Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With the New Barbie

Before you jump down my throat, hear me out. Let me start by saying that adult, twenty-something Meghan is delighted with the diversification of the Barbie brand. However, seven year-old Meghan is a bit disappointed.

Barbie was my absolute favorite toy growing up. I loved setting up my Barbie doll’s furniture, dressing her, and imagining what kind of life she had. Barbie was a role model. Not only was my favorite Barbie a pediatric doctor (complete with working stethoscope), she also looked smoking hot in a blue mini dress. When changing her blue mini dress, I noticed that Barbie had a tiny waist, long legs, and well-developed breasts. I believed that one day my boobs would look just like Barbie’s. This dream never came to fruition. To make matters worse, I grew up in a family with a host of blonde-haired, blue-eyed cousins. I always envied them. My dark hair and green eyes made me stand out in family portraits. When given the choice, my dark-haired Mother (the only brunette female in her family), always bought brunette Barbie dolls, hoping it would help me love my dark hair. (I didn’t truly love my dark hair until the age of 14, when I dyed my hair blonde. It wasn’t pretty. I blame Barbie).

babydoctor.jpg

I realize I had it easy. I was Caucasian. I can only imagine how inadequate ethnically-diverse populations must have felt back in the day. Remember when African-American Barbie looked just like Caucasian Barbie, only with darker skin? Not cool.

Before it sounds like I’m poo-pooing on my girl, I must mention that I truly loved 90’s Barbie. She had her faults, but I played with her every day of my childhood. Barbie helped me use my imagination. She helped me ponder my future goals and dreams. My Barbie was almost always a mother. She drove a minivan and obeyed posted traffic signs. My tendency to imagine this domestic scene helped me realize I want to be a mother someday. She also taught me that girls can do anything they set their minds too, and still look beautiful.What’s wrong with being pretty? Nothing.

barbie3

Furthermore, I loved my Barbie’s sexy body and teased blonde hair. She was something I was not. She was a fantasy. That’s what made her fun! Recently, the Lammily Doll was created. “The first fashion doll with realistic proportions” offers stick-on acne and stretch marks. Though well-meaning, perhaps Lammily is what happens when adults overanalyze the importance of a toy, neglecting the necessity of parental guidance in understanding the diversity of the human body. While adult concerns are warranted, given the prevalence of eating disorders and low self-esteem in young girls, dolls are meant to be pleasing to the eye and a source of imagination. Seven year-old Meghan would choose Barbie over Lammily any day. (I started developing acne at nine years of age. I was glad my Barbie didn’t have to deal with this affliction. Our playtime helped me escape this ordeal).

lam (Courtesy of lammily.com)

Mattel has managed to strike a balance between imagination, beauty, and social responsibility with their new Barbies. The new dolls are more diverse, but still pleasing to the eye. (Let’s face it. Girls who play with dolls like pretty things. It’s just the way it is). Skin color, hair color, sizes, and ethnicities are varied, but gorgeous. As a fitness professional, many may wonder what I think of the new curvy Barbie. Some laud this Rubenesque doll as Mattel’s greatest achievement, while others believe she is promoting obesity. Personally, I’m extremely pleased with curvy Barbie. She is just that; curvy. She’s not obese, she’s healthy and voluptuous. Some women are naturally curvy and have larger frames. That is beautiful (and to a rectangular woman like me, it’s something to be envied).

Barbies Body
This photo provided by Mattel shows a group of new Barbie dolls introduced in January 2016. Mattel, the maker of the famous plastic doll, said it will start selling Barbie’s in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. She’ll also come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. (Mattel via AP)

Adult Meghan is tickled pink with 21st-century Barbie. Yet the question remains, would seven year-old Meghan welcome these new Barbies into her imaginary world? Absolutely, but this girl will always be her favorite:

barbie1

 …after all, we go way back.

What do you think, former Barbie girls? Are you excited about the new Barbie? Be honest. Do you miss the unattainable beauty of old Barbie? This is a complex issue. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With the New Barbie

  1. I remember getting Barbies every year for Christmas from my grandmother as a child. Every single one of them pretty much the same – blonde hair, blue eyes, skinny, and pretty. I more or less looked like her as a child – I was blonde (still am), I was a skinny kid, and I like to think I was a pretty little girl (my eyes were green, though). But, I got really bored with them because they all looked the same (and my father forbade me from getting a black Barbie, which I really wanted) and all she could wear was heels. In particular I hated that she couldn’t wear sneakers – Barbie, you may have been a Doctor, but you’d still die in a B horror film.

    Flash forward to 2014 and the introduction of Lammily – I bought 2 of them from the kickstarter thinking a little girl in my family might like her and that I’d keep one in the box for myself (I mean, first edition – if she was a hit it might be worth money someday, you never know). Once they came in, I got curious and opened one. And… I don’t know, someone sparked inside of me – she won my heart and became a gateway drug to what now numbers around 35 different fashion dolls and sparked new hobbies (doll photography and making doll clothes) and rekindled old ones (story writing). It’s cool you’re not fond of Lammily (and those stickers are *optional*, they have to be ordered separately), but she holds a special place in my heart and I would have loved her as a child.

    I’ve also purchased one of each of the new Barbie types. Tall and Petite came in the mail today. Curvy should be in tomorrow. I’m excited 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • “In particular I hated that she couldn’t wear sneakers – Barbie, you may have been a Doctor, but you’d still die in a B horror film”. LOL! So true! Thank you for giving me another viewpoint on the Lammily doll. I suppose I can understand why many little girls will appreciate the variety of Lammily and the new Barbies. P.S. I didn’t know the new Barbies were available yet. That’s so cool. How do you like them, in the “flesh”? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only downside is that they do not have articulated joints, which makes posing for doll photos extremely hard and frustrating. Were they ANY other fashionista doll, I would take off their heads, steal their clothes, and re-body them onto Liv or Made to Move bodies. But I want to keep the new body styles, so I will have to get creative, haha. 🙂

        Curvy just came in so now I have one of each and I’m planning to take a bunch of photos and do a comparison post sometime later today or tomorrow – not trying to plug, but you did want to know how I like them, so I thought I’d share, haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s