She’s a Barbie Girl In a Barbie World.

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor


I’m a little concerned about my daughter’s extreme love for Barbie. I know what you’re thinking: this topic has been talked to death. That may be true but it hasn’t been talked to death by me and well, I have a column due, people. Here’s the thing, my kid has a ton of Barbies and it’s becoming an issue. For one, Barbie and her band of spin-offs that seem to have little in common with original Barbie are taking over the house. They have overflowed the toy room’s colorful fabric boxes, filled extra boxes in her room and when they needed more room they began setting up alternative housing in her closet.


It’s like a mini Barbie micro-city in my house. There are Barbie cars, Barbie pool –conveniently there is also a Barbie lifeguard stand which was bought separately, of course the requisite number of bikini clad Barbies to hang around the pool –although they all seem to lose their bathing suits in record time, many a sparkly dress attired Barbie, a Barbie dentist’s chair with dental hygienist Barbie (I hope she at least attended an accredited hygienist program) and more. The only thing we don’t have is the Barbie camper because seriously, when is the last time you saw a tall blonde in loads of make-up and six-inch heels who had any interest in camping?


Since the Barbies obviously outnumber family members, I’m concerned that they may start petitioning for more rights in the house. Maybe they’ll start forming a little Barbie government with Barbie bylaws like no one can leave the house without being properly accessorized or everyone must wear pink. It’s possible that the Barbies have already been doing this and are very strict because I’ve come across a few headless ones lately.


I’m not totally upset with the sheer numbers, but sometimes I have to question why my daughter likes them so much. The other day she brought one to me to show me that she has fully developed breasts. “Mom, how come she has grown boobies if she’s a kid?” Elby asked. It was a very good question. Why does she? The question goes beyond the ones that are asked by moms all the time like why are they all so anorexic? Why are they mostly blonde? Why are there so few Barbies of color? Those are all good questions but I think if we could answer the first question it might clear things up. Why the hell is Barbie an adult? Once Barbie is a grown-up then I suppose she has to have breasts and with breasts come boyfriends (Hi Ken), pool parties and poser friends.





scipperly, love your comment. I agree wholeheartedly. Kids get their ideas from everywhere and everything and we just have to be standing by to mentor and help.


I don't think it's superficial. My mother had the Barbie debate (Barbie was, in the end, allowed), and as yet another generation of former-Barbie-players grows up and has their own daughters, the conversation is happening again. And when my daughter grows up and has a daughter, she and her blogger (or whatever we are doing in 30 years) friends will have the SAME CONVERSATION AGAIN.
As with almost anything in parenting, good parents and human role models were key. Yeah, I had a lot of Barbies, and my Barbies were obsessed with getting boyfriends (not so much the fashion, just dating). But I also had an awesome mom with ideas and a graduate degree and I was raised to want more from life, and I did, and I do. So, no harm, no foul with the Barbies. A worse fate would have been to lack actual human role models. Because regardless of my priorities as a 10 year old, when it was mom vs. Barbie, mom won hands down, every time.


Okay, so I had a fabulously insightful anti-Barbie post that just got eaten by my computer. No, really. This is why I find Barbie creepy. I suspect that Barbie viruses (virii?) are quite contagious. My six year old understands this and is respectful of my nuerosis.

Admit it - Barbie does NOT promote play that exists in a non-materialistic way. ("Hi! Do you like my new XXXXX? It's an original!!!!) That's fine. Just admit that's why you have a problem with it and allow it or not. You aren't a monster either way.
That said, I don't think blog-fodder discussions are less superficial just because you have a deadline. I respect you as a writer and expect more from you.