Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Barbie, I love you ... but what happened!?!?

When I was little, I LOVED playing with my Barbies. I dressed them up. I sang to my Barbie & the Rockers cassette tape. I brushed & braided their hair. I made a Barbie mall with my childhood friend, Sarah. I took their heads off to swap bodies and then was very sad when they never went back on the bodies correctly. I had favorite Barbies: Peaches & Cream Barbie, Rocker Barbie, Crystal Barbie, California Barbie, Jewel Secrets Barbie and Tropical Barbie. I played with her canopy bed, shop, Corvette and pool party accessories. I still have most of my Barbies and her clothes in Mom & Dad's basement.

In a recent trip to Target, I found myself strolling through the aisle of dolls and Barbies. I immediately started to oooh & ahhh over the pretty clothes & hair found on current-day Barbies. I also like to look at the fancy Barbies that should really be kept in their boxes. I saw the Happy Birthday, Ken doll and couldn't get over how beautiful her dress was! Mattel also came out with a line of Barbies called Back to Basics Barbies. Her dresses are simple LBDs (little black dress), but you can choose to buy a set of accessories to add to her dress. These dolls are really pretty. Some others in this collection come in simple jeans and a white t-shirt.

I'm okay with all of those dolls. Then, I came across a new line of I Can Be ... Barbies. I thought, "Oh! How nice! Barbie in different jobs to show girls that they can do many different things when they get older." Then, I looked a little closer. You should, too.

Teacher Barbie:
Why is her skirt so short? Why is her shirt ruffly and satin? Does her computer have a picture of herself on it? Oh, and the glasses? Stereotypical image of every teacher. At least Barbie can be beautiful in glasses ... right?

Kid Doctor Barbie:
Are we not allowed to call them "pediatricians"? I don't know too many doctors that wear pink capri pants and a fitted white coat, but I'll let it fly. At least she's not showing too much skin. However, I don't think her heels are very practical, and I'd like to think that a doctor would carry more equipment with them other than a stethoscope and a big brush.

This one also seems to be a "kid doctor" ... so I don't know why they are different. For the same price, you get the Barbie and her small patient. The small girl apparently GROWS, but I'm not sure how that happens. Now that I'm comparing this outfit to the "kid doctor" outfit ... I'm suddenly very okay with the pink capris. Doctor Barbie is actually wearing a satin coat, mini-skirt and shiny pink tights with her white heels. VERY impractical. Grrrr.

She gets a free pass for her skimpy outfit for her job since she spends her time by the pool. I didn't notice until I got home and looked at the pictures that her lifeguard chair acts as a catapult so she can dive in to save the swimmers. The description on this link says: Your daughter can play out her dream of being a stylish, heroic lifeguard. Yes! That's just what all girls want to be. Stylish AND a hero!

Snowboarder Barbie:
Her outfit is pretty cute, minus the mesh, see-through shirt she has under the cropped snow jacket. But look! She won some sort of an Olympic medal. Way to go, Barbie!

Again, can't we just call her "veterinarian"? There is another one online called the Kitty Care Vet Barbie. She has more equipment with her, like a slide for the cat to slide from the scale INTO the bathtub. Right. I think this one has the same tights as the Doctor Barbie.

I found many more I Can Be ... Barbies online. Dentist Barbie. Babysitter Barbie. Computer Engineer Barbie (who has a totally cute outfit that I approve of). Chef Barbie. News Anchor Barbie. Ballroom Dancer Barbie. Architect Barbie (I also approve of her cute outfit). And Pizza Chef Barbie.

One of the last Barbies I saw before I left the aisle was this pretty, Princess Barbie. I really liked her. Although, when I took a closer looks, I noticed something about her outfit. She has a pretty ballroom skirt on. And no top. No seriously. Look. She has glitter painted on her top, but that's it. I guess you can't change her clothes ... but you could cover her up with a cute cardigan :)

Enough of my rant. I took these pictures on June 2nd and I just now got around to writing about them. I knew I had something to say about each of the outfits, but this post actually turned into a trip down memory lane. When looking for links for the top of this post, I had a lot of fun remembering all the fun I had with MY Barbies. I played for hours and refused to give them up, even though I haven't played with them for years. Jill was here as I flipped through literally hundreds of pictures online and we talked about which accessories we each had. She had Barbie's Dream Apartment and I had Barbie's Dream Shop. After hours of looking, she said, "I could go to my Mom's house to get my Barbies so you could see them ... and maybe we could play! Ha!"

I appreciate the attempt to open up every occupation to little girls. I just think that there is a long way to go. Slowly but surely, Mattel makes changes to make Barbie more PC for little kids. Her body has changed to be a more realistic shape (so they say) and the names on the dolls are no longer "Blonde Barbie", "Hispanic Barbie" and "Black Barbie". You might find her fictional history interesting ... and definitely read the controversies listed on this page. I learned a lot about the company.

As much as I made fun of some of these Barbies, I hope that she's still around when I have kids. I hope that Ellen wants to play Barbies some day with me and I'll be interested to see how much more she's changed by that time.

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Kansas Voices said...

Where is Blogger Barbie?

Accessories would include: Fancy Pink Laptop, Fancy Pink Digital Camera, Cute Puppy, Bejeweled Pink Smart Phone, Spell Check and an assortment of adult beverages.

Sarah and Derek said...

This post made me laugh Betsy! Love your descriptions and I'm somewhat tempted to go online to look at the other occupations!

The Lunds said...

What about Barbie and The Rockers? I can't remember the friend names (of course), but I think those were my favorite. Man I liked styling those shopping mall plastic booths full of tiny things ...

RachelC said...

I also had Crystal Barbie and Peaches & Cream Barbie. In fact, my sis and I had two Peaches & Cream Barbies, so they were the twins in our crazy little soap opera. We would cut pictures out of the boxes and hang them on the walls of the "apartments" we made out of boxes. In fact, anything we could get our hands on became fair game, like placemats for carpets and cut-up socks for dresses.

Anonymous said...

Peaches & Cream and Crystal Barbie were my favorites too! I still have all my Barbie stuff at my parents' house. I think my sons will probably be more likely to go for Uncle Ryan's Star Wars collection.


Mitzi said...

I'm just now reading this post, and I laughed out loud. BTW, if you and Jilly decide to play Barbies I would totally join in. I have several questions about the Barbies in the photos. Number one, I thought Mattel was going to make Barbie's body more realistic. Seems they just made her head bigger and her chest smaller. OK, that's some improvement, but I'm pretty sure the girl still needs some cheeseburgers. Secondly, since when do Pet Vets give cats a bath?? I'm fairly sure that if Dr. Jed ever tried to get Betty near a bathtub he would have a fight on his hands. In her nine-ish years of going to the vet, she has never gone from the scale to the bathtub...
And one more thing: Shouldn't we tell children that lifeguard chairs do not really double as catapults? After all, think how unsafe that would be. Kids are playing in the pool unaware, as Barbie's body is flung headfirst into the middle of their Marco Polo game. With all of her angles and very few soft parts, she'd be like a Human Ninja Star. Very dangerous. And what if little kids aspire to be lifeguards just for the chair, only for their hopes to be dashed when they figure out they won't be flying across the pool to save people....

Loved the post, and I know it'll inspire me to head to the toy aisle next Target trip!

Bets said...

"Human Ninja Star".
I want to see them make THAT Barbie :)