Squawk Radio

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lisa defends Barbie

The other day, my five year old daughter asked plaintively : “Mommy, why don’t you dress like Barbie?”

She has discovered Barbie in a big way. No transitional period whatsoever, just went straight from “Dora the Explorer” to Barbie. When we’re in Target, the flash of a hot pink Barbie label will draw my daughter like a hungry killer whale after a wounded penguin.

As a little girl, I fell in love with Barbie too. As a mom trying to impart solid values to her daughter, I am somewhat disconcerted. Let’s face the unpleasant facts : if Barbie were human, she would be 5 foot 9 with measurements of 39-18-33. Her feet would be size three, too small to allow her to walk upright.

And there’s her fashion sense . . . yes, sometimes Barbie gets it right, when designers like Escada or Ralph Lauren dress her. For example :

Or here’s what Ralph did for her:

But leave Barbie to her own devices and she picks an outfit like this:

Barbie, honey, you’re a little past the age to be fronting a band and trying out the rocker look. Take it from me, after thirty you should stick to the classics.

But you’ve got to give Barbie credit for something--she’s always on the move, and she’s a hard worker. She’s been an astronaut, a doctor, she even ran for office. She works a heck of a lot harder than Ken. Which leads me to the next defense of Barbie : this thing she had with Blaine. Yes, she broke up with Ken and went out with Australian surfer boy Blaine for a couple of years. But for God’s sake, can you blame her? Look at what she had to choose from :



(Ken, you should have seen this one coming. You never wanted to take Barbie out to new restaurants. You wanted to stay home all the time and watch the tube. I mean, come one, Ken, it’s not enough just to have bendable legs. And you hadn’t changed your look in years except for that brief Mod Hair period, which frankly wasn’t working. You’re just not the Moondoggie type.)

So yes, Barbie stepped out on Ken. But it turned out to be the best thing for him. Ken sulked for a while but then he started working out and got buff, with a more heavily muscled torso, a thicker waist, and a hipper wardrobe. Now that he’s loosened up a little, he’s a lot more fun to be with. He’s even got a couple of new looks : Beach Fun Ken and Tough Guy Ken.

Is it any wonder Barbie ditched Blaine and went back to Ken? But she was right not to settle for Ken as he was. She deserved a man who was willing to improve himself.

Now look at the happy couple :

Upon reflection, I’ve decided to loosen up, too. I think my daughter can have real role models, and also enjoy playing with Totally Hair Barbie. My child is carrying a lunch box filled with Barbie clothes and accessories, but someday she will be a grown woman carrying a briefcase and a laptop, or an infant in a baby sling, or possibly all of those things at the same time. Barbie won’t get in her way.

In fact, Barbie will probably be copying her outfit.

So confess . . . did you love Barbie when you were little? Or did you pull her head off and go outside to play baseball? Or both?
Lisa Kleypas, 10:51 AM