Nicole Hardy

Mud Flap Girl on Teen Talk Barbie

 

Everyone knows I’m not into clothes, but
you go to the mall, girlfriend; knock yourself
uptown, little Ms. Bad Influence. What
else can you do when you’re pulled from the shelf

for expressing yourself. Here’s what I think:
math class is supposed to be tough. Take that
to any best selling, self-helping shrink:
she’ll say your stellar scores on the GMAT

and your supreme self-esteem can be traced
to childhood success at difficult tasks.
So when Jane’s math anxiety gets placed
on your plastic ass, remind them you passed—

and then pulled off a string of successes
in more careers than Skipper has dresses.

 

_________________
According to a New York Times article published October 21, 1992, Mattel’s Teen Talk Barbie was widely criticized by a national women’s group for saying “math class is tough.” The Barbie remained in stores, but the computer chip that randomly selected four phrases for each doll thereafter picked from 269 selections, not 270.

 

Nicole Hardy’s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin is forthcoming through Hyperion/Voice in 2013. Her work has appeared in the New York Times as well as many literary journals. She’s the author of a poetry collection and a chapbook:This Blonde, and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling.


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