Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barbie, you got some 'splainin' to do

[Previously published on the short-lived Cosmo Chicks blog years ago.]

I woke up thinking about Barbie for some reason this morning. Don't ask me why. I was just reliving good times with a long lost friend. I once worshipped at the altar of Barbie.

Oh yeah, Barbie was my life, my goal, my dream. I was going to have the perfect life someday, just like Barbie. I would have the perfect figure, exquisite clothes, and stylish hair. My feet would always fits into precious pink heels and my boyfriend would always greet me with a smile and those perfect white teeth. I'd have the camper, the apartment, the corvette, why yes, I'd even have my own private airplane and a Barbie Horse. And when I married, I'd come home to Ken, whose plastified smile was always ready to greet me. Ken would do whatever Barbie asked, he'd even wear the plastic apron and serve Barbie drinks aboard the airplane as they jetsetted to DisneyWorld for vacation. (Hey, I was a kid. DisneyWorld was the Ultimate Vacation.) If Barbie asked, Ken delivered, and always with that beaming plastified smile.

And ahhh, observe the precious Barbie Baby, whose head (I didn't take note of at the time) was virtually the same size as Barbie's head. Talk about an anatomical ouch! But the accessories that baby had! And all of them matchy-matchy and easily moved about by Ken, (as he grinned his plastified grin). Along with the perfect Ken, and perfect baby and a plastic cat or two, Barbie lived the dream.

Well, Barbie, you got some 'splainin' to do.

I'm grown now. I have the 'life'. I'm married, have children, and the two cats (not plastic, but there are days I wish they were because I suspect plastic cats don't hack up hairballs). Interesting, isn't it, how the dream can change?

I don't seem to recall there being a Barbie Broom and Dustpan, Barbie Dishrag, or for that matter, a Barbie Toilet Brush. Barbie never owned a washer and dryer, because heaven forbid she wouldn't have a perfectly new outfit to wear each day, anyway. And what's with that baby that never came equipped with the Barbie Baby Rash or the Barbie Baby Diaper Genie? Who could have ever suspected a baby would be so...smelly and just so darn odd after playing with that perfect big-headed unbendable baby that even smelled like baby powder?

And I certainly never recall Barbie having to rush to the bathroom and spray the Barbie Deodorizer after Ken exits with a guilty plastified grin affixed to his face. Nor do I recall the standard issue Remote Control Ken, just pose him in front of the plastic television, and point the remote; that's his talent!

They never had Corporate Raider Barbie, equipped with cellphone, laptop, rolodex and a wicked craving to sleep with Boss Ken while simultaneously sabotaging Barbie Climbing the Corporate Ladder's chance of ever getting that big promotion. And never mind the lacking appearance of Department Store Barbie on toystore shelves, who comes with a snappy blue vest and a tilted name tag and wears a frown on her plastified mouth as she mumbles into the intercom, "Price check on a box of supersize tampons. Checkout eight."

Where was Domestic Barbie? Oh, I know, she was married to Seventy-Hours-A-Week White Collar Ken. She stays at home with three plastic Spit-Up Babies and four Can't Be Housetrained Poodles clambering for her attention while she can't figure out how the Barbie Toilet Brush got shoved into the garden hose and where did that last Barbie Babysitter find the secret alcohol stash?

My personal favorite would have been Migraine Barbie. A tiny bottle of Barbie Aspirin comes fitted into her plastic fingers, but don't bother calling Doctor Ken. You can't remove her from the original packing box. She needs it dark and quiet. And don't shake her up; she'll spew.

What about Writer Barbie? She'd come equipped with a Barbie Computer (yet how to type with those four fused plastic fingers?) a stash of chocolate and attired in pajamas and bunny slippers. Her hair would refuse all styles and she would have an extra large backside garnered from Dedication To Work While Hunched Over The Keyboard Chasing The Muse. But man, would she have the office supplies. Tiny Barbie Paperclips and Post-it Pads. An endless supply of fancy pens and little books with her name on that she could hand out, perhaps even to Migraine Barbie, in an attempt to sooth her troubles. She'd write fantastical stories that always ended happily, sort of like the original Barbie Dream, but with a lot more reality stirred in.

Yeah, I like Writer Barbie, even if she's been known to attack UPS Ken when he comes knocking because he is her only connection to the outside world and he brings boxes from Amazon, and occasionally, checks from her publisher. Ken doesn't know it, but Writer Barbie and UPS Ken have this 'thing'. It's okay, hand Remote Control Ken his clicker, and the whole world is right.

My apologies to our resident Barbie-ologist, the lovely Ms Eagle. I couldn't resist posting the pics of Redneck Barbie and Hotflash Barbie.

So, which Barbie would you like to see on the department store shelves? I haven't been in the toy section lately: What's the most bizarre Barbie currently on shelves?



Betina Krahn said...

Michele, you're going to roast in Barbie Hell for eternity! lol.

