Girl Talk, Pop Culture

Let’s Play Barbies

Hnew-barbiesave you heard about Barbie’s latest make-over?  The iconic doll is now available with a “tall,” “petite,” or “curvy” body.  Of course, there’s controversy.  But then Barbie’s stirred debate ever since her debut in 1959.

Can Barbie dolls with “more realistic bodies” be the solution to raising the next generation of girls without eating disorders?  Will these new Barbie dolls make every girl believe she is beautiful?  Sadly, I don’t think so.  Barbie cannot single handedly change the relentless societal pressures girls and women grapple with every time they look in the mirror.

barbie with pearlsWhile I look nothing like Barbie, even as a child, I never compared myself to her.  She was a doll.  With pretty clothes.  And that was it.  Because in the beginning, it was all about the clothes – glamorous, couture creations in miniature, with matching high heels and clutch bags.  By the time Barbie became an astronaut and a surgeon, I had outgrown dolls.

Vintage-Barbie-Evening-SplendourStarlight Barbiesenoir promdinner at eightred flame4f128be7548bb9aa2a1dab4b46937be6Little black dress

Back in the day, there was no such thing as a “playdate.”  You just showed up at your friend’s house with your Barbie carrying case.  Then you and your friends sat on the floor with the dolls, their clothes, and a myriad of tiny shoes, purses, hats and gloves scattered all around, and played for hours.  When it was lunchtime, your friend’s mom would make grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was the eight-year-olds’ version of girls’ night out.

Barbie with hat

Barbie showed me how to dress for any activity or occasion, and how to do so in a ladylike way.  She inspired me to create elaborate stories.  She taught me how to share, and how to get along with the other girls.

Decades ago, I packed away my Barbies, each doll carefully wrapped in tissue paper, every outfit meticulously matched with its accessories.  This vintage collection might be valuable.  But I would never sell it.  Because it’s priceless to me.  

red poppy

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Play Barbies

  1. Barbie and I are the same age, and she (like me) is showing signs of middle age spread. You know what I’m talking about? Yet, she still looks pretty good…no wrinkles or bags under her eyes. And her hair is blue, while mine is turning grey 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terésa Carter says:

    With my Barbie friendship airplane and my sister’s Barbie convertable we could go anywhere in the world, and we did. As Afican American girls who didn’t have dolls that looked like us, we were thrilled in the 1970s, to finally play with dolls with our skin tone. Likewise I think that Barbie in varied body shapes this is a long overdue development. It’s a good thing to see aspects of self represented in the ever popular dolls.

    Liked by 1 person

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