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What the Human Barbie Really Says About Us

Let’s take on the case of the Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova, a dose of reductio ad absurdum for anyone who thinks that a little makeup or some “work” can make everything alright for our society.

Sometimes the best way to see through an argument is by employing the tool of reductio ad absurdum, where you take an argument w-a-y out to an extreme to make it very clear that the whole thing is just wrong. Let’s take on the case of the Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova, a dose of reductio ad absurdum for anyone who thinks that a little makeup or some “work” can make everything alright for our society.

Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova

For those who do not yet know of the Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova, she is a Ukrainian woman who, through a freakish regime of plastic surgery, makeup and other “enhancements,” has turned herself into something more like what Barbie might look like if she was an insect. But it’s better, sort of, to have a look. For those interested in this sort of thing, among other things, Lukyanova allegedly had her eyelids sliced shorter to enhance her “wide-eyed” look, and exists, such as it is, on a mostly liquid diet.

In a new profile this month in GQ magazine, we also learn that Lukyanova may be completely insane. To wit:

— She refers to herself by her alien space name, Amatue.

— Her tri-colored finger nails “are a fractal pattern from the twenty-first dimension.”

— She does not care for children: “The very idea of having children brings out this deep revulsion in me. What would you keep the children for? So they can get you a glass of water when you’re on your deathbed?”

Yarn for Human Cats

OK, I think we all get it, and it is a kind of internet fun to troll around for these kinds of insane things pseudo-celebrities say. They’re entertaining, in a slow-down-at-a-car-wreck kind of way, a ball of yarn for human cats.

But, perhaps almost by accident, Lukyanova may have said something that touches on more serious issues. “Everyone wants a slim figure. Everyone gets breasts done. Everyone fixes up their face if it’s not ideal, you know? Everyone strives for the golden mean.”

In a society broadly based on little besides the need for a small number of wealthy people to create continued demand for consumer goods among a much larger group of people, it is required to make people feel bad. You are too short. You are too fat. You don’t smell right. Your breasts, your penis, your muscles, are too small. You don’t have enough hair (heads), you have too much hair (manscaping.) The corollary for each of these problems is to purchase something– plastic surgery, perfume, a Brazilian wax. That keeps the money flowing. There is no end to all this.

Enlarge your breasts, slim down your waist. How big is big enough? How skinny is skinny enough? A woman isn’t attractive until she looks like an anime/video game character, a man until he mimics the half-human, half-cartoon men of the movie 300. You soon reach the reductio ad absurdum, Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova, a perfect marriage of almost farcical sexism and predatory capitalism.

We are a society aimed, by social forces enhanced by media and peer pressure, into caring very little about how people are educated (and the Human Barbie’s idiotic ramblings only add to the stereotype that “beauty” and brains are opposing forces) and very much about how people look. The benefits to those who profit from such a worldview are sadly obvious in both dollars and cents, and in reinforcing the idea that the majority of people are best manipulated when they are made to feel inadequate and imperfect.


Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent is available now from from Amazon.


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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.