Monday, November 24, 2008
On my way home from work tonight, I stopped by Toys R Us. Not a store I spend much time in normally, so I took some time to browse. I was immediately drawn to the huge Barbie section.
I loved my Barbie. I had a black patent leather carrying case that held my Barbie and many of her outfits, so I could take her with me everywhere. I can't imagine the number of hours I spent, alone and with girlfriends, playing with her.
At that time, there was only one Barbie and you could buy all different costumes for her. Now I see, you have to buy a whole new Barbie. And what is going on? All the Barbies I saw (and there were plenty) had names like "Rock & Roll Barbie", "Princess Barbie" "Model Barbie" "Beach Barbie," anyway, I think you catch my drift. What happened to the "Career Barbie" or "Teacher Barbie" or "Doctor Barbie?" Hell, even the 2 Ken dolls I saw were "Rock Star Ken" and "Beach Bum Ken" (my description). It looks like Barbie and Ken have decided to go on the dole and spend the rest of their lives partying. I did see a "Barbie For President" doll, but she was wearing a skimpy red, white and blue outfit, just what you expect the first woman president to wear. I checked out a few Barbie websites to see all the different Barbies. The one that freaked me out the most was "Medusa Barbie."
Some of the Barbies released this year are "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie," "Juicy Couture Barbie" and the aboved mentioned Medusa. I understand a lot of these dolls are made for collectors and not really for kids to play with.
It seems that the "working for a living" Barbies are "vintage", which in Barbie World is pre-1980. There you can find Barbie as nurse, astronaut, student teacher, an AA stewardess.
After I finished Barbie World, I went into the next aisle and what did I find there (again in the girls' section) play pots & pans, vacuums, kitchen appliances, brooms, again, I'm sure you know where I'm coming from. I really thought a lot of this stereotyping had disappeared, but I'm very wrong. Of course, the boys' sections were filled with trucks, dinosaurs and army men. It reminded me of a commercial when I was quite young. It was for a toy dashboard with steering wheel and front window with working wipers; not even a full car. It was marketed for boys and I remember telling my mom I wanted one, but she explained it wasn't a toy for girls. I remember thinking that the boys get all the good toys.
Anyway, if there are any Barbie fans out there who want to set me straight, please do. I'd like to think that Barbie can be beautiful, fun, have lots of friends and also can show little girls that they can also be smart.
PS I HAD to use the Lucy/Ethel Barbies on top. Now there's an example of 2 bright, funny successful women!