What Barbie Really Represents

Tonight, my Facebook community alerted me to a deficit in Barbie world:

Mattel should put out a Barbie for little girls struggling with cancer – make her bald, dress her in pink, name her Hope and donate the proceeds to St. Jude

Why couldn’t I just Like, Share and move on?  Because of my life experience – and instead of just posting and being done, I came here, instead, to expand – 🙂

Agree – but had to share – Years ago, I made and sold Barbie clothes on eBay – a friend of mine became foster mom to two little girls who were refugees – I wanted to make a gift box for each with a doll/clothes.

At the time, I owned Barbies in a variety of skin color, facial features, could provide or produce all colors/textures/styles of hair,  had patterns for dress from different cultures/time periods/countries –

I asked her what I could do the girls would want – to my surprise, they chose blonde/white -with the 1950’s evening gowns, jewelry & fur wraps –  to them, the Barbie that has been criticized for her ‘supremacy issues’ actually represented the glamour they pictured  of American Girls and the hopes they had for their future – –

So while I support Barbies that represent some semblance of diversity and reality, I also learned that Barbie is to a little girl what a novel/movie is to adults – a chance to walk through a world different from what is known, a chance to dream of  what could be…

For me, I can make luxurious clothes, fancy gowns, custom jewelry and then dress another personage in a get-up I:

  • Can’t afford in real people’s size
  • Couldn’t walk in without tripping
  • Couldn’t wear without ripping out the waist

Did I post my response? No – – still can’t figure out to format responses with bullet points and a break in my long-arse ramblings –

Instead, I come here – You chose to follow and read this far – FB pals can click or not – – I’m all for democracy and free-choice…

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I confess – I portray myself as a no-nonsense, what’s-practical-and-sustainable, functional-first-pretty-if-possible,  type of gal…

But I have my cache of Barbies – my prized possession is the Princess of Ireland – her long, dark red hair –  oh-so-carefully dressed in a soft, moss-green gown of velour, with hand embroidered, in gold thread, embellishments – replete with a gold taffeta underskirt and hand made muslin & lace undergarments –

Barbie may be an icon, but her factory bestowed threads do not do her justice.

And, she rarely comes outfitted with proper underthings that cover modesty or the period/culture of dress.

I also custom outfitted my first Silkstone Barbie.

(given to me as a Christmas present from my brother, who chided, “Christmas is for FUN!  How is a grain grinder fun?!?”)

She wears a hand made, grey, silk sheath with seed pearl embroidery and embellished shoes and jewelry to match – about killed my eyes and ruined my fingers with the beading needle getting her decked out, but it was worth it.

Ms. Silkstone could give Audrey Hepburn a run for her money.

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I still add a “Scarlett O’Hara” Barbie doll to my Christmas list every year.   Someday, I shall receive this prized possession – -and I don’t want every model – just one – I own the book, the movie and can recreate every dress Scarlett wore – just give me the doll with the jet-black hair, green eyes like a cat and dimples that sent young bucks in three counties wild every time she smiled –  I can clothe and dress her in the manner befitting…

And, since she’s made as in the image of  Barbie, no worries her famed 16″ waist won’t be accurately portrayed….

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Why don’t I just buy my own doll?

  • I don’t earn my living from making Barbie clothes anymore – no write-off for ‘business expenses’ –
  • A slew of Life surprises, financial chaos and social responsibility moments these past few years have taught me not to buy unless I need
  • I trust that the patron goddess of Barbie and Scarlett O’Hara World is looking out for me – she’ll take care of it – I need only wait…

I like to think of this saint as “St. Dreamaria – Patron Goddess of those who believe Wishes Come True”

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Barbie lives the life I sometimes dream about, but have no real desire to actually work or scheme for  – she always has her own stuff and easy access to anything Ken owns.   She can do anything she wants and never lacks capital to open her own grocery store, hospital or pet clinic.

She’s social & civic minded as she dons her cheer leader skirt, her business outfit or teaches a schoolroom full of Kelly’s friends.

She donates time and money to a variety of causes and no matter what you say about or to her, she always smiles and gives a wave fit for a Rodeo Queen, Miss America or Queen – how can you not admire her graciousness in the face of those who despise her?

