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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On Barbie

Most people think I would be opposed to letting my daughter have a Barbie (because apparently, in this blog I come across as a raving-borderline-bra-burning-feminist). But, I'm not opposed to my daughter having a Barbie, because you know me. I look at all this stuff as just another opportunity to have deep, meaningful conversations about society's unrealistic expectations for women and their bodies.

Veevs has actually never asked for a Barbie. When we went to the store to pick out her toy that she "earned" for completing her good girl sticker chart, I held my breath as we went down the Barbie aisle. She paused for a minute in front of Pediatrician-who-apparently-practices-medicine-on-the-beach-because-look-at-that-killer-tan-Barbie.

"You can pick that if you want." I said off-handedly. Because secretly, I was only glad it wasn't Cheerleader-who-got-a-boob-job-in-high-school-Barbie.

She picked Littlest Pet Shop Hamster Wheel of Death instead.

But you guys, I have great memories of playing Barbie. And sure, my Barbie was a little bit slutty, passing out her phone number to random men on the street and going on three dates a night with different men. For someone who did this every night, she didn't have a very good grasp on logistics. She got caught every time. See, sluttiness doesn't pay off. Even then I knew it.

I had two Barbie-playing phases. When I was little, I played Barbie with my older sisters, Ginnie and Heather. Back then my Barbie was a secretary named Linda by profession, and she liked to go to the disco and do fantastic splits.

But then when I got a little older (okay, thirteen) I was playing Barbies with my two younger brothers, Dan and Josh (and while I can't imagine them having any problem whatsoever with my outting their Barbie habit in this forum, maybe I should apologize in advance?), and my two younger sisters, Lindsey and Courtney. It was during this time that my Barbie, now named Trixie, became such a slut.

But compared to everyone else, my Barbie was living the conservative Christian lifestyle. My brother Dan commandeered the old Barbie-sized GI Joe (remember those?), who would accost the girl Barbies constantly. He was always drunk, and he always thought every girl Barbie wanted to be with him. Trixie hated how he would always follow her around when she went jogging.

Josh, on the other hand, created Deedee. She was an old Barbie whose glam hair had been cut off into a flat top. She wore Rocker Ken's jumpsuit with an elastic around the waist to accentuate her tiny waist. She had an annoying desire to move in with Trixie. Also, she tried to steal Trixie's boyfriends, and if you think that's appropriate Barbie behavior, then you've obviously played Barbies before. Deedee was a stalker, and worse! she always tried to borrow all of the other Barbies' outfits. If you did loan her a dress, she would find some way to make it tacky. We all hated Deedee.

See? Why wouldn't I want my daughter to play with Barbies? I can't imagine there's anything unhealthy in that kind of creative play, can you? Guess who's getting a Barbie for Christmas!

17 comments:

Lisa said...

Barbie rocks... The bra burner inside of me wants to shake those mothers who encourage Brats on their daughters...

Jen said...

Grace got one for Christmas. And now Alex gets to be annoyed when he is on business like phone calls and I say things like, "Where are her pants!" We are still at the practice undressing and dressing stage and not yet at the creative play stage. Maybe I need to let her watch a little daytime television.

turtle said...

Oh God. So funny.

Heather of the EO said...

I love this post. Hilarity.

Karin said...

Where do you come up with this stuff?

Carol said...

I had Sindy meself.

I remembered the Smith family Barbie escapades. Did I make up in my head that DeeDee was a lesbian too? I can't recall. Maybe my memory is hazy cos we were living in Leicester at the time.

Kiera said...

My barbie play was definitely not this advanced! Mine was " Hello Barbie" "Oh hello Ken, lets go for a ride in my car" " Okay"... then I would drive them around in their car until they wanted to kiss. Then they would kiss and then they would dance. I must not have had a great imagination.

D said...

My sisters and I loved building elaborate places for them to live (just arranging the furniture mainly) and creating elaborate stories that I don't remember anymore...We'd go days on one story line- possibly something about a soldier going off to war and the barbie left behind(we didn't have many boy dolls). Definitely dramatic. Whatever her shape Barbie encourages creativity. I guess it's kind of like those serial books for kids- whatever gets a kid to read or whatever gets a kid to imagine is ultimately good.

amelia said...

Oh, I LOVED Barbies. I wonder when my neighbor came over and made Barbie and Ken have sex...I was totally confused.

Shawn said...

I wasn't allowed to play with Barbie when I was little. My parents got me another "fake" woman doll, and I promptly cut all her hair off.


No wonder they didn't buy me the Barbie---it was way too pricey for a haircut.

Jessica said...

I was way too obsessed with rearranging Barbie's house to actually play with her. I used a table, my New Kids on the Block trunk and my brother's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trunk to make her quite the spread. Most of my storylines didn't have Ken. He seemed kind of useless--Barbie's out there being an astronaut/vet/ballerina and what's Ken doing? Hanging out on the beach, wearing a tuxedo that Barbie probably paid for? What a freeloader.

Beeswax said...

When I was 8, we got a puppy. THe puppy chewed off all of the barbies' hands and feet. Ken had thicker ankles, and was made of harder stuff, so he made it through with just some mangled fingers. So after that, Ken (I always called him DAVID) would fall in love with Barbie in spite of her many handicaps. And he like to carry her (and her friends) around a lot, since she didn't have any feet. It was all very romantic. My Barbies might have been easy, too, but my Ken was too morally upright to take advantage like that. Those hussies couldn't get past first base.

Melanie J said...

I loved Barbies when I was a kid. We were super poor so getting them was a REALLY BIG DEAL but then one day my dog chewed off all Barbies' hands when I was at school. And I couldn't ever afford new clothes for them so I made them dresses by tie dying paper towels and cinching them with bread twist ties. Those were some interesting looking Barbies.

The Rookie said...

The only bras I want to burn are the awful, cheap, unsupportive poindexter ones that one of my (clueless, bless her heart) sister puts on her well-endowed adolescent daughters. As a well-endowed girl myself I want to save them from this humiliation.

As for Barbie. I loved Barbie. My sisters grew out of it but before they did my (only) brother had a Deedee-like character he was forced into being. She was always the reject-Barbie (missing a limb, or two, she'd suffered a haircut of the buzzed variety thanks to my sister Amber, etc). His Barbie had overcome her disabilities to become an architect who designed our house out of encyclopaedias. We were so PC and it was the 80s!

Katie Irion said...

Oh man Hides, I am still laughing and trying not to pee my pants. (Quite a big harder since baby number 2.) I am loving these references to Barbie. I grew up loving Babrie like crazy and can picture your experience so vividly. Loved this post. The hilarious anecdotes about life soldier on. Keep 'em coming!

Josh said...

Hahahah!

Melissa Bastow said...

This post is hilarious. My daughter, being the overly girlified girl she is, loves Barbie and owns about 2 trillion of them. However, I was never a fan of Barbies. I guess it was because I didn't have any brothers to play with. That would surely have livened things up.