Miss England, Katrina Hodge, has been getting press recently for advocating for change in the Miss England competition. Hodge, who has been nicknamed "Combat Barbie" because she is also a soldier, has gotten the Miss England competition to add an athletic portion, and take out the swimsuit portion of the competition.
I think it's great that Miss England is recognizing that some things about the competition should change. (I don't have time to get into my opinions on "Scholarship Pageants." It's a complicated fascination.) However, it's troubling to me that a woman of such substance and ability should be reduced to the nickname "Combat Barbie." I know it's trying to be funny, but it is relating her to an idealized, pornified, unrealistic distortion of the female form-- a cutesy OBJECT-- really reflects how as a society, we cannot deal with women who do not conform to one stereotype. Why should they have to conform to any stereotype? We don't call good-looking men in the armed forces "Combat Ken?" Why should women be any different? Is Katrina Hodge's military success as a woman such a threat to societal norms that we must call her "Combat Barbie" to relate her to something known-- a lifeless doll.
We've come a long way, but we've still got more to go.