Why I Love Barbie

My brunette Barbies were my favorite, but I love this dress.

It’s Christmas time and along with all the other lovely traditions, it seems time to beat up on my favorite toy of all time: Barbie.

I loved my Barbies and their clothes and am convinced if I’d had the Barbie Dream House, I wouldn’t have needed quite as many years of therapy. Well, the house and the car.

One time as my mother told us to pack and get in the car—she was leaving my step father– I packed a horse statue, a pair of underwear, and my Barbie (and her red satin outfit with the cameo broach).

One of my great failings as a parent is my inabilty to instill in my daughter the love of Barbie. My daughter actually gave my Barbies and most of the handmade clothes away to a neighbor child. Just writing that now made my heart heave a little sob.

Barbie gets a bad rap for being unrealistic and creating body image issues. I for one can tell you I loved that she was unrealistic. That was the best part!

My step mother let me play with her Barbie. It was a moment of reverence.

She could dress and say and do all sorts of things that did not happen in my real life. There was no yelling or hitting or screaming or terror in the Barbie world (well, except the time she was kidnapped by bank robbers). She met and fell in love and after the first kiss, a new story began. No RELATIONSHIP.

I built epic stories that went on for days and days. With multiple wardrobe changes. I think my earliest infatuation with STORY goes back to Barbie. I really didn’t like to have friends play Barbies with me, because I had a script to write and act out and create wardrobe for it all. It was a big job and I didn’t need a bunch of amateurs getting in the way of my next exciting plot twist.

I have no memory of ever looking at Barbie and thinking “That is how I will look or want to  look when I grow up.” I wanted her clothes and her horse, but I wasn’t after her figure or her hair. She was a doll.

And just like I didn’t want to look like Raggedy Ann or Baby Alive, I had no illusions I would be Barbie.


If anyone set up unrealistic expectations for me, it was Ken. That hair, those teeth, the shoulders, the abs.

And what he looked like below the waist? Well, that did nothing to prepare me for the realities.

So, if you’re going to trash Barbie, at least have the decency for some gender equality in the process.

Or, better yet, just send me your Barbies because I never got mine back from that neighbor kid.


What was your favorite toy? What do you think of it now?