I think I understand the angry, defensive, sarcastic place where the Barbie comment came from. But I also think it's the kind of comment one should apologize for and retract upon further consideration (and self-censor in the future). This is true for anyone, but especially for someone who hopes to be an effective advocate for improving body image. The comment in question, "I am a barbie and proud of it," carries a lot of cultural baggage, along with an endorsement of certain cultural values. And this is what I find problematic.
Central to the task of helping all different shapes and sizes of women achieve better body image is a need to question and reject the value our culture places on incredibly thin, tall, white, able-bodied women with Caucasian features and blond hair. So affirming that image by clearly aspiring to it and valuing it above other body types is counterproductive, to say the least. In fact, I think that advocating for better body image and cultural changes that allow us to value women of all shapes and sizes requires a flat-out rejection of the Barbie ideal. A consistent and vocal rejection of it, no less.
Beyond the Barbie image is the constellation of things Barbie (and similar icons) represents. Barbie is a symbol of privilege. In our culture, the more you look like Barbie, the more you're valued, and the more shit you're entitled to. And that might seem like a good thing. Being white and able-bodied and thin and cisgendered and tall and male and heterosexual are all traits that bring unearned advantages in our culture. So being lucky enough to have some of these traits may seem like something to celebrate.
But the flip side of privilege is oppression. If being white gets you all kinds of unearned benefits, that makes it that much harder to earn these things if you're not white. If being thin gets you all kinds of unearned benefits, that makes it that much harder to earn these things if you're not thin. And it seems fairly self-evident that being compassionate and progressive requires that, at the very least, we not celebrate good things that happen to us that ride on the oppression of others. In fact, I think it requires that we acknowledge the oppression and hardships of others that our good fortune rides on, and work to change the system that allocates goods and opportunities and respect in this unjust way.
I'm still trying to come up with a good example that will clarify this for those who are still struggling with the concept. But I've got work to finish and a toddler to pick up. More on this topic later...