I was chatting with a girlfriend yesterday and she is telling me about this Barbie her son picked out for a little girlfriend of his as a birthday present.
“Have you seen that Barbie that has a dog that poops?” she asks.
“Oh, yeah I saw a commercial for it … I don’t get it.”
“Well, that’s what he picked out for her.”
My curiosity was piqued. I thought I remembered Mattel jumping on the Women’s Lib bandwagon a few years ago-waving banners about body perception and positive self image. Had they fallen off the wagon or was this their lame attempt to portray Barbie as a liberated woman able to pick up dog crap all on her own?
I had to get to the bottom of this. To investigate, I went to the Barbie.com website, where I was instructed to “Think Pink” as I waited for the download of information to come into view. Waiting patiently, tapping my un-manicured nails, I think back to the Barbies my sister and I played with “back in the day.” The buxom, silky haired gals who were up for anything … skinny dipping in the bathroom sink, cruising topless (and sometimes bottomless—no embarrassing bikini line to worry about) in their cherry red Corvette convertible, or just hanging out at the town home.
They were always barefoot because number one, their shoes (a chocking hazard) disappeared five seconds after they had been ripped from their plastic boxes and number two, my sister always chewed the doll’s feet, making it impossible to ever fit a pair of Go-Go boots on them again.
Ding—Download complete. I am now entering Barbie.com. A world … albeit fictional, where any young girl (and some young boys) can be “ … whatever they want to be!” I was disappointed—scratch that—I was HORRIFIED at what I saw as I clicked away in this Pepto-Bismol cyberland. Mothers of young girls (and some boys) everywhere, LISTEN UP … this is what the Toy Gods out there are deeming acceptable.
Click—The “I can be … Barbie” No, I didn’t say the I can be Barbie. Notice the three innocent dot, dot, dots following the word be. These dots may seem insignificant but they are not. They are a gentle reminder to wait, use your imagination … think of all the possibilities, kind if dots. If it would have been I can be Barbie without the dots, don’t you know there would be a cyber meltdown occurring? Women everywhere clicking away with wild abandon! Anyway, so the “I can be … Barbie” page pops into view. Guess what ladies? You can be a photographer, an art teacher or even a pet sitter!!! Thank God I didn’t toil away during my college years, foregoing that fraternity kegger, trying to boost my G.P.A. another couple of points, so that I could embark on one of these, “Real Life Careers”.
Click—Next it’s the “Bride and Groom Barbie”. You can choose a black groom or a white groom. Wow! Barbie’s parents are liberals! Barbie is all aglow for this “ … fairy-tale occasion, complete with a light up engagement ring.” A little gaudy in my opinion. Is the groom Barbie at all realistic? No. He doesn’t have a clickety mechanical button on his back to make farting noises or excuses like, “Oh, sorry Barbie, I didn’t think you where in the room.”
Click—The “I Heart Pets Barbie” This is the one with the dog who really poops. At least she’s equipped with a pooper scooper and isn’t chasing around with a plastic bag. But wait … where is Ken??? Isn’t he the gallant knight that should be retrieving this steamy mess as a grand gesture of love? Oh yeah, I forgot, Ken’s gay. Why else do you think they had to create the Groom Barbie? I mean Barbie and Ken dated forever and he just couldn’t commit. He obviously had issues.
Click Click—There are “Chat Diva Barbies” who can lipsynch- wait are you ready for this-three different songs! And I’m willing to bet that one of them is by Brittany Spears. And hold on to your hats ladies because she also knows how to answer her phone!!!!! Hey Barbie, why don’t you try doing that while you cook dinner, change a diaper and balance your checkbook simultaneously? Hmmm … betcha can’t!
Click-And I can hardly find the strength to go on … but … there are the “Pom-Pom Diva Barbies.” “ … flipping through the air to land on each other’s shoulders … with glittery uniforms flashing these Fly Girls [trade-marked] really know how to put on a show!” Good gravey!—what’s next? Stripper Barbie with a cool metallic pole?
Oh, please, (and forgive me if I sound too whiney) but I know many a women out there who are Barbies. I’m talking about the old school Barbies like my sister and I played with back in the day. The kind of gals who didn’t have the media crammed down their ultra taut throats. They were naked-in a sense. Deciding on their own who they would be and what they would do. I know this because they are my friends … writers, lawyers, educators, business owners, and moms. These are the true Barbies of the real world.
By the way, my girlfriend … I’ll just call her Barbie for now, took the doll back.