Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie Millicent Roberts

Today it's official, Barbie turns Fifty
So happy birthday to a fashion icon and a former young girls role model!

I remember when my Mom gave me my first Barbie in 1959. She was the "Teen Barbie" the first in the series and she came dressed in a black and white stripped, strapless bathing suit that was held up by her gigantic perky boobs( to me they were gigantic, mine were tiny little nubs)

When not sunbathing, Barbie also could wear her long black formal mermaid dress ,with a bow down on the ruffle. Great outfit for grocery shopping and cleaning the toilet.

I really loved her high heeled stilettos, almost the same as my mom's 3 inch heals that I was always trying to walk in. I think that I have a "thing" for shoes....thank goodness I can't really walk in heels.... saves me a lot of money!

Then in 1962, Mattel came out with a brunette, bubble haired Barbie, very sixties, she came with a beautiful long gown with a white mink stole, so glamorous.
By 1967, Barbie was able to twist and turn, and bend at the waist and legs, she had long red hair and came with a two piece bathing suit,(very sexy) a cover up and a hot pink go go dress.
In 1971 (the year that I got married) Malibu Barbie came on the scene . She had a deep suntan, bathing suit with a see through cover up and a lemon yellow disco dress .

I was hoping to have children at some point and I thought maybe a little girl would be one of them. After two beautiful little boys, Julie arrived .

For Julie's 3rd birthday, I went out and bought a Malibu Barbie with the pink car. I had also saved my original Barbie dolls and I gave them to Julie also.. She never really played with the dolls much, she preferred playing with her brothers, and what ever they were doing. So Barbie quickly fell our of favor and ended up at the bottom of her toy box . She had other dolls... but mostly just liked playing with her brothers and to be outside.

A few years after I saw the Barbie dolls at the bottom of the toy box , I found them hanging by their necks in a tree with G.I. Joe !
It was so cute really, a little painful, but cute!

Barbie and I were born in the same decade and she was, for many years, a sort of role model for me and to many other girls.too. She was what I thought, being a grown up was all about! I was so naive!

Then the late sixties happened and I forgot about Barbie's perfect body and her perfect life. I now wanted to be a flower child , materialism was gone and peace and love filled my head. No time to wonder what I would be like when I was a grown-up. I already thought I was a grown up, away at college and in love!

Of course, we see now, the image that Barbie represented was so unrealistic and unachievable by most young women. The feelings of not being good enough, pretty enough, rich enough seemed to color our own perception of ourselves!

So what do you the Barbie's image worth having these days or is that image really a curse?

Do people look at pretty people and automatically think "air head"?


  1. I'm afraid I feel that Barbie is just a reflection of some of our very shallow standards over the years. I was long past playing with dolls before Barbie came along. When I played with them I always had baby dolls -- four of them because I loved the idea of a big family, of having brothers and sisters. My girls were never really interested in dolls -- again, they had two little brothers. It's all interesting though isn't it?

  2. Oh, I think girls and TV does way more damage to a girl's ego than barbie ever could.

  3. Sylvia;
    I didn't have a lot of baby dolls growing up, but I did have dolls, and stuffed animals ...I always liked building things with blocks, i could do that for hours.
    I think you're right,TV, movies,and other girls can do great damage to a girl's ego!
    Hope you're feeling better!

  4. I remember when Malibu Barbie came out, and she was my Christmas present that year--I don't remember ever wanting to be *like* her; I just played with her and did a whole lot of pretending and made her do a lot of horse-riding (was often angry that one of her legs would pop off whenever I forced her onto the horse--she kept on smiling). She lost her shoes soon after I got her and then I cut her hair off for some forgotten reason. Poor ol' Barbie, she went through a lot with me! I wonder whatever happened to her, LOL

    "Santa" gave my little daughter a princess Barbie in a blue dress for Christmas; she LOVES Barbie...I think because she can hang onto her skinny body more easily than other toys?! I don't think a single toy can do any real damage psychologically; it's all about balance. Maybe Barbie's not the best role model around, but she's still a great toy. At least she doesn't smoke crack and beat up her friends like other "role models" in our kids lives are doing.

    Anyhow, Peggy, a very long-winded comment here for you but I did want to say how much I enjoyed reading about you passing your toys down to your daughter, and Barbie's 'further adventures' with her. So sweet, and funny!

    Happy Birthday Barbie!!

  5. I remember having a Barbie and a Francie doll. I actually like Francie better because she was blonde. Barbie was only a brunette back then! I loved all the dresses for Barbie, but those darned high heels never stayed on. Thanks for the memories!

  6. I never had a Barbie growing up. I think we were too poor. Then again, with my poor memory, who knows? I do know I didn't have a Barbie though.

    However, I did buy Barbies for Tiffany and even sewed clothes for her. Hmmmm.... do you suppose that's why Tif is so clothes concious? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

  7. I don't think that I ever had a Barbie doll...was there a Revlon doll? I really enjoyed the timeline of your life and interests. We had stages in common.

  8. I never realized that my mother and Barbie had the same birthday. My first doll like that wasn't a Barbie but a Babette doll. We couldn't afford a Barbie. I was jealous of my aunt (4 years older) who had one and I didn't.


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