I loved this blog. I personally never got to have Barbie's-- I got some off-brand "high-heel doll" from the local supermarket instead. But I loved her all the same. At the time, who knew Barbie would become the gold standard for dolly everything? She was just one of the girls in those first days. . . and not exactly the prettiest face among them. She was kind of pug-nosed and long-faced. A little odd looking.

Anyway, I love all of the Barbie stuff now. It seems simple and a little naive and sparkley clean and American Dream. And I especially like the changes they've made to Barbie, making her more realistic looking and prettier. And I REALLY love all the variations on vocation and career they have for her. . . everything from firefighter to surgeon to pastry chef to stock trader and park ranger.

Barbie (and the girls who play with her!) can be whatever she wants to be. I hope that message gets through to little girls everywhere!

Oh, and thanks for mentioning the Cosmo Chix. WE had fun!

Debra Dixon said...

Michele- LOL! this brings back fond memories because I have home movies of my sister and I getting our Barbies from Santa Claus. We are parading them across the back of the couch. My is "Business Babe Barbie" in a smart business suit ensemble. My sister's is "Party Hardy Barbie" in a sparkle-spangle dress. That one home movie spoke volumes for our personalities as teenagers and young adults. (g)

Playground Monitor said...

I never had a Barbie -- or the off-brand variety either. Yeah it's great that Barbie can be whatever she wants to be, but does she have to be it while having an anatomy that would make it impossible for her to stand upright were she real?

You forgot Trailer Trash Barbie, and Gangsta Barbie and Lactating Barbie. ;-)

Okay... so I'll rot in Barbie hell too, but we'll have fun together, won't we Michele?

Michele Hauf said...

I was going to post Gangsta Barbie too, but I didn't want to offend too much! :-) Yeah, can' you imagine Barbie Hell? Goth Barbie would probably be there.

I did find a pic of a pregnant barbie. You open her tummy and there's a little baby inside. Hmm... Anyone ever see this one on the store shelves? Or was that something someone just made up?

I was just thinking about the Barbies I still have. Downstairs, somewhere in a box, I've got Malibu Barbie, snuggled up to Cher (with one hand missing) and...Michael Jackson (nekkid). Talk about a menage!


Cindy Gerard said...

Great post, Michelle. I have a 6 year old granddaughter who is enamored with Barbie. Princess Barbie seems to be the fav. Although, I'll never understand why. the first thing she does is take off all Barbie's clothes.:o) There are more Naked Barbies in her toy box than I can count.
I would personally like to see a Lara Croft Tomb raider type Barbie. Now that girl could kick some major Ken-butt.

lois greiman said...

My question is do all Barbie's have to stand on their toes? And if so...why? Her tendons are going to atrophy.

Helen Brenna said...

Love this, Michele. Lois, that was always my big issue - the feet. Dang, that always looked like it hurt!

How 'bout Goth Barbie. Tattoo and pierced Barbie. Yoga Barbie - oh, can you imagine the poses? Botox Barbie with her nice big lips. LOL I'm making myself laugh here.

Better get back to work!

Michele Hauf said...

A Lara Croft Barbie would rock! I wonder if there probably is one of those out there...

I also found a pic of Anorexia Barbie, but that one was just too sad.

flip said...

I love Barbie. I had a huge collection as a child. I blame my love for bimbo clothing on Barbie. I love Torch Singer Barbie the most. She is such a tramp. I wanted a tight strapless, fishtail sequin dress just like hers when I was 6 years. Oh, wait, I still want one. I love bimbo clothing so much that I still year for a pair of high heeled satin mules trimmed in maribou feathers. If I had a pair, I would wear them grocery shopping.

Christie Ridgway said...

I loved Barbie. One of my good friends had this fab Barbie house that her father, the architect, made for her. It has real lights that turned on and an elevator. I had serious lust for that house. Wanted it so bad!

I don't remember Barbie Baby. I never had one. I did have lots and lots of baby dolls--one each Christmas. My mom would stay up late and make clothes for my new doll as a surprise each Christmas. We still have everything up in my mom's attic. I wanted to pass it all on, but I have boys. My mom persuaded me not to give everything to my niece and to save it all for potential granddaughters some day.

My mother also made troll outfits and then Beanie Baby outfits for Son 2 when he was a little guy and loved Beanie Babies!

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, Flip, I love that you would wear maribou mules to grocery shop! I want to do that too. Someday, eh?

Christie, my mom always sewed for my Baby TenderLove and Velvet doll. I still have those outfits too. What a treasure! I think we mentioned this on a previous blog, but do you think we're kind of losing the fine art of sewing? Do they even teach it in home-ec classes these days?

Anonymous said...

Michelle- where did you get the old lady barbie image from? I am on a tivia team and this was one of the visuals. Is this a real Barbie that is being made? can you give me infor on where the pic came from? I would really appreciate it