Designed to inspire young girls to explore their own limitless potential while learning about the incredible women who helped pave the way for them.

I want a real Barbie, a real-life role model Barbie since, apparently, kids are actually INFLUENCED and INSPIRED by these 12 inch bits of plastic. I want a Barbie that accurately represents the REAL women who “pave the way” for others.

First, I want a petite, chubby, 25 year old Hispanic Barbie who got married at a young age because her dad insisted on it when she got pregnant on prom night by a guy who would later beat the shit out of her, forcing her to take the three kids and go stay with her auntie because dad had refused to let her come home. “Every marriage has its problems,” he said, “you go back and do whatever he wants.” So out of a two bedroom house in Chula Vista, CA, this woman works two jobs and goes to community college in the early morning after her night job. She takes two classes a semester and it’ll take her forever, but she’s hell-bent to become a medical records technician. Then she can move out and raise her kids. She has a restraining order against the husband, and she’s filed her divorce papers. She’s been in school for 2 years and is about to get her associates degree.

Then I want a middle-aged Mexican woman living in the “bad part” of a California city. She has three great teenage kids and has just adopted two little white boys, both born on the street because their parents are junkies. They’ve been her foster kids for two years. Sure, it’s likely the boys have fetal heroin addiction, but aren’t they cute? And funny! And they try hard, and her teenagers love them. She’s about to bring home their twin sisters, but she hasn’t told anyone. It will be a beautiful surprise.

I want a fifty something mother who teaches special ed. She has two sons — one a big success, the other a moderate functioning developmentally disabled man of thirty who is lovable, entertaining, and inspiring but who requires the patience of Job to deal with every day. Still, this heroine sees the best in everything, carries passionate and humane convictions, gets all the joy from life that’s there and is a great friend.

I want a 90 something artist, tiny and beautiful, whose life has been like one compelling film after another, who, in the face of insupportable tragedy — the sudden death of both her adult sons in a car accident — found a way to fight for justice, has maintained her poise andΒ joie de vivre, continues to be inspired artistically, supports and encourages her younger friends in their endeavors and cherishes the beauty in her many memories.

I’m sorry, Mattel. I think you should stick with that best-selling, implausible, plastic beauty that’s so easy to make clothes for and whose life is a total fantasy. Suddenly coming up with “role model Barbies?” Good marketing ploy, but Danny — one of the little boys adopted by the Mexican heroine living in the “bad part” of the large California city — would really rather play with one of those other ones, with the fancy car, the glittery clothes and all the dates. OK? Kids are no more going to grow up to be Frida Kahlo than they are to be Barbie, what’s more, Frida Kahlo was Frida Kahlo. That “role” has been taken.

Good job on the skin tones, though. That’s a good idea. I’d stick with that.

Stephen Colbert gets it.

30 thoughts on “Barbie????

  1. do these “role models” still have the utterly unrealistic body shape complete with feet only set for high heels. Not who I want to grow up to be. Oh wait, I’m too old to be Barbie anyway!

    • I don’t know what their feet are like — probably flat as that is the new Barbie aesthetic, but still too small to walk with. I don’t why people would be so influenced by a doll but there are just a lot of things in this world I don’t get. I also don’t understand why a girl needs a female role model (or a boy needs a male role model). I don’t know why a person needs a role model with the same skin color, and I don’t even understand role models. I had heroes. I just don’t know. 😦

  2. I remember my first Barbie. I didn’t want one. I remember changing her clothes thinking, “I’ll never look like that or be that perfect!” and throwing her aside to play with something else. I had a doll a relative had sent that stood 2 feet tall and was chunky and had beautiful blue eyes. She was fun. No pretense, just dress her up and go for it. My grand kids went through the Barbie stage and hated her as much as I did. She wasn’t real and they knew it. Takes all kinds I guess. As for role models…make the doll “real” something that kids CAN identify with. I don’t know, I’m with you. I didn’t have role models or heroes. I had what was.

    • I loved my Barbie (which my parents didn’t want to get me but did for my 12th birthday). I sewed clothes for her, I built her houses out of cardboard and scrap wood and catalogs. I never thought of whether she was “real” or not or I’d be like her someday (or not). I honestly don’t think most kids are so stupid that they think Barbie is anything other than a doll. I mean, they look around them every day and they don’t see Barbie except on TV or the doll. For me Barbie was a creative opportunity. BUT I wasn’t playing with Barbie once she got “big” and had a house, lifestyle and all that — maybe for people younger than me Barbie was/is another experience.

      • I think every kid who loved Barbie probably had a different reason. My parents were very determined that I’d be a nonconformist and they resisted the sexualization of little girls and saw Barbie as a part of that. I don’t think they had any idea what I would do with her. They made a huge deal out of that birthday. They gave me Barbie and a pearl necklace and said, “What would you rather do? Play with dolls or be a young lady?” It was surreal.

