Today, I was walking with my female friend in the Lower East Side, and this very thin, very tan lady bumped into her very roughly. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we had decided to go for a walk. The lady dropped the food she was carrying and then tried to pressure my friend into giving her money for more food because she was homeless and didn’t have any money to go buy another meal. It looked like some sort of sandwich with naan bread on the ground. I didn’t really like that this woman was pressuring us to give her money. She had a man with her, but I don’t really remember what he looked like.
Life is about needs, wants, and the things we conflict between the labels. Many religions make the claim that life is about suffering, and Buddhism specifies that desire is at its core. I’m relatively unreligious, but I have to agree with this claim. Life is about caving into desire, whether it be air, food, sex, or sleep— it’s just a matter of which one.
I really loved Barbie as a kid, and I’m not sure if that’s surprising. She’s beautiful, kind, and always taught that you can be anything. While I don’t think that’s a universal statement, I think it’s true a lot of the time and is a healthy message to send to young girls. You want it? You get it. Just do it. Get good! It’s a remarkably powerful but simple message, especially coming from an image of peak femininity. Even if you yourself don’t have an interest in dolls, consider that these are the toys our daughters are statistically likely to be playing with.