Growing up, I was a completely basic little girl. I loved pink, purple, canopy beds, kittens, and of course, Barbie. I don’t remember when I first became introduced to the most glamorous plastic woman around, but I remember loving her. No birthday or Christmas list was complete without some type of Barbie or Barbie-related toy (she’s more than just a doll, you know). I would nearly pee my pants waiting for my dad to machete through all of the clamps, wrapping, and twist-ties that held my new friend hostage.
My best friend Steph will probably kill me for sharing this, but she and I played with our Barbies way past the standard age. We literally could not think of anything more fun than creating fictional scenarios for our diverse group of ladies.
I have read plenty of essays and seen tons of segments talking about how horrible it is that little girls play with Barbies. Barbie’s body type is apparently impossible to achieve and sets this unfair standard for young ladies at an early age. Barbie and Ken’s lack of “realistic genitalia” confuses kids. The list goes on and on.
While I agree that Barbie’s proportions are a little off, my only rebuttal is: seriously, who cares? She’s a toy. I don’t know anyone that wants to play with Cellulite Barbie or Midlife Crisis Barbie. She’s just fun to dress up! I think it is way worse to see an airbrushed, photo shopped human on the cover of a magazine.
Being a strong advocate for sexual education, I guess I can see why lack of a dong on Ken is kind of weird, but take it from someone who still has to shake off penis visions from the Body Exhibit, sometimes you just don’t want to see that shit. All I could think about was putting new, exciting clothes and shoes on Barbie. I don’t want a vagina getting in the way of accessorizing!
So what, am I somehow a bad female because I loved Barbie? I’d argue that Barbie has, in fact, been a positive contribution to the woman I am today. Sure I was gifted Barbies that came in a hot pink prom dress and that was rad, but you know which Barbie was my favorite? Vet Barbie. That bitch had a legit job! She came with a stethoscope! You can’t become a vet without going to college! While I enjoyed Barbies with dream jobs, Steph was a big fan of culturally diverse Barbies. Much like our girl group in life today, we loved white girls, black girls, Asian girls, whatever! Barbie doesn’t discriminate, and neither do we dammit.
One of the best gifts I ever got was the Barbie Volkswagen Beetle in a shining red. I would cruise Barbie all around town in her hard earned automobile (she saved up her Vet money) feeling independent and amazing. I knew one day that I, too would have a car like Barbie’s when I was old enough. Sure enough, however many years later, I am the proud owner of a Volkswagen Beetle (it’s silver, not red though. Bummer.)!
It took me a few years to realize that I never owned a Ken. I did get a John Smith doll (you know, from Pocahontas), but my brother ripped his legs off so I very rarely used him unless we were acting out a school shooting or paraplegic benefit. My best friend and I had created a world of strong, fabulous, tolerant, beautiful career women, free of men. Our dolls didn’t sit around bitching about getting dumped or worrying about STDs, they we’re having swim competitions in the pool, taking vacations at the beach, and trying out trendy haircuts by their stylist yours truly.
Sure Barbie has big hooters and small feet and wears too much pink, but so does that neighbor you secretly want to be best friends with. Barbie is a cool chick and I think we should all thank her for keeping her panties on and showing us how to change up your lifestyle whenever you feel like it! I am, and forever will be, a proud Barbie girl.