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Happy birthday, grrl


March 9 is Barbie’s birthday. She’s 57. Lookin’ good (but psssst…I think she’s had some work done).

I suppose you’ve seen the new Fat Barbie. Time magazine did a cover issue on her (subscriber only, but here’s the relevant bit repeated in Slate):

Dockterman watched unattended little girls playing with the doll, presumably through some kind of two-way mirror. In one session, for the pleasure of her peers, a 6-year-old speaks as if she’s the curvy doll. Here’s what she says: “Hello, I’m a fat person, fat, fat, fat.” Later, when an adult arrives, she calls the doll “a little chubbier.” Another child says she doesn’t want to hurt that Barbie’s feelings, so she spells it: “F-A-T.” A Mattel research head told Dockterman that, when adults weren’t in the room, focus-group girls often undressed the curvy dolls and laughed at them.

Of course, Slate being Slate, the message they took away was ZOMG this is why we need curvy Barbie, not don’t use toys for propagandizing; kids see right through you.

I was never much into Barbie qua Barbie, but I absolutely adored miniatures. All those tiny coke bottles and appliances and costumes and sidearms (wait, no…that was GI Joe. Loved his stuff, too). I could not get enough accessories. And, if you recall, you could buy costumes in complete packages, with more tiny thingumbobs.

More Barbie magic: the very first Barbie commercial, 1959; how to make your own zombie Barbie; twenty disturbing special edition Barbies (Tippi-Hedren-pecked-to-death-by-birds Barbie is a must have; reminder that these Barbies are aimed at adult collectors); talking Barbie apparently says “WTF?” over and over. I hear you, girl.


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 9, 2016, 11:20 pm

She has a very nice smile, at first glance, but then it begins to look a little forced. Then it becomes sinister, and those eyes, like dolls eyes. With animation you might think of Chuckie, and with the right background music. . .

Comment from mojo
Time: March 9, 2016, 11:46 pm

Curse like a Sailor Moon Barbie?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 9, 2016, 11:52 pm

For god’s sake hit the link to the special edition Barbies. I’m sittin’ here wheezing with laughter.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 10, 2016, 1:14 am

I thought the empress of aliens was the Elvira Barbie at first glance.

There was a youtube video offered up at another blog that was a behind the scenes documentary of a Kate Upton Sports Illustrated photo shoot. Of course I was intrigued. By the end of the video I was thinking the make up artist, the second assistant swim suit wrangler, the hair stylist, and assorted staff, crew, and assistants all were acting just like they were playing with a Barbie Doll, with MS. Upton being the Barbie Doll.

Weird behavior for adults, I thought. Yes, I understand the attention to detail, to get every detail just right. Yes, I understand the nature of the business, the expense of on location shooting, and the money to be made, big money.

It still looked, to me, like they were playing with a real life Barbie Doll.

Comment from Bob
Time: March 10, 2016, 1:49 am

I suppose next they’ll have Cait Jenner Barbie. Ugh.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 10, 2016, 3:54 am

Bob, there was a Bruce Jenner doll, in his Olympic gear. It’s probably worth a lot of money now.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 10, 2016, 4:19 am

As the youngest of three daughters, I ended up with a lot of hand-me-downs, including dolls. My family didn’t get a TV until 1960 (and then it was only one channel!). So by the time I learned about Barbie, I was eight and sooo over dolls. I was willing to play dolls with other girls, but I really wanted to be building model airplanes, or radios with a Heath kit. If only Barbie had come with a Cessna …

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: March 10, 2016, 1:08 pm

I didn’t know where to put this, but first ever footage of a wolverine kit:


All things mustelid

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 10, 2016, 1:58 pm

Bob, when you wrote “wolverine kit,” I thought you meant a plastic assembly kit! That would have been awesome. In the ’50s and ’60s Revell Corp. had two kits, a puppy and a kitten, that you could assemble and then apply included flocking to make them look as if they had fur. That’d be a challenge on a wolverine model, though.

The “Mad Men” Barbie looks perfectly normal to my eyes. Barbie first was launched during that period, remember. So does the Tippi Hedren Barbie, since that movie was from 1963.

Remember the Barbie mantra: “I wanna be Barbie. That bitch has everything!”

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 10, 2016, 3:56 pm

@Wolfus Aurelius—The “Mad Men” Barbie looks perfectly normal to my eyes. Ah. Barbie Betty Draper’s dress is spot on. And Barbie’s wardrobe was always au courant, with countless extras, as Stoaty mentioned. I seem to recall a genuine mink stole.

Comment from Greg
Time: March 10, 2016, 5:56 pm

I have the unopened, mint condition Spongebob Squarepants Barbie, the most bizarre piece of cross-marketing I’ve ever seen (Barbie LOVES SB!); it’ll be worth a fortune someday. I’m still looking for the trailer trash Barbie, the crack whore Barbie, and the biker slut Barbie.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 10, 2016, 6:07 pm

Comment from Greg
Time: March 10, 2016, 5:56 pm

. . .I’m still looking for the trailer trash Barbie . . .
I was once married to one, so I’d pass on a miniature of her. (Well, maybe she wasn’t real trailer trash, but only a few steps up. . . .)

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