Friday, September 5, 2014

Barbie Embodies The One Woman in 100,000

September 6th, 1959, was a landmark date for girls now members of the baby boomer generation.

On that date what became the most popular doll throughout the world and probably in history went on sale in the United States.

Barbara Millicent Roberts was born and introduced to the world on March 9, 1959, at the New York Toy Fair by her Mom, Ruth Handler, owner and founder (with her husband) of Mattel Creations. The 11.5” doll, featuring long blonde hair swept up in a ponytail, sported a black and white zebra-design bathing suit…

and a too-perfect hourglass figure.

Barbie became a girl’s best friend.

Barbie was not, however, every little girl’s BFF, and not mine. In the spirit of full disclosure, I never owned a Barbie doll as far as I can remember. If I did, it never made an impression on me. But I was not enamored of dolls, so the omission would not have bothered this nine-year-old.

My sister-in-law, on the other hand, always wanted a real Barbie. Her Mom either could not afford one (they initially cost a whopping $3.00, about $24.50 in 2014 dollars) or did not want to spend the money, giving Joan a faux, cheap and poorly designed look-alike.

On Joan’s 50th birthday hub and I presented her with her first authentic Barbie.

Barbie has led an interesting life over the past 55 years. She had over 150 careers, experienced space travel, and ran for President four times.

I am glad some woman out there, even if a make believe one, had an exciting, action-packed life with no problems or issues of any kind.

And she still has an impossibly flawless body.

I never came close to possessing her original measurements (estimated but never publicly announced) of 36, 18, 33. According to research by esteemed universities, if alive and kicking she would not have enough body fat to menstruate.

But Barbie never lived in the real world or contended with tampons, a bloated abdomen or mood swings. But apparently one in 100,000 females could look like her. So human Barbies are out there somewhere. I have to admit, however, I have never personally seen one.

I have no idea how many (if any) plastic surgeries (what other kind of surgery would a plastic doll get?) Barbie endured over the past few decades, but she looks better at 55 than any of my friends, acquaintances, or people on the street.

Today five price tiers of Barbies tempt girls young and old  - pink, silver, gold, platinum, and black - ranging in price from reasonable to are you out of your f***ing mind!?

I guess the woman-doll still enchants little girls. Barbie wears beautiful clothes and owns an extensive wardrobe, has lots of pretty possessions, lives in her dream house (I toured it in Florida), has three attractive sisters, a long-time boyfriend and lots of good-looking girlfriends, her own TV show, and must make great money (salary and net worth never disclosed).
More than one Barbie, one Ken, and assorted accessories.

I bought a Barbie suitcase at a yard sale a couple of years ago for a dollar or two. It is filled with dolls (some Barbie, some not) and assorted clothes. My granddaughters find the best part of playing with the doll case is lugging it around, emptying and refilling it.

One day they might actually pay attention to the dolls and their distorted bodies, wondering why they (the real girls) look so different, and why the older girls and women around them do not look anything like Barbie, except maybe for the long blonde hair.

Meanwhile…Barbie lives on.

It is so difficult keeping up with the lives and loves of celebrities nowadays that I was unaware of the ups and downs of Barbie’s love life. I must have missed the People issues featuring her sensational news.

I had no idea Barbie and Ken broke up on Valentine’s Day 2004 following their 43-year courtship. But, in the spirit of soul mates linking forever, they reunited on Valentine’s Day 2011.

And will probably live happily ever after (plastic does not age or biodegrade and lasts an eternity). Barbie will retain her smooth face and hourglass figure forever.

There are numerous questions to contemplate concerning the future life and loves of this plastic doll (I never liked). (Answers may or may not appear in future People magazine articles).

Will Barbie and Ken make it to the altar or live apart forever, enjoying each other’s company but not engaging in the realities of married life?

Will they have children, either in or out of wedlock? (Although she is too old.)

Is Ken gay?

Will Barbie retire? Did she stay long enough at any job to qualify for a pension? Has she been saving for retirement?

Will enough Moms (grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends) eventually refuse to buy Barbie so Mattel stops making them?

Will Barbie ever gain weight?

Who buys the really expensive Barbies? And why?

Can any real woman have an 18” waist without wearing a tight-fitting contraption that women bound themselves in during the 19th century? (Except Scarlett O’Hara’s 17” corseted waist in Gone With the Wind – oh, wait, she was not real either).

Stay tuned…


  1. That 18-inch waist is one thing, but the 38-inch bust never sags, either. I never had one of these dolls, never even cared much about them, but they are certainly weirdly shaped. I enjoyed this plastic history very much, though. :-)

  2. Hmmm. I have two reactions. First, my B must be better than Barbie, 'cause she's one in a million! And the other thing: esteemed universities really wasted their time studying Barbie's measurements?