Have you seen these commercials? I normally hate commercials, though since the end of the election, I’m certainly enjoying the change of advertisements. And, since I’m generally an emotional mess, the latest Barbie commercials have been tugging at my childhood memories. I know, it can, and often is, argued that Barbie is a little evil, and a lot bad influence, but maybe, with the advent of Bratz dolls, not actually so bad. Sure, she dresses kind of slutty (not as bad as Bratz), and sure, she’s got big boobs (so do I, just not the teeny waist, dammit), and sure, she’s got long legs (so she’s tall, sue her), but really, it shouldn’t be about looks.
Barbie, for all her faults, she’s been a mom, an astronaut, a ballerina, a teacher, a doctor, a vet, a princess, a sister, a girlfriend, a wife, and now, I do believe, a single lady (though I’m sure she’ll be a bride again, eventually). If taken in context, and without over-analyzing it, she can be a role model. Particularly if you, as a parent, are careful enough to teach your children about the importance of self-esteem, self-worth, and appreciating differences in people.
I was in Costco with RE a few days ago, and we were cruising the toy aisle. As we walked past the Barbies, all dressed in their holiday finery, she gasped and said, “Wow, mommy, those are fancy ladies!”. I told her those were Barbies, and yes, they were indeed fancy. She looked at me, and replied, “Mommy, I’d like to play with those fancy Barbies.” Good thing Nonna’s got a giant box of my old Barbies that we’ll be digging out when we go down in January.
I loved playing with Barbies. They truly allow children to create other worlds, fantastic worlds where anything can happen, and dammit, you can look FABulous doing it. My Barbies would drive their shoebox cars to the beach, to the mall, to the moon, and then, quite often, to prom. She’d dance with Ken, in her super fancy red heart dress, or maybe the yellow poufy one, and then usually, they’d have sex. Not quite sure how we sorted out as children that sex was a prom night activity, but we did, so they did. Barbie nursed GI Joe back to health after my little brother tortured them in various acts of war. Barbie was patient while I tried out new hairstyles, and sewed pants for her that no normal woman would have wanted to wear. I credit Barbie for helping me with so many of my sewing skills, it’s almost funny.
So these commercials start with adult women talking about their memories of Barbies, when they got their first one, how they shared (or didn’t) with their sisters, and how much they loved their dolls. It ends with a shot of little girls playing Barbies, and a voice over of a little girl saying, “Wanna Play Barbies?”
I so totally do. Do you? What’s your favorite memory of Barbie (cause I know we all have one)?