Barbie came into the world fifty years ago.
Like Athena, she was born from her maker’s idea,
full grown and fully armed, but with big tits and a wasp waist
and—unlike Athena—without any brains at all.
Athena is a lot older, but nobody prays to her these days
while the worship of Barbie has lasted fifty years so far
and like Athena, she never grows old and wrinkled.
There was a time when so many little girls
wanted to grow up to be teenagers just like Barbie
and stay that way forever.  Perhaps some still do.
But Athena had wisdom on her side and always will,
while when Barbie went to college in the late 1960s
she had a dorm room with a bed, a desk, a phone,
and a closet full of clothing and accessories
but not a single book to be seen anywhere.
Barbie, like Athena, already knew all she needed.

But there any resemblance comes to an abrupt end.
Barbie has had many careers in her fifty years:
fashion model, doctor, astronaut, athlete, ballerina,
teacher (in stiletto heels and a mini-skirt).
She’s on her hundred and twenty-sixth career now—
All of that in a mere fifty years of existence.
She even ran for president, but in an off-year—
if she had had a brain she would have known better.
Now fifty, she looks like a teenager—unlike real women—
and although her head is larger, there’s no more in it.
Athena has had one life and a single purpose:
to bring the light of wisdom to humankind.
Little girls don’t play with Athena dolls;
but Athena, the goddess, ageless, watches
as real women age, and some acquire wisdom,
and trade in their Barbies to become more like her.

©2009 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf