As the group, Aqua, so eloquently put it: "I'm a Barbie girl in this Barbie world. Life in plastic, it's fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation. Come on Barbie, let's go party, ah ah ah yeah."
Growing up, I loved Barbies. I had seventeen Barbies, and I played with every one. My sister and I built a Barbie town in our basement, using blocks, boxes, and doll houses. We spent hours drawing and cutting out little paper money for our Barbies to use. Each of our Barbies had their own job. Of course, we always had one favorite Barbie, usually the newest, and she and Ken lived in the mansion in town (we each had a Ken and a mansion), and that couple was the center of whatever plot we were playing that day.
We even had a convalescent home for Barbies that might have special needs. The one who had a skiing accident off our banister and lost a leg (Ken left her shortly thereafter). We built her a wheelchair out of cardboard. The one that wasn't a real Barbie and her scalp could swivel making her blonde or brunette. She had an unfortunate hair cut that necessitated her stay in the home. And the one who, on the same ski trip, broke her neck (the kind with the little ball on the end). We could put her head back on, but she had no neck afterwards and was shorter than the other Barbies. (The other Ken left her too. Our Kens were real bastards.)
My almost four year old daughter, Samantha, has already discovered the wonders of Barbie. She also loves them. Her collection is starting to approach the vastness of mine, that took years for me to accumulate. This is mostly due to the addition of the Disney Princess Barbies she got for Christmas from her Nana. (I don't think they're Mattel, but close enough.) She loves them. She sleeps with all seven of them and they must always be in whatever room she is in.
Today, we won a silent auction bid at her school for a basket entitled "Barbie Explosion". In addition to three new Barbies (she got one, her sister got one, and I'm saving one for a birthday present, probably), there were Barbie stickers, Barbie jewelery, Barbie coloring pad, and other Barbie things I'm not even sure what to do with.
All this new Barbie stuff made me realize how far Barbie has come since my days. I'm not just talking about her new, "more realistic" figure. I'm talking about the sheer volume of Barbies out there. Barbie was always an active gal, but now, my God, she must be exhausted. You can get veterinarian Barbie, Doctor Barbie, astronaut Barbie, Bride Barbie, surfer Barbie, and mermaid Barbie. Samantha's win today was a Rapunzel like barbie with hair extensions you can snap in and out.
Barbie also varies her size and shape to fit her profession. The new surfer Barbie we got today has wide, flat feet. No perma-high heel feet for her. And, I was shocked to discover the seven princesses cannot interchange their clothes. They are different sizes. Jasmine, Ariel, and Snow White are petite little things whose clothes do not fit easily on more average sized Tianna and Belle. And, apparently, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are gargantuan Nordic women, because you can't even get Jasmine's genie pants over their thighs.
With all these new Barbie developments, I am having a hard time pacing myself. I find myself browsing the Barbie aisle in stores, looking for something Samantha may like. I can't wait until she and I can go to the aisle and dream of all the Barbie dolls we she can have. I can't wait until she starts wanting new clothes to put on them so I can buy a case with hangars like I had.
I know a lot of moms dislike Barbie because she sets up an unrealistic body image. Not me. To me, she's just a doll---the best doll in the whole world!
(Sorry for getting that annoying song stuck in your head. I felt this post needed a sound track. And if you don't know the song, whatever you do, don't go looking for it. You'll never get it out of your head.)
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*This is cross posted at my personal blog.