Amaze Chase Viewing Party

I can’t wait for the next season of LITD! In the meantime, here are some shots of my Dreamhouse crew (see my earlier post Barbie and Time if you need a refresher on their identities) holding a screening of the LITD special The Amaze Chase while wearing their signature outfits from last year’s Toys ‘R Us exclusive LITD clothing pack.

An overhead view of the home theater's setup.
An overhead view of the home theater’s setup.
Skipper claims the biggest, comfiest chair in the theater.
Skipper claims the biggest, softest chair in the home theater so she can liveTweet the show in comfort.
Barbie chooses the yellow chair-she thinks it'll nicely contrast her pink dress.
Barbie chooses the yellow chair-she thinks it’ll nicely contrast her pink dress.
The rest of the girls on the couch. You may not be able to see any more of Nikki than her legs and the top of her head-Teresa's hair is in the way-but don't worry, she can see the TV just fine!
The rest of the girls cram onto the couch. You may not be able to see any more of Nikki than her legs and the top of her head-Teresa’s puffy ponytail is in the way-but don’t worry, she can see the TV just fine!

Notes: Barbie has substituted the pink pumps from Pink Princess Audrey Hepburn for the set’s original shoes, which looked too similar to a pair of Barbie shoes I already own and would’ve hidden her ankle tattoo. Skipper is Amaze Chase Skipper wearing a Funville Sparkle Girlz (Barbie clones made in Hong Kong with a company address in the UK) dress (yes, the Sparkle Girlz dresses fit both Barbie and Skipper-they’re cut a little roomy) from Walmart with a Barbie purse and her original belt, leggings, and sneakers. The TV came from a Barbie-size Real Friends dollhouse sold at TRU about 10 years ago. My mom bought Skipper’s chair from a garage sale at my church. The rest of the furniture is the dollhouse furniture set from IKEA, minus the heart pillow-I tried to use the Real Friends TV stand but the TV wouldn’t balance on it, so I turned the IKEA bookshelf on its side and used it as a TV stand.

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The Anti-vaxx Rant that Nearly Made My Head Explode (and My Rebuttal)

***NOTE: This is a controversial subject. Opposing or questioning viewpoints are welcome, but verbal abuse and personal attacks will not be tolerated and any comments that include verbal abuse and/or personal attacks will be deleted and the people writing them will be banned.***

Last week a new study came out confirming that scientists cannot find a link between vaccines and autism, other than a mild temporal one-autism symptoms become more prominent at around eighteen months of age, the same age when many of the most important childhood vaccines are given. After reading about the study on a popular parenting blog (http://mom.me/in-the-loop/19104-study-autism-vaccines/), I right-clicked a related article on the Disneyland measles outbreak that began in December (http://mom.me/blog/16898-dont-blame-disney-blame-anti-vaxxers/) onto a new tab and then new-tab right-clicked a link somebody put in the comments section of the Disneyland outbreak article.

That was a mistake.

The article in the Disneyland comments section was from an anti-vaxx website and written by Jack Wolfson (I won’t lend him any more undeserved credence by calling him “Dr.”), the whackadoo “Paleocardiologist” from Arizona who said that not only are vaccines harmful, but it’s our and our children’s right to get childhood diseases like measles. It’s basically him recognizing that people are mad at him but claiming that they’re actually angry at other people and misdirecting it to him. I got so angry at all his shitty logic that I ended up with a headache and an uncontrollable itch on my ear and leg. I won’t make you go through the whole article and risk that (but it’s here if you want to: http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/arizona-cardiologist-responds-to-critics-regarding-measles-and-vaccines/), but I do feel the need to respond to his rather sizeable middle portion, which goes like this:

“I want to address all this misguided anger and see if we can re-direct it where it belongs.

