Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Birth of an Icon (and an eating disorder?)

When I wasn't playing army with my brother or fighting with him over whether we should watch GI Joe or My Little Pony on t.v., I was smooshing the faces of my Barbie and Ken dolls together in simulated make-out sessions, while Midge looked on in jealous rage and inevitably murdered Ken in cold blood with the sharp end of a pencil.

(Shut up, I know I was a screwed up kid.)

The object of my endless creativity turns 50 this year.Man, she sure looks good for her age.

Barbie dolls have taken on loads of criticism since their creation. The tiny woman, with her large breasts and tiny waist is definitely not a healthy shape to aspire to. But to be honest, at the age of seven I wasn't really thinking about my hips or bust line. I was too worried about getting cooties from boys and my biggest fear was getting teased about my height or California accent.

So what is it that makes people hate this toy so much?
Let me repeat that.
What is it that makes people hate this toy so much?

As women, we are likely to blame anyone and anything for the extremely high bar that we set for ourselves physically. I think as we got older and looked back upon our childhood, we found that we didn't want to blame our friends, boyfriends, parents, or ourselves for the critical way we look at our bodies. So we said, "Barbie! It's all her fault!"

I have to say, there was not one moment in my life that I thought, Hmmm, if I were only as thin as Barbie, I would have a cute boyfriend and lots of friends and stuff. I think I'll starve myself now. Never once did I think Barbie's vacant, plastic expression was judging me and calling me an ugly fatty with no future.

I would think portraying everything from a princess to President puts this classy lady far ahead of any other girls toy or the multitude of slutty celebrities influencing our youth on the boob tube.

So thank you, Miss Roberts (yes, that's Barbie's real last name), for the endless hours of fun. I hope to have a daughter someday who can inherit my extensive collection of pink accessories that are lovingly tucked away in the attic. Happy Birthday!

Note to Self: P.S. And I'm sorry my brother used your head as a golf ball.


kweenmama said...

Ah, Barbie. Ya gotta love her. I actually never got into Barbies when I was a little girl, but my daughters did. They even had the "Life-size" Barbies. They whacked the dolls hair off and colored it with colored chalk. I wonder now what that says about my girls.

thevinylvillage said...

Ive never quite understood the fuss over barbies figure...they have made her about much more than her looks, afterall.

Did you happen to see the real life Malibu dream home that someone did for the 50th birthday?? Tack o rama! But cool.

Crystal said...

More random Barbie-ness:

If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

:) Go Barbie! And sorry I cut off all your hair...all of you. And Ken, sorry about the dog. You'd know what I mean if you still had a head.

Aubrey said...

My sisters and I LOVED our Barbies. We could make up stories that lasted for DAYS. My mom was so cool (and probably thrilled that it was the only thing we did together without fighting) that she let us leave our "setups" out and underfoot for days on end. And I also never thought that I should aspire to look like her.

Aubrey said...

Look like Barbie, that is, not my mother.

SarahM said...

i used to have fun breaking my barbie, and getting confused coz her privates didnt match mine exactly.



colbymarshall said...

100% amen. I love Barbie, and I don't blame her for my problems. In fact, I credit her for teaching me that perhaps hole-punching my hair was not the best way to go...

Franco said...

can't wait for them to come out with peanant teen barbie.
and you right women seem to blame babie for a lot of things, who wants to be like her? she has no privates nor nipps, BORING.

ps:i sadly report that adsese did not make it for me,no matter how many visitors you get it all depends on how many click on the add, and a penny a day is not worth the annoyance.

MJ said...

KM - Oh, I never got one of the life-sized ones. They started making those when I was a kid, but they were just out of budget for my mom.

VV - I did see that! And yes, very tacky, but also very cool.

Crystal - LOL. Yeeeeaaaah. I cut my Barbie's hair a few times. I mean, I assumed it would grow back!

Aubrey - I had a toy chest that my mother insisted mine go "home" to when I was finished playing at the end of the day.

SM - Not too bad. I always remember wondering why Ken dolls had underwear stamped on when Barbies didn't.

CM - Yes, and crimping. Oh, and highlighting (with green highlighter). Neither were very good looks.

Franco - "who wants to be like her? she has no privates nor nipps, BORING." LOL - EXACTLY. Bummer about AdSense.

afro amber said...

Hi, I saw the link to your blog on LOTD.

The woman who pitched the idea of Barbie to Mattel, came up with it after a trip to Germany where she discovered the sex doll Lilli.

Lilli was a German adult comic, based on the popularity of it they made the 11 1/2 doll.

So chick thought the doll would sell if the US if she took her out of the lingerie and put her in more "appropriate" attire. It worked and she named the former sex doll after her daughter Barbie...and Barbie's boyfriend Ken is named after the woman's son - yeah how's that for screwed up?