I used to love playing with Barbies as a kid. Back then I had no idea that an unopened doll had value (they also frown on any “improvements” I decided to make. Like giving them haircuts. Or tattoos). I was fortunate to have 3 of the original 1986 ‘Barbie and The Rockers’ friends, Derek, Dee-Dee, and Diva, but someone stole Dee-Dee, Derek somehow lost a leg and I had Diva until I stopped playing with dolls. (I bet they’re worth a mint now!) Say what you want about Barbie’s influence on little girls; (she gives them an unrealistic image of what a woman’s body should look like, playing with dolls sets girls up to be shallow and materialistic, blah, blah, blah)
I played with Barbie dolls from age 4 to age 12, and I’m no more (or less) shallow than anyone else. Rather than choosing to turn a doll into a villain, I’m focusing on the positives. Barbie always had a job, she was with the same man for 50 years (and then briefly and inexplicably dumped him for some dude named Blaine) , she had a diverse group of friends, and she always stayed close to her family.
Yesterday, I played with barbies for the first time in years. I was with my niece who at the tender age of 5 already has an impressive collection. Sadly, she’s following my example in this case. When I showed up all of her dolls were sans-clothing. After I dressed them, I was assigned two–I say assigned because she always chooses for me. When I asked their names she responded confidently, “That’s Isabella and Cameron.” I looked at my new friends and wondered what kind of back story would explain why Cameron had permanent lipstick on his cheek. Isabella, I decided, was dressed like a street-walker, but she’s really a beach-nut who is just hanging out with her boyfriend.
Baby-Doll decided to play with Rapunzel and Edward Cullen (who were newly married, apparently).
Then I remembered what I loved about playing with dolls when I was a kid. I got to make up stories all the time. If I didn’t like the story, I changed it. Playing with dolls gave me a reason to use my (already over-active) imagination, a skill I still use to this day.
Oh, and the clothes were awesome 🙂