  1. Be angry at food companies. Sugar cereals, donuts, cookies, and cupcakes lead to millions of deaths per year. At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive. Call up Nabisco and Kellogg’s and complain. Protest their products. Send THEM hate-mail.
  2. Be angry at fast food restaurants. Tortured meat burgers, pesticide fries, and hormone milkshakes are the problem. The problem is not Hepatitis B which is a virus contracted by drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes. And you want to inject that vaccine into your newborn?
  3. Be angry at the companies who make your toxic laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. You and your children are wearing and breathing known carcinogens (they cause cancer). Call Bounce and Downy and let them know. These products kill more people than mumps, a virus which actually doesn’t cause anyone to die. Same with hepatitis A, a watery diarrhea.
  4. Be angry at all the companies spewing pollution into our environment. These chemicals and heavy metals are known to cause autism, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and every other health problem. Worldwide, these lead to 10’s of millions of deaths every year. Measles deaths are a tiny fraction compared to pollution.
  5. Be angry at your parents for not breastfeeding you, co-sleeping with you, and stuffing your face with Domino’s so they can buy more Tide and finish the laundry. Breastfeeding protects your children from many infectious diseases.
  6. Be angry with your doctor for being close-minded and not disclosing the ingredients in vaccines (not that they read the package insert anyway). They should tell you about the aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, aborted fetal tissue, animal proteins, polysorbate 80, antibiotics, and other chemicals in the shots. According to the Environmental Working Group, newborns contain over 200 chemicals as detected by cord blood. Maybe your doctor feels a few more chemicals injected into your child won’t be a big deal.
  7. Be angry with the cable companies and TV manufacturers for making you and your children fat and lazy, not wanting to exercise or play outside. Lack of exercise kills millions more than polio. Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many.
  8. In fact, be angry with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for creating computers so you can sit around all day blasted with electromagnetic radiation reading posts like this.
  9. Be angry with pharmaceutical companies for allowing us to believe living the above life can be treated with drugs. Correctly prescribed drugs kill thousands of people per year. The flu kills just about no one. The vaccine never works.

Finally, be angry with yourself for not opening your eyes to the snow job and brainwashing which have taken over your mind. You NEVER asked the doctor any questions. You NEVER asked what is in the vaccines. You NEVER learned about these benign infections. Let’s face it, you don’t really give a crap what your children eat. You don’t care about chemicals in their life. You don’t care if they sit around all day watching the TV or playing video games. All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!”

W. T. Actual. F. “You got to be fist fucking me,” as the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day said today. Let’s go through all the ways Wolfson’s totally off the mark, OK?

Starting at the top, “1. Be angry at food companies. Sugar cereals, donuts, cookies, and cupcakes lead to millions of deaths per year. At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive. Call up Nabisco and Kellogg’s and complain. Protest their products. Send THEM hate-mail.” No. Food companies make the foods they know people like and want to eat. It’s not a good or a bad thing-it’s just their job. Education on healthy eating is a great thing and can make great strides in getting people to eat better, but in the end what anyone eats is up to them, and they’ll eat sugary processed foods if they want to despite knowing it’s not good for them. And the deaths of the 100 people per year who died of chicken pox at its worst had nothing to do with sugar.

“2. Be angry at fast food restaurants. Tortured meat burgers, pesticide fries, and hormone milkshakes are the problem. The problem is not Hepatitis B which is a virus contracted by drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes. And you want to inject that vaccine into your newborn?” See my rebuttal for #1, only adding that fast food restaurants should do the best they can to provide the best, healthiest fast food possible without making the price exorbitantly high. And Hepatitis B may be most commonly transmitted through drug use and unprotected sex with prostitutes, but it can also be transmitted from an already-infected mother to her healthy newborn. Hep B vaccines at birth are meant to prevent or reduce the risk of this happening.

“3. Be angry at the companies who make your toxic laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. You and your children are wearing and breathing known carcinogens (they cause cancer). Call Bounce and Downy and let them know. These products kill more people than mumps, a virus which actually doesn’t cause anyone to die. Same with hepatitis A, a watery diarrhea.” Almost anything can be a carcinogen in the proper amount, which is usually much higher than any one person will ingest through food (e.g. the study that linked an increased cancer rate to Sweet ‘n Low sugar substitute-the amount in the study was about 10,000 times the normal serving size) or absorb through their skin after using standard laundry products during their lifetime (although I am curious about ways to naturally clean and soften your laundry-do they work? Any recommendations?). People have died or become sterile from mumps-maybe not in recent years, but it has happened. Hep A may not kill you (although excess diarrhea can be fatally dehydrating if left untreated), but if you can prevent or reduce the risk of you and your kids being miserable with watery diarrhea, why wouldn’t you?

“4. Be angry at all the companies spewing pollution into our environment. These chemicals and heavy metals are known to cause autism, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and every other health problem. Worldwide, these lead to 10’s of millions of deaths every year. Measles deaths are a tiny fraction compared to pollution.” He has a point-pollution is a bad thing. However, as science and technology continue to advance, companies are finding more and better ways to reduce pollution and help the environment.

“5. Be angry at your parents for not breastfeeding you, co-sleeping with you, and stuffing your face with Domino’s so they can buy more Tide and finish the laundry. Breastfeeding protects your children from many infectious diseases.” Not every parent, child, or family is cut out for breastfeeding and co-sleeping for various reasons, from medical problems to time constraints to just not liking it, and all the reasons are valid as long as we do what works best for ourselves and our own families. The Domino’s issue has already been addressed in points 1 and 2.

