Posts Tagged ‘Barbie’

Barbie…Then and Now

In Personal Self Esteem, Women's Issues on October 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm
Barbie Doll Museum at Bloomingdale's

Image by aloha orangeneko via Flickr

Somewhere around the 3rd grade my mother nicely informed me I was getting too big to play with dolls. I remember thinking, I was not going to PLAY with this doll, I wanted a Barbie doll. You didn’t just play with Barbie, you escaped into her world where everything from sports cars to her house was bigger, better and more exciting than just a doll. Well, I never got a Barbie…ever, and I wonder how many other little girls thought Barbie’s world was an inspiration and discovered just how far Barbie lived from the truth.

Recently in an article on SHINE a model indicated what type of surgery she would need to have to even begin to look like Barbie and let’s face it, if a model would need to have surgery the picture is less than positive for the rest of us, at any age. Then I began to wonder if Barbie might not have made a more positive impact on girls if she “aged gracefully” and really let us peek into where her life was headed.

For example, Barbie would have a  little more flab after a few children and a little more fatigue from endlessly running to doctor’s appointments, sports activities, meetings with teachers, not to mention the job she might have to take on if Ken was downsized. Their exquisite “dream house” might have to be sold and they might need to live in a rental until Ken could find employment. Barbie would spend a lot more time in sweats and with significantly more “bad hair days” while trying to juggle her job, toilet training the youngest and making ends meet at the grocery store especially with the one kid who had significant allergies to any food with preservatives.

Maybe Ken would get so despondent that he would simply “check out” of married life and Barbie would be looking at years of waiting for the support check to be on time while still trying to be the “perfect mom”. Barbie would trade in her bikini for pajamas which she would want to wear constantly because she would never be able to get enough sleep between kids, and her job and now trying to put herself back to school for a degree so she could actually consider sending the kids to college someday and save some money for her own retirement.

Barbie Doll Museum at Bloomingdale's

Image by aloha orangeneko via Flickr

Gradually Barbie would get her degree in business although it might take her 6-7 years part time. Especially when she lost a year to take care of her mom who could no longer live by herself and to home school one child who wasn’t able to make academic gains in a traditional education program. Barbie now had her degree and was sending her children off to college but not in the fancy sports car  but in the clunker she had been driving for some 11 yea. She hoped to purchase another used vehicle for herself once she got the job offer she believed she now had qualifications for. But Barbie discovered few people wanted to hire a middle aged woman who had no experience in her field regardless of how much experience she had in life. Employers weren’t paying for life experience and Barbie found herself looking into the mirror after 6 months with no offers and thinking, “Maybe I do need a face lift,” when she realized that she not only located one but many grey hairs in that pretty blonde head of hers and wondered what was next.

Barbie looks at her own mother and realizes the next “doll” she becomes will be 20 pounds heavier just because Mother Nature says so and will no longer be able to fit into any size that isn’t double digits no matter what she does. She also realizes she is about to morph into a doll that comes complete with  fashion accessories that include a handicap accessible sticker, walker, and reading glasses.

Yes, Barbie has arrived just not quite at the place she thought she was headed more than 50 years ago. Welcome to the real world, Barbie.

I think dolls are wonderful. I still have several of my own packed away, but again not a Barbie.  Obviously a Barbie who ages realistically over time would be a dud for sales but what I hope every little girl understands who enjoys dolls, even Barbies, is that in the real world we don’t look perfect or have perfect relationships or even perfect lives and that is perfectly okay because there are no Barbies in the real world, only people who think they can be one. In the real world,  Barbie  has to grow up and be a woman we can all be proud of and relate to and she needs to “put her big girl pants on and deal with it” even if they are now marked large instead of extra small.

Barbie dolls are almost exclusively considered...

Image via Wikipedia

And of course, in the real world, she would have a ton of her female supporters who know just how she feels and would let her cry on their shoulders, eat chocolate with her and rally around her no matter what is spilled on her shirt, how long it has been since she shampooed her hair and even if she is wearing mom jeans.

Give it up, Barbie and live real.

Posted by  Kathy