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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Barbie Rant

A few weeks ago, I had occasion to do something I have not done in many, many years: go shopping for a Barbie doll. I did not expect this to be a difficult task; I assumed that finding the correct aisle would simply be a matter of walking through the store until I spotted that distinctive, godawful, eye-piercing pink color they use in their packaging. There would be many varieties available, with lots of tiny, overpriced accessories. I could select the stereotype which most closely matched my purpose, and then remove myself from The Barbie Aisle and give my eyes a rest.

I remember a marketing campaign years ago, stemming out of the feminist consciousness-raising of the 70's, I suppose. Mattell tried to offset the useless material girl image she had in my childhood with job-related costuming options: "Flight Attendant Barbie," or "Doctor Barbie" or some such (back then, we joked about the possibility of "Trailer Trash Barbie," with black roots in her blonde hair and leopard-skin stretch pants. Beer Belly Ken sold separately. No, it was not nice. Yes, it is still funny). Our daughter (now 18, and just about as un-Barbie as anyone you will ever meet) was never really into them, so I did not pay much attention to their evolution since those days. I had no idea what to expect; but I believed I'd be able to find something to suit my purpose.

Oh, My.

I was looking for "Business Barbie," or maybe even "Lawyer Barbie." What I found was a collection of "Bimbo Barbies." Not one of the dolls on display was wearing sufficient clothing for July, let alone December. If Barbie had been anatomically correct, she would have been arrested for indecent exposure.

Please understand, I am not unduly modest. I wear shorts and sleeveless tops in the summer, a swimsuit at the beach, and pajamas are more or less dispensible, depending on the weather. Given my experience, however, I can really understand the appeal of this. Because the dolls I saw were not even close to the sorts of things I'd be bringing home for my children to play with, let alone emulate.

Okay, so I'm in a crotchety mood. Deal with it.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Mark J. said...

What's wrong with skimpy clothes in December?!

January 12, 2006 6:35 PM  

Blogger AKMA said...

Remember these signs?

January 12, 2006 9:41 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

AKMA: I do indeed. I have long known that Pippa was growing into a woman of taste and discernment.

January 13, 2006 5:20 AM  

Anonymous Jolene said...

We had doll-aisle trauma this Christmas. We bought Christmas gifts for a girl in our neighborhood - mostly practical stuff like clothes and boots, but she wanted a Bratz doll too. A whole aisle of dolls with too-pouty lips on too-large of heads. Our one selection criteria: she needed to be wearing clothes that covered her body. We found only one doll the met the criteria. [sigh!]

January 16, 2006 11:50 AM  

Blogger mibi52 said...

We really did have a bunch of Barbies when StrongOpinions was a munchkin. They were usually naked, since she was forever changing clothes on them anyway. The effect was compounded by the fact that the dog usually nibbled off their hands and feet (they had been flavored by SO's food-besmirched hands, of course), so we had a group of nudist, amputee barbies. A couple were even decapitated, though whether that was done by the dog or her elder brothers, I was never able to find out. This will probably lead SO to need psychotherapy ten years from now...

January 19, 2006 1:10 PM  

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