Meeting little kids and taking a photo with them? Check that off for Barbie!
In the age of social media and living for the "likes," what photo is more popular than one of a volunteer worker in Africa or another Third World country? Whether you hate or love those photos, one Instagram account is trying to spark a conversation about it and the entire volunteer industry.
Barbie Savior is an Instagram account created by two anonymous white 20-something-year-olds that is similar to Hipster Barbie and is meant mock and poke fun at volunteers who travel to Africa to "save" people there. That concept is also known as the white savior complex. Many of these volunteers then take photos with people or places in these countries, usually celebrating how much they are helping, rather than looking at any of the bigger issues.
The two creators, former white saviors themselves, started this account as a way to get the conversation about this topic going. "We were never as 'savioresque' as Barbie Savior, but we did things back in our white savior days that we regret," they told The Huffington Post. "The attitude that Africa needs to be saved from itself, by Westerners, can be traced back to colonialism and slavery. It's such a simplified way to view an entire continent." The creators are prepared for any type of reaction to the account but tell The Huffington Post that most of it so far has been OK.
Of course, the idea of this account is not to shame those who do go and volunteer in countries. Rather, Barbie Savior is here to remind everyone that these photos — whether it's a selfie with a child or a reflective quote that is entirely about yourself rather than the situation — is problematic. "Barbie Savior, we hope, is an entertaining jumping off point for some very real discussions, debates, and resolves," they said to The Huffington Post.
Check out some of the photos of Barbie Savior and see why the account's already racked up more than 24,000 followers.