I saw the Facebook buzz about this. And while I think that the enthusiasm comes from a good place (and good friends), it makes me want to build a big fancy funeral pyre for that plasticky little doll. Honestly! Except that would be bad for the environment. I can’t win.
You know that phenomenon where you think about something from the past, maybe your childhood, and think “I can’t believe that we thought that?” or “did that” or “didn’t do something about that”? You know, like the soccer player and the sports bra thing. Why on earth did that make the news? It was July of 1999, friends. Not all that long ago.
Sometimes it feels like we are progressing at a snails pace but then you see little signs of progress. Hmm, yeah, sports bras are now OK (in public…ooh)and so maybe someday we will stop being so uptight about the human body. And then maybe we can stop giving little girls dolls that have anatomically impossible measurements and kind of torpedoey parts in some places and no parts in other places. The absolute WORST thing that could happen would be to have an actual honest conversation with kids about the equipment </sarcasm>.
See, I don’t care what Barbie does as long as she hustles her perfect little plastic butt on out of here. I want to look back on her as something quaint and ridiculous. Or forget that she even existed. I’m not angry or bitter. I’m just annoyed. Barbie, I’m just not that into you.
I was one of those kids that outgrew dolls at about 3, when I discovered bikes and dirt and books…and when people stopped buying dolls for me. Oh and I admit that I had a Snoopy stuffed animal that had clothes and accessories (whee!). I’m not better than it, just not a doll-kid. So I don’t really have an emotional attachment to Barbie. I remember a plastic case that Barbie came in and I remember being a little disappointed that I kept losing those plastic pink shoes that went on her impossible pointy-Barbie-toe feet. And that was pretty much that.
I’m sure that Mattel (it is Mattel, isn’t it) is trying to keep pace with our changing culture. And I am sure that there are people that think Barbie is the shizz. And I am not judging anyone who has bought Barbie for their kids and then had honest conversations about what is there and what is missing and the fact that Barbie needs to give Ken the Heisman and then get a job that could actually pay the rent (or mortgage on that swanky dream house). Anyway, Barbie, by her dimensions and definition, isn’t a good aspirational toy for kids anymore. Not today. And kind of never was.
So instead of identifying a “new career” for Barbie, can’t we just all decide to send her back to the 60s/70s where she belongs? And find a new doll to inspire our kids? One that doesn’t look like she is teetering from the weight of a too big head, tiny tiny waist line and pointy toes? And the one who has the good sense to ditch Ken because he is totally doing it with Skipper.