Growing up in the 70’s it seemed like most girls played with Barbie dolls and I was not like most girls. I didn’t seem to want to play with a a blonde stick figure with boobs, I loved stuffed animals and those dolls that let you practice applying make-up. Anyone else have a Chrissy doll that let you cut her hair? The Barbie image was not something that I related to so I opted out.
Truth be told my Mother would not have let me have a Barbie even if I had wanted one, I found out recently. She didn’t know anything about Barbie except what she looked like and no way was her daughter going to think that Barbie was an example of what I should aspire to be. The idea that a little girl would play with doll that is supposed to represent being a “grown up” woman is a little weird to me even now. I get the whole super hero thing, GI Joe or GI Jane pick who you want to emulate. But what was Barbie telling us? Find yourself a Ken and a Malibu dream home otherwise you ain’t sh*t? Not really the best message to send. So I appreciate that my forward thinking Mom had already decided, no way just in case. But was she right? Was Barbie only selling boobs and gorgeous clothing?
Fast forward and this grown up lady totally appreciates Barbie as a part of American culture not some aspirational figure. A fully marketed, fully stylized and fully furnished American dream – that has been around since 1959. Barbie was supposed to emulate the Hollywood glamour of the time and she did, tiny waist and all. But she grew into so much more than that. And I can love her for how she has evolved over the years and how much “girl power” she really represents. Barbie went into space in 1965, became a CEO in 1985 and ran for president in 1992. Pretty progressive if you ask me.
So even if you don’t buy into the whole Barbie girl living in a Barbie world lifestyle – you can appreciate how much a part of our pop culture our Barbie doll really is. She’s a pretty cool chic, and seriously some of the clothing is just perfection.
Lesson #11 – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover cause you can miss out on some really good stuff.