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Barbie — Love Her or Leave Her?

Barbie, who turns 51 today, is loaded with much more than extra accessories. The typically blond, blue-eyed, and big-boosomed doll has been accused of furthering a very narrow definition of beauty and gender. Trying to stay current, Barbie's professions have expanded — her latest incarnation is as a computer programmer, complete with a pink laptop of course.

I grew up playing with Barbies, as well as basketballs, bikes, and board games. I liked the latter toys much more than my often-neglected Barbies, but it was fun to sit around with my sister and play make-believe with the plastic dolls. Once I was old enough to care, I remember my mom telling me that if Barbie was a real person, she wouldn't be able to walk because her proportions were so wrong. So I got the message on an intellectual level at least: Barbie is an unrealistic toy, and I am not supposed to be (or want to be) like Barbie. But even with a disclaimer, do you think the limited ideal Barbie represents is damaging?

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