Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm a Barbie Girl

The girl looks pretty good for 50, doesn't she?

I've never been one to put my age out there, but there are no secrets left when I say that I had an original Barbie when I was eight years old. Barbie was my best friend, my playmate, my cool much older sister who already knew all the answers to questions I hadn't even formed yet.

So of course I'm excited to see her reach this milestone. And still be so cool. I don't know where my Barbie is. I remember giving some things to my best friend's little sister when I was in high school. Julie Hartley, if you have my Barbie....I want her back!!

I do still have my original Midge, though. And here she is:

In the early days, when you would purchase a Barbie fashion, you would receive with it a little catalogue showing you all the other wonderful outfits that were available for the girls. I found one of my old booklets in which I'd marked each page with a check or an X so that Santa would know which ones to bring me. This one was always one of my favorites:

It's called "Solo in the Spotlight." Yes, each outfit had a name. Of course it did. Why not? That's a reproduction in the picture, although I do still have my slinky black evening gown from the fifties. It's not quite as fresh as that one, but it still fits.

Certainly there are detractors who say that Barbie is bad for little girls. She represents an idealistic body shape that no woman can ever achieve. She objectifies women. She stereotypes little girls.

That's simply not true.

I adored Barbie - still do - but I also played with trucks and trains and guns - yes, guns! I played baseball, basketball and football with all the boys in the neighborhood. I don't have a body like Barbie's. I don't expect to. I'm very comfortable with the one I have.

Playing with Barbie and Midge was the beginning of my life as a writer. Oh, the stories we would star in! We could travel the world - properly accessorized, of course - without ever leaving the corner of my bedroom. We were spies. We were cowboys. We were doctors and zookeepers. Each day we spun a new tale.

And we never needed Ken. I was not interested. Completely bored with the possibility. What fun would it be to dress him? All he had were trousers and shirts. How mundane.

Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I can type a few keys and find all the Vintage Barbie fashions for sale. Some at a perfectly reasonable price. I'm slowly amassing the wardrobe I didn't have for my Barbie when I was eight. It's fun.

You've got to give the old girl credit. She looks pretty good for fifty, doesn't she? I wish I would be around to see how she looks at one hundred. Maybe my great-great-granddaughter will have one.

Take good care of your toys. And they will take care of you.

Have a great weekend!


Mark Wolfgang said...

I'm still guarding a Donald Duck string puppet with my life. I'm hoping it's my retirement fund, when WD buys it for their archives. Or maybe the Smithsonian. I foresee a bidding war. I also had a Zippy the chimp doll, and.... OK, swear you won't tell... a doll I called Susie. --Anon

Susan Cody said...

Mark! You have a doll you named after me??? I'm so flattered!

Hey, let me hold that DD puppet for you.