“6. Be angry with your doctor for being close-minded and not disclosing the ingredients in vaccines (not that they read the package insert anyway). They should tell you about the aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, aborted fetal tissue, animal proteins, polysorbate 80, antibiotics, and other chemicals in the shots. According to the Environmental Working Group, newborns contain over 200 chemicals as detected by cord blood. Maybe your doctor feels a few more chemicals injected into your child won’t be a big deal.” Yes. Yes, exactly. Everything in the universe is composed of chemicals, and the amounts of chemicals found in the human body are many times larger than the amounts found in vaccines, so vaccines shouldn’t be a big deal for the majority of people.

“7. Be angry with the cable companies and TV manufacturers for making you and your children fat and lazy, not wanting to exercise or play outside. Lack of exercise kills millions more than polio. Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many.” This is similar to #1-cable companies and TV manufacturers make things people like, it’s their job, we should encourage exercise but people are ultimately responsible for how much TV they watch and whether or not they’re fat and lazy. All those 80 year olds crippled by polio are hard to find because they’re dying of old age.

“8. In fact, be angry with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for creating computers so you can sit around all day blasted with electromagnetic radiation reading posts like this.” If computers are so dangerous, then why did he agree to write the original post? Seems a bit hypocritical, IMHO.

“9. Be angry with pharmaceutical companies for allowing us to believe living the above life can be treated with drugs. Correctly prescribed drugs kill thousands of people per year. The flu kills just about no one. The vaccine never works.” All drugs, including vaccines, have side effects and can occasionally kill those whose immune systems respond particularly poorly to them. However, the vast majority of people will never die or suffer other severe side effects as a result of most vaccines and drugs, so most people should be perfectly safe and find relief for their medical conditions when taking most drugs as prescribed. The flu does kill people, which is why children, the elderly, and people with chronic health issues are especially encouraged to get the vaccine. The flu vaccine does work. My mom and I have gotten our flu shots religiously for many years, me since 2009 when H1N1 was rampant and her for several years before that due to health issues. We usually don’t catch the flu, and in the fluke years that we did catch it, it was much less severe than it would’ve been if we hadn’t gotten our flu shots.

“Finally, be angry with yourself for not opening your eyes to the snow job and brainwashing which have taken over your mind. You NEVER asked the doctor any questions. You NEVER asked what is in the vaccines. You NEVER learned about these benign infections. Let’s face it, you don’t really give a crap what your children eat. You don’t care about chemicals in their life. You don’t care if they sit around all day watching the TV or playing video games. All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!” I do encourage asking your doctor about vaccines (I haven’t had the Gardasil vaccine because as a teen I was concerned about severe side effects and wanted to wait until my body was more mature, but it’s been around for 10 years now and the most current science suggests it’s safe for most young people, so I’m in the process of asking my doctor if I should get it) and any other medications. Doctors and other scientists know more about vaccines than the layperson, and a good doctor will answer your questions honestly and explain it as many times as you need them to, so generally I do trust my doctor. All that shit about parents not caring about their kids is what really pushed me over the edge. Most parents do care about their kids-they vaccinate because they want to protect their kids from diseases that can be deadly. And in defense of Starbucks, they have newspapers, Wi-Fi, cards for free apps and music, a mermaid on their sign, and many delicious coffees, coffee drinks, teas, and baked goods. What they don’t have is a fucking apostrophe in their name.

I don’t want to be seen as an extremist and I’d never push vaccines on those who are medically contraindicated to them (read: if you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to a certain vaccine, you probably shouldn’t get it), but I felt I had to speak out. The current science shows that severe side effects from vaccines are rare, and none of them are related to autism. Maybe we’ll eventually discover that vaccines aren’t as good for us as we thought, but until that time I will continue to trust science and my doctor. Vaccines are, as far as current science goes, safe and effective. I strongly encourage anyone reading this post to get as many vaccines as their health will allow and to encourage their loved ones to do the same.

On the Affleck-Gates Controversy

I can’t really blame Ben Affleck for being embarrassed by his slave-owning ancestor and not wanting him to be revealed to the world on Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr’s PBS series “Finding Your Roots”-we all want to think the best of our families and to project that best possible image to the rest of the world, and projecting your and your family’s best image becomes even more complicated if you gain a great deal of fame, like Ben has. According to Ben, Dr. Gates couldn’t find many details on the man and thus chose to omit him from the program even before Ben asked him to, choosing instead to cover him in a book later, when more information becomes available (which Ben agreed to), and I can understand this too. I can also understand how, from a production/editorial standpoint, exposing the dark side of a popular actor’s past could open up several cans of worms.