Even though it’s not widely advertised, she also hangs out with G.I. Joe and Batman, drives their cool vehicles and engages in high intrigue at times…

I’ve witnessed Barbie as Gi Joe’s go-to, James Bond’s match & the Mission Impossible quest in my own living room, when Master Chief swore they needed a girl on the team who knew how to fire a rocket launcher – – yes, I know, we’re mixing and matching characters, but hey! who am I to poo-poo someone else’s storyline?

MY Barbies have lived in Lego masterpieces, brandished light sabers and, upon occasion, have covered their eyes and sobbed as their friends fell victim to the friendly fire of Nerf guns.  But she always comes up smiling no matter what the dictators of the World of 6 year old boys comes up with…)

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We all have our weaknesses – our ‘go-to’ when we need to take a break and some self-medication for our pains, our fears or the reality of  a today that seems too harsh to deal with –

First project on my “After I retire” list is – “dedicate one room in the house to building a to-scale model of a pre-Civil War plantation home and fill it with dolls dressed in style…

Not because that actual period is one of the highest points in the history of mankind – but because I just can’t resist making the beautiful, mile-wide hoop-skirted dresses for my Barbies to flounce around in -who can resist trying to pique the interest of  Rhett Butler- a man who swears he is a scoundrel, yet cares just the same?

And who else, pray tell, will keep the mill houses of England open if no one is ordering 12 yards of material for one dress? (perish the thought of brushing by flickering, flaming candles or falling into any body of water deeper than a few inches…)

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Mattel – Please fashion our new Barbie, Hope –

Create her in the beauty of bald, package her with an array of wigs in every hair color, texture and style –  I’ll make sure she is front and center stage in a ball room that will span the entire 3rd floor of my Georgia Column doll house – she’ll have her own room with a canopy bed on the second floor and I’ll make her a beautiful pink dress that’ll bring tears to your eyes…

And while you’re at it, could you include Mammy and Melanie dolls in my order?  Because Scarlett couldn’t have made it without their own brand of hope….

P.S. Sorry no pics – they are permanently locked in the dead computer in my storage room that I hope to someday retrieve files from – and my beautiful Barbies are lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, and stored in a rodent-proof container, awaiting the day when I can once again give them their proper place in my home….  Retirement can’t come soon enough….

UPDATE: 11/06/14 – The child-unit and I discussed needs vs. wants – dreams and passions vs. mindless consumerism – and placed our amazon.com order for those things that we just want, but aren’t necessities for each other for Christmas – He gets a pre-ordered copy of the Halo Master Chief collection – I get Scarlett and Rhett Dolls for the 75th Gone with the Wind Barbie collectibles – Why?  Because he admits that others think he is not a ‘halo die-hard’ because he doesn’t stay up for 72 hours straight playing – but he has loved the world of Halo and as been playing since he was 3 years old (even if his brother wasn’t fully honest about what the help tips on-screen dialogue Really said)

Me?  Plenty to choose from, but I chose the 75th anniversary Scarlett that was donned in her “red, flamin’ whore of community’ dress – why?  Her facial expression didn’t mimic Barbie’s standard, “Hey! Ain’t life great and let’s all go to the beach and dance” smile – it held a smile, tempered by an eye expression of, “How do ya do?  I’m up for being friends, but first sign you f**k with me or my family, I’ve killed someone and ain’t afraid to do it again…..)

Mattel – sorry if you didn’t plan on your mold portraying all that – but…. there is honor is taking care of ones own – there are bumps in the night that many have never experienced – and hopefully never shall – but I chose based on the model that spoke to me – thanks for not just recasting your Brunette Barbie HS Cheerleader as Scarlett O’Hara – I appreciate it.”

This holiday season, my son and I are celebrating that we can purchase ‘wants’ instead of ‘needs.’ I hope you and yours have the same luxury and if not, I hope that your time to do so comes about very soon…..

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4 thoughts on “What Barbie Really Represents”

  1. Barbie’s rule… Loved my one and only… I had home made dress bits and bobs.. And 3 other girls on our street had Barbies we each had the same wooden carry dolls house ( Not a Barbie one ) so we would in the Summer take our Houses to line them up and play with Barbies.. Hours of fun..

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    1. Most of my years of ‘playing’ with Barbie was less playing with her and more building her many a house out of cardboard boxes, foam furniture, etc. Had more fun making for her than playing with, but have to say the wooden doll houses sound so much more attractive than the awful pink monstrosities that have saturated the market for years! 🙂

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