December 7th. Pearl Harbor. War. Afghanistan, Iraq. World Peace. Whirled pieces of what? Getting along? Getting by? Certainly not getting, getting, getting? To not have so much, but to have the heart NOT to have so much. To consider who loses by having and getting. Getting by without causing someone else in the world disruption, even violence. Getting along by understanding who exactly is wearing the triple high heels or the head-to-toe burkha. Sinking into someone else’s shoes. Wouldn’t that be something?
Consider Burkha Barbie, designed in 2009 for the iconic doll's 50th anniversary, leagues away from the original 1959 model, first clad in zebra-striped swimsuit. Burkha Barbie, beautiful, like the girls she represents, and auctioned at Sotheby’s for Save the Children. Getting and having in this case are halfway to recognizing, understanding, and giving, for who can really understand Barbie and who can validate the cultural cause that brought about the burkha. They are both complicated, thrown here into the mix for a reason. Sexism in opposite extremes. Fascination still stands, by little girls and grown women, though the creations seem by origin patriarchal. The doll and wardrobe designers might be women, but these girls are working within a man’s world. Which brings us back by way of a weird spiral to war, which girls really are not interested in. Peace is more our thing.
I’m aiming for just that this holiday season—that is, what is left of 2011. These three weeks of December, when Christmas lights, tinsel, and silver-and-gold wrapping paper persuade us to gift like mad, I’m trying instead to think of others. Of mosquito netting for malaria-plagued villages, flocks of chickens and brown-eyed heifers for hungry families, books for schoolgirls in head-to-toe blue-and-black fabric. Of world peace. Of whirls of color and credit and consideration for others. Of thinking outside the display box that we sometimes seem to inhabit.