However, I feel that PBS, as a source of prestige and educational programming, has a responsibility to provide the most accurate information possible in its programs, especially its educational ones. If Dr. Gates didn’t want to feature the small amount of data he had on Ben’s ancestor, that’s his right, but PBS should have at least required him to put a disclaimer to the effect of “We found an ancestor of Ben Affleck’s who is believed to have owned slaves, but the data is incomplete at this time. We will elaborate on this ancestor later, when more information becomes available.” on the end of the program, before the credits rolled.

Barbie Body Proportions and Relative Sizes

NOTE: I’ve updated this post to reflect the measurements of the Disney Store’s Classic dolls of the Disney Princesses, as well as those of Barbie’s new Petite and Tall Fashionista bodies. I don’t have any Curvy Fashionistas yet, but if and when I get one I’ll add those measurements in as well.

In an attempt to figure out which clothes looked best on which type of Barbie body, doll artist and former Barbie Bazaar magazine (RIP Barbie Bazaar) columnist MiKelman made a comparison of the body types to human clothing sizes in his “Wear it out!” column. In his words: “With all of the dress, head and body swapping going on in this column, let’s talk about Barbie’s body size for a moment. If the original Barbie body size (from 1959-1999) were say, a size 9, let’s imagine the slightly slimmer Shani body (which is also the Silkstone body size) to be about a size 7, and the new BB (Belly Button) body a size 5. A size reference might be helpful to you when trying to decide which dress will fit best on a particular body. For instance, many of the classic Fashion Avenue ballgowns fit the classic size 9 Barbie body best, while many of the casual dress styles offer a better fit on the slimmer Shani size 7 shape and the trendy low-rise pants tend to fit on the size 5 BB body best (MiKelman, “Wear it out!” Barbie Bazaar June 2002, pg. 74)”.

The sizes MiKelman cites appear to  be from the juniors’ department, as most brands put women’s fashions in even-numbered sizes. It might be helpful to bring each of his numbers down a digit: original Barbie body goes from size 9 to size 8, etc. To extend the metaphor, I would put the Fashionista/Life in the Dreamhouse (LITD) body in the same size-4 category as the BB body and peg the even slimmer ModelMuse and Pivotal bodies as a size 2.

MiKelman’s system was meant to quickly match Barbies to the clothes that best match their body types and not to be an accurate representation of clothing sizes, but it points out another argument focused on this wildly popular 11 1/2 inch fashion doll and her body: Barbie gets a lot of flack for her unrealistic proportions, with most detractors claiming that they increase the risk of girls developing anorexia down the line. One of the most often cited examples is Anna Quindlen’s New York Times essay “Barbie at 35,” in which she claims that Barbie’s measurements, when translated into human scale, would be 40″-18″-32″. Here are the actual measurements of the different Barbie body types

Original: 5.67-3.33-5.17
Shani: 5.33-3.17-5
BB/Fashionista/LITD: 5-3.375-5.33
ModelMuse/Pivotal: 4.83-3.17-4.67                                                                                                           Petite: 4.56-3.63-5.06                                                                                                                               Tall: 5.19-4-5.38                                                                                                                                           Disney Princess (from Disney Store): 4.81-3.25-4.88

and their real-world equivalents, assuming that 11 1/2 inches of height scales up to 5’9″, as most of the Barbie Bazaar columnists did. The Petite Fashionista body is 10.75 inches tall, which scales up to 5’4.5″; and the Tall body is 12.25 inches tall, which scales up to 6’1.5″.

Original: 34-20-31
Shani: 32-19-30
BB/Fashionista/LITD: 30-20.25-32
ModelMuse/Pivotal: 29-19-28                                                                                                                     Petite: 27.4-21.75-30.4                                                                                                                                     Tall: 31.13-24-32.25                                                                                                                                       Disney Princess: 28.88-19.5-29.25

These real-world interpretations of Barbie’s measurements are unattainable for most women, yes, but not out of the range of plausibility for those lucky genetic freaks who are naturally very thin.

Notes: I quoted the set of measurements Ms. Quindlen cited in her essay and obtained all the other measurements by measuring my own dolls with my own measuring tape. I obtained the real-world equivalents by taking the dolls’ measurements and multiplying them by 6-the standard way of translating scale on dolls or any other miniatures-and rounding the decimals up or down as needed.