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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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pharm_chick pharm_chick 7 years
i LOVED barbie as a kid. i had about 10, and since i was an artsy kid, i used to enter art contests at my library with toys r us gift card prizes.. id win and buy barbie another room for her house lol. i think might still have my entire barbie collection! i would def pass it down to my kids too. my mom would sew indian clothes for my barbies LOL because she thought barbies miniskirts were a bit scandalous. and i was never allowed a ken hahaha. but yup, def love her. and i have a graduation barbie for all my graduations... cant wait for my graduation barbie this year!!! class of 2010 baby!!!
robinlh912 robinlh912 7 years
I love Barbie. She's fabulous! I just loved playing with clothes and coming up with the most ridiculous stories for her and her friends! Haha!
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I loved barbie.. and we owned such a huge collection of all of the different barbies that i don't automatically think blond. All of the accessories and things were so much fun. I also remember being a bit too old for them, but being totally jazzed when stacey and kelly started getting really popular.. haha. We just got my daughter her first barbie set and she loves them. They're kind of ridiculously complicated now, she got a potty training set and a preschool teacher set and the kellys that come with them have totally jointed legs to sit specific ways, but not interact with toys from another set.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Love Barbie. I've been told I am a Barbie doll. :)
pink-elephant pink-elephant 7 years
I played with Barbies as well as board games and stuffed animals and toy cars. I never felt like she represented what I was supposed to look like, I just saw her as a toy. My sister and I even used to make up the most ridiculous stories and characters using them all the time. It was always different. So if anything, I think having the dolls was actually good for us. It was a good creative outlet for us as well as something that brought my sister and I together.
Daisy-Duke Daisy-Duke 7 years
LOVE Barbie, still do. I wish I had kept one of them!
kpeazy kpeazy 7 years
zeze, i was thinking the same thing, that barbie is more an issue for adults than kids. i would play with barbie for hours as a kid. the size of her body never really crossed my mind. i was too busy imagining who my barbie was. she could be anything--a doctor, a lawyer, an nba star. she's independent, smart and confident. aren't those things we want to encourage in young girls?
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I liked Theresa better too. I never thought Barbie was very pretty. But like everyone else, I played with Barbies and I came out OK. She's just a doll. Any kid that takes her seriously has to have some issues anyway.
simplystella simplystella 7 years
@ Autumns Elegy: LoL :D . I love Barbie dolls, I'm a collector. And I think that parents are supposed to guide their children trough their life.. not toys. :)
karlotta karlotta 7 years
I used to enjoy cutting off my barbies' hair, hands, and feet. There was something really exhilarating about the sensation of the scissors going through the soft plastic. My parents must have thought I was totally nuts - but hey, I didn't grow up to be Dexter!
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
The only thing Barbie taught me is that he hair certainly doesn't grow back, and they make excellent chew toys for dogs. :p
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I played with Barbies when I was little and I think I came out ok. Then again, I was the only little girl I knew that preferred the evil chick over all the blonde nice ones. In Little Mermaid, I actually wanted Prince Eric to stay with Ursula because I thought she was gorgeous with her black hair and green eyes haha. And remember Lady Lovely Locks? The evil black-haired one was so pretty! So I don't think I ever took Barbie's big-boobied blondness seriously. I played with her best friend Theresa more because she was the brunette one ;) Once, in 3rd grade, I ripped off Skipper's head, cut the hair off, and put the bald Skipper head in the microwave (I guess my older sister wasn't a very good babysitter). My parents were on a date and I taped the warped, melted head to the front door with a note that said "Hi Mom and Dad" They didn't think it was very funny and I got in huge trouble for putting a dangerous object in a microwave. I never owned a Ken doll though! I always thought Ken looked way too girly, so I always paired Barbie with my brother's GI Joe dolls.
zeze zeze 7 years
I loved Barbie as a kid, I have to say, this whole "Barbie as a real person" is more an issue for adults than the kids. When I was a kid, all I was concerned with was how to make her clothes (yes, we learned to sew together) and how to change her hair - I never saw her as a real girl, she was a toy. Period.
gigilgirl gigilgirl 7 years
I hate Barbie, really.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Haha! I love victoriaw (anon 25)'s comment!! Bratz dolls are so ridiculous!!! I voted that I loved Barbie because she was awesome! I even read the books! =) lol. I always wanted huge boobs as a kid (my dream was to work at hooters!! lmao, but trust me it has defiantly changed!!!), but I don't know if that was barbies fault necessary. Barbie does have good influences though! She taught us girlies that girls can become vets, doctors, singers, actresses, all of the above. Bottom line: reach for the stars! =)
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
love love love. much to the chagrin of my father, who didn't want me to get the wrong impression. but my barbies went to college, got rejected by ken, had jobs, played sports, went camping, etc. they had pretty normal, boring lives.
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
Barbie was my friend while growing up. Thanks Barbs!
jessy777 jessy777 7 years
Wow that was a long series of disconnected thoughts. My apologies.
jessy777 jessy777 7 years
I played with Barbies but they always seemed to meet horrible disfiguring deaths. I am not sure what that means but it certainly hasn't bothered my self-esteem. I don't think this debate will ever end.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I love Barbie. I grew up with the dolls, and I grew up loving myself and my totally realistic proportions. Saying that a doll is to blame for anything is a cop out.
miss-malone miss-malone 7 years
♥ her! More so the older ones though. I've always loved that black and white swimsuit.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 7 years
People can do what they want, but personally I think there a better dolls for kids to play with and my kids wouldn't have any.
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