White Saviour Barbie Sums Up Everything That’s Wrong With ‘Voluntourism’

By : Alex Mays |


Anyone who has that friend who volunteered on their gap yah will be properly cringing up after take a peek at this new Instagram account.

Barbie decided enough was enough, moved out of her Dream Home and travelled to Africa to find herself, save the children and take a bunch of photos to show her ‘saving the children’.

This new satirical account called Barbie Savior has been created to question the trend of ‘voluntourism’, when us westerners travel to developing countries to volunteer, but don’t really manage to help all that much on our visits.

In the past it has been described as a ‘waste of time and money’ and can actually be more harmful to these countries which it’s meant to serve.

The account – which has likely been inspired by the hipster Barbie parody account – was created by two white women in their 20’s who have themselves volunteered in East Africa.

They’re not trying to say volunteering is always a bad thing, but they’re trying to encourage people to think about how they go about it.

The hashtags are where they really make their points. Like, ‘Orphans take the BEST pictures! So. Cute. #WhatsYourNameAgain #orphans #AttachmentProblemsArentCute’.

It also makes the point that a load of these people just assume they can get in front of a class with no training and teach better than a local teacher.

‘It’s so sad that they don’t have enough trained teachers here. I’m not trained either, but I’m from the West. #TheyTeachMeMoreThanITeachThem #WhichMakesSenseCuzICantTeach’

They’re also aiming to question the morality of people who also use people’s poverty essentially as a photo opportunity and asks whether they’re just purely out there just to have a laugh.

The accounts’ creators told Quartz:

We aren’t saying ‘Don’t help others.’ We are just trying to engage in a conversation about how best to help others.’ At this point, we just want Barbie Savior to be a topic of discussion in terms of what is and isn’t appropriate behavior abroad. It seems almost rude or harsh to question a well-intentioned person’s motives or actions. But the reality is, when other people’s lives are at stake, it’s only fair that these questions are brought up and that people are held accountable for their actions.

Barbie pretty much sums up what this kind of trip is all about: ‘It’s not about me…but it kind of is.’