      • Wow. That is surreal. Especially when you consider that “young ladies” were into dolls, not gallivanting around. I gallivanted around. Much as I could olol

      • LOL you and me too. Racing around over the railway tracks, over and through them, at the beach morn to night, that was living, lol not sitting around dressing up dolls. That was for when |I was 6. lmao

      • I have to go see now. Sorry for typos I’m trying to get used to a lap top never had one, keys are different, and I can’t see well at all, so it’s a major adjustment to a 4 ft. screen on the wall which I can actually see.

  3. I never had a barbie, never wanted one, preferred to play with railway sets. I didn’t even want a Ken, but I have Mr. Swiss. He also doesn’t want a Barbie, he has me, although I had to remind him.

  4. I really enjoyed the “doing the best I can” Barbie. I was pre-Barbie, but my granddaughter had dozens of the, inevitably naked and instantly shoeless. Many were also heaadless. Our hound Tinker was a Barbie hating hound and would see them and remove their heads. For some reason, Kaitlin kept ALL her headless Barbies and would dress them and laugh hysterically at them. I think maybe she had the idea too.

  5. I feel I should mention that although I have had and still have many many dolls, I never expected to be one of them. They were always dolls, not people and not part of my life expectations. I sometimes wonder if toy makers have even the tiniest clue about what toys mean to kids. You’d think by now they’d get it, wouldn’t you?

    • I never thought dolls were anything but dolls. Even my Tiny Tears who was my “baby doll” was a doll. My brother (same size basically, at the beginning) was VASTLY different from a cold rubber doll. I suspect (but do not know) if some of this is relentless merchandising and a lot of TV. No idea, though.

      • I think they don’t entirely “get” that when we pretend that doll is a baby or our best friend, we are PRETENDING. It’s all about imagination, not replacing reality with toys. You have to wonder, you know?

      • I wonder about a lot of things — do parents really not help their kids with this? I mean I wanted to grow up to be Willie Mays. My parents told me that was impossible, but never WHY. I think they understood what I meant was that I wanted to play ball as well as Willie Mays not really BE Willie Mays.

      • You mean when a kid wants to be someone other than who they are? Or just grow up to be a fireman? In my case, I wanted to play centerfield for the New York Giants just like Willie Mays. I wanted to make glamorous impossible center field catches and hit a ball like the furies of hell. I succeeded in this, actually, within the range of the first ever girl’s softball league in Bellevue Nebraska plus hitting balls for the boys’ team for their outfield practice. But Willie Mays? The job had been taken. Still, I watched Homerun Derby whenever he was on. I think kids need heroes and I think heroes are different from “role models.” I don’t think we have “roles” in life. Hopefully we have dreams, aspirations and lives not just “job descriptions.” I think Garry and I have something in common. He wanted to be a white cowboy (my family was partly made up of white cowboys) and I wanted to be two famous black athletes — Willie Mays and Wilma Rudolph. πŸ™‚

      • You and Garry. Except he quickly realized he had zero aptitude and moved on to being a movie star. When THAT wasn’t a go, he went with reporter and that did work out. Me? I was going to be a writer — after I gave up on ballet dancer and cowboy.

        Garry also seriously wanted to be first Cary Grant (no one wears clothing better and Garry really loved his style) … and when that didn’t pan out, Steve McQueen.

        At least he learned to ride a horse. That filled a lot of hollow corners for him πŸ˜€

      • For me it was the time my dad came to watch me play ball and I hit six home runs in one inning — it was one of life’s golden days that you would relive if you could. πŸ™‚ After that I wanted to be Wilma Rudolph and ran everywhere and jumped over everything, BUT that didn’t happen. My mom put the kybosh on my track career. Oh well. πŸ˜€

      • Ha ha ha!

        Yeah, “No. I’m not signing that paper. You don’t have to run. If you’re too fast, the boys can’t catch you.” That woman was out of her nut between, “I will not have my kids be artists. Art’s a dirty word in this house.” But I think that turned out, perversely, to have been a gift. I still ran, but I didn’t have to win. I still made art, but I didn’t have to sell it or be the best artist or anything. Her negativity kept me free. πŸ™‚

  6. I think they are all just a fantasy; one fantasy being the same as another. Let’s not pretend Mattel that they are role models! I wanted a barbie. Never got one as we couldn’t afford it. At the age of seven when I did want one, I don’t think the unrealistic shape of the barbie was the least of my considerations. All I knew was that she had pretty clothes, and that everyone else had one. I got Velvet instead. Her hair would grow and you could wind a little knob and it would be short again. She was pretty cool too, but she didn’t have any accessories or new clothes. However, it does seem very different for those seven-going-on-seventeen years old kiddies today.

    • Yeah — fantasy is important, I think. Barbie is a training device for consumers of the future. Mattel has (with great marketing savvy) queued into the whole angst of the modern mom. πŸ™‚

  7. If only Barbie and Ken were anatomically correct.

    I’m a barbie girl, in a barbie world.
    Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!
    You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere.
    Imagination, life is your creation!

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