In Defense of Barbie

From as far back as I can remember, I had a great love for Barbie. I didn’t grow up thinking I’d look like Barbie (though I did hope for her boobs and wish my feet were as tiny as hers).

My Love for Babs

It’s Not Just about the Blonde

When I was 4 or so, I had this Midge doll who was my absolute favorite. Midge had hair the color of rust, beautiful green eyes, red lips and freckles. Her skin was slightly tanned and her face was made of a harder plastic than most of my other Barbies. I thought she was perfect. The Ken doll I paired her with was before they made Ken’s neck as mobile as Barbie’s so inevitably the make out sessions between them cracked her neck. (Which if you had Barbies was incredibly devastating because you’d have to shove her head on her neck and they were just never the same after that.)

Other Dolls Didn’t Compare

I was obsessed with Jem and the Holograms and was so excited when they made a Jem doll … and then I got one. Since I didn’t end up getting any of the Holograms or even the Misfits I had to integrate her into my Barbie set up. Jem was almost the size of Ken. She had broad shoulders and big feet. She didn’t fit into any of Barbie’s clothes and most definitely not her shoes. I was pretty pissed at the toy company for making Jem an outcast amongst my Barbies, I mean they really wanted to like her but she didn’t fit in, like literally. She was too tall for the Dream House doors and didn’t fit in the seats of the Pink Corvette.

Now when they made the Disney characters as dolls I was thrilled. Then again I’m pretty sure they were made by Mattel (the company who created Barbie).

I Would Have Done Most Anything for a New Barbie

“Hey Chrystal, will you do your impression of the Jackalope for America’s Funniest People?”

Hell no.

“I’ll buy you a Barbie…”

Where’s the camera!?!?!

I also had a strategy for other girls’ birthday parties. I would get them the absolute most beautiful Barbie they had in the aisle. The one that I wanted myself, hoping that when my time came around they’d return the favor. (They never did—I always got some dumb toy or game that I didn’t want.)

Why I Eye Roll at “Normal” Barbie

While yes, I’m all about body love and body diversity, “normal” Barbie kind of pisses me off. Like, where does this guy get off deciding what’s normal? And if you’re going to do one body type, why not do them all?

I’ll admit the acne stickers would have been awesome to plant on Skipper before her big date (I used the zits from the game Girl Talk instead) and the bruises could have come in handy as well but let’s be real here: If you’re trying to be politically correct, you’re kind of sucking at it.

We asked our readers on Instagram their thoughts on Miss “Normal” and no one was overly impressed.

@boredwithbeauty: I feel like we’re all so diverse that we can’t call anything “normal.” What about girls who don’t look like “normal” Barbie? We need to stop with the labeling and stop with the pointing fingers at Barbie for female body issues. She’s just a doll. Why aren’t GI Joe and action figures given the same treatment?

@gypsykitty415: Make all shapes and colors then call them allll normal.

@sarahdetierney: I don’t like “normal” Barbie. Majority of men don’t have the GI Joe physique and you don’t see the boys getting pissed about it…

@raegarific: While it’s great to give dolls more diversity we shouldn’t call one particular type “normal.”

@L0veleeb: Load of Crap. I feel like the walls of the box are just being lifted higher and painted differently to say we’re “not” boxing anyone.

@marlenamerkt: We’ve become so nit-picky it’s ridiculous. I loved Barbie as a little girl. To me, she was a boss bitch that did anything she wanted…Why aren’t we teaching our girls to be fierce creatures? Creating “normal” Barbie (which still looks nothing like most of us) is still putting way too much focus on appearance …

@lexiivictoria: I certainly don’t look like “normal” Barbie. I’m a double zero and while I respect the trend of body acceptance, I hope one day we relate it to all body types instead of shaming thin women for being “too skinny” in other people’s eyes. My opinion on “normal” Barbie: she’s not any less normal than the Barbies I had when I was a little 3 year old girl.

Barbie is a Badass

Um, have you met her? Despite her improper proportions Barbie has had just about every career under the sun. It’s called the BARBIE Dream House, not the Ken Dream House. Hell, she even kicked him to the curb and divorced him, proving that while she was capable of love, she didn’t need a man to be whole. Aside from all her career success and being Ken’s main chick, Barbie has been a mother, a big sister and a friend. She even became a grannie when they made a version of her with a silver streak in her hair.

Barbie in a way has been every woman and there’s a little bit of every woman in Barbie. Maybe we could never look like her because her proportions are unattainable, but Barbie has shown us that chicks can do anything, and that’s the real message I took away from my childhood with her. If Barbie can do it, so can I.

And so can you.

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Chrystal Rose
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