednesday 20th: Ten hour shift at work.

Thursday 21st: Got up, went for a jog, blogged, went to the supermarket, work, waxing of the nether region, cleaned the house, friend’s 21st.

Friday 22nd: Slept in, had 21st cake for breakfast, watched Paper Giants, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds and Grey’s Anatomy.

Saturday 23rd: Work.

Sunday 24th: Work and fell asleep at 8:30.

Monday 25th: Had to get a taxi to work ’cause trains and trams were down due to the ANZAC Day march. Worked on the blog and had a Scream movie marathon at a friend’s house in preparation for seeing the latest instalment next Tuesday.

Today: Was at the airport at 6:30 this morning to send of April, who’s leaving for Canada at 10:45am. The Maccas breakfast that followed did little to ease my pain…

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] So Misunderstood.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guest Post: Pop Culture Power Women.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review: 22nd–28th November, 2010.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There): 6th–12th November, 2010.

In Defence of Barbie.

Last week I posted a story about my favourite fictional females, and Barbie was one of them.

Granted, she’s not exactly fictional, but she’s by no means “real”, and doesn’t represent real women in any way. So much so that if Barbie were alive, she would be so underweight she wouldn’t be able to menstruate, and so out of proportion that she would fall over.

These factors aside, I loved Barbie as a kid. Still do. Being as innocent and ignorant as children are, I was oblivious to the fact that Barbie is allegedly a bad role model for kids. Sure, I often wished I was blonde haired and blue eyed like Barbie (which probably stemmed from both my mother and younger sister possessing these traits, and me feeling like the odd one out), but mostly Barbie instilled in me the ideal that I could be anyone I wanted to be.

Hello?! Barbie has had such occupations as a teacher (in nine different subjects, no less!), doctor, police and army officer, astronaut, ballerina, gymnast and even a McDonald’s employee, amongst many, many others (see the full list here).

Of course, some of these occupations required Barbie to rely on her looks (Baywatch lifeguard, model), but most of her occupations require legitimate skills in real life. And also in real life, some jobs do depend on workers’ appearances.

Barbie also acts as a blank canvas for young girls (and boys) to project their ideals onto her. Most times I played Barbies with my sister, we often put our dolls in high school situations. When the aforementioned Baywatch Barbie came out, with an accompanying dolphin toy, we transformed the bathroom into the beach. Even as I got older, my teenage friends and I used our Barbies as art projects and pop culture experiments. I remember a certain Michael Jackson version of Ken that totally kicked butt!

I changed my mind several times as I grew up about what I wanted to be when I actually did grow up, and Barbie came on that journey with me. From violinist, to vet, to actress to journalist (I wonder if there will be a blogger Barbie in the future…?), Barbie was there, helping me craft out my ambitions and, like, what I would wear.

Yes, Barbie is unrealistically beautiful and thin and leads a charmed life, but this doesn’t govern how she is perceived by little girls (and, again, boys) and how they play with her. She may serve as a guinea pig for Toy Story’s Sid-like torture, a model for the latest buzz-cut á la an aspiring hair-dresser, “a happy hetero, a lipstick lez, or a bitchin’ CEO” (my preference was for the power-suited latter), a way to express juvenile sexual interest while her owner remains a “good girl” (which perhaps contributes to the negative perception surrounding the doll), or remain exactly as Mattel intended her to be: an immaculate representation of femininity. And that’s okay.

Primarily, I think, again, that Barbie allows girls to be whoever they want to be. I don’t necessarily think young girls have a clear-cut perception of the perfection Barbie represents in the grown-up world; for them, she’s just a cool doll with a fab convertible, ever-changing wardrobe and a resume that will get her where she wants to go. Importantly, too, Ken is not a deciding factor in her life, and Barbie will do whatever she wants with or without the approval of the man in her life. And now that she’s divorced, perhaps she doesn’t need or want a man in her life at all.Maybe I’m just lucky; the presence of Barbie and exposure to pop-cultural representations of “traditional” femininity in my life at a young and susceptible age, I feel, has enriched my life rather than hindered the development of a healthy body image. Who can say what factors contribute to food, weight and body image issues in young (and old) women alike? I know I definitely can’t put my finger on the defining aspects in my life that have allowed me to think critically and actively about such things. But I do think a little too much emphasis is conveniently placed on Barbie as the culprit.

Related: Women in Fiction—My Favourite Fictional Females.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Elsewhere: [Yahoo! Answers] What Would Barbie’s Measurements Be If She Were a Real Person?

[Wikipedia] Barbie’s Careers.

[Greteman] In Defence of Barbie.