Barbie's manufacturer Mattel have done their best to please parents, and try to keep up with trends. Over the years she's had many adventures and careers, including being an Olympic gymnast in the 90's, an astronaut in the 60's, as well as the more "girly" versions of ballerina, fairy and princess. Try and imagine how many different outfits she must have had over the years...it reminds me of the comical Ken in Toy Story 3, and how he loved to show off his very varied wardrobe. Ken always seemed to be more of a girls' toy, and although he never reached the same dizzy heights of fame as his girlfriend, there's never been any controversy made over him. I found a funny interview with Ken where he describes a typical day in his life. The interviewer suggests, much to Ken's annoyance, that he's really just an accessory for Barbie. Barbie always takes centre stage, and so I don't think it can be argued that she is dependent on her man, I see her as pretty independent. Watch the interview "Groovin' with Ken" here:
Mattel introduced African-American and Hispanic barbies in 1980, and her vital statistics were made more realistic in the 90's. These were wise moves by the company, and I think it's a good idea to represent that all people are different, and enable them to play with dolls which are more like themselves should they wish to.
However, Mattel hasn't always got it right. There have been some terrible ideas from the Barbie camp. I found a great article summing up some of the biggest errors of judgement. There were rumours of a teen pregnancy Barbie which would be an awful idea, but the real one was pregnant Midge, a Barbie with a baby doll which could be removed from its belly. I'm pretty sure that's not one I would want to buy a young girl.
I was pleased to read there was Becky, Barbie's friend who was wheelchair bound. Unfortunately, she wouldn't consider "Dreamhouse" an accurate description upon visiting her friend, since the toy would not fit in, and there was no ramp for her to use. I'm not sure if Mattel have rectified this issue, I hope they have.
Read about the "10 Strangest Barbies", some of which are hard to believe, here:
I am raising my two nieces, and am perfectly happy to let them play with Barbie dolls, or any similar type of doll. I don't think I would buy a Monster High doll, but I would not ban them from the house either. Girls can admire these pretty toys, but in my opinion, that does not equate to a desperation to become a supermodel as they grow into young women. What are your views on Barbie? Has her time been and gone? I'd love to read your views.