Sunday, May 28, 2006

Barbie Has Underpants!

Among the many, many, many, whole lotta, many, many gifts S. received for her birthday (did I mention she received a lot of gifts?) was Veterinarian Barbie.

I find this amusing on a number of levels. For starters, this is the child who has NEVER played with a doll so far as I know. In fact, one day she brought her Angelina Ballerina stuffed toy mouse up to me and asked, ‘So, Momma, how do you play with this?’ The Barbie gift-giver is aware of S’s tomboyish tendencies, and offered to let us exchange Barbie for another gift. I thanked her and said, that I didn’t mind encouraging S. to at least explore some of the feminine side of toydom, and besides, S. loved the little puppy and kitty that came with Barbie. How could I deny my little boy, uh, girl, that?

The end result is that we now own a newer-style Barbie. At first glance, I thought Barbie’s head looked just a little too big compared to my memories of my own long-lost childhood Barbie dolls (my mother hates Barbie, and I’ve never exactly been fond of her, but even I owned a couple of Barbie dolls in my time). After studying said veterinarian Barbie (which could only be done after removing 342 twist-ties and getting some sewing scissors to hack her hair out of the packaging, why do they SEW toys to their packaging anyway?) for a bit, it dawned on me that Barbie’s head was unchanged. Her bust line and hips had shrunk since I last played with her. In addition to the changes in her proportions, I also noticed that the base of Barbie’s molded plastic torso was altered so that Barbie has perma-panties.

That’s right, folks, Barbie now has permanent bikini-style underpants to go with her more boyish figure. It is hysterical that in a day and age when kids regularly run around in clothing that shows ample cleavage and butt-cra… er, floss, Barbie can no longer go commando.

We may have graphic and near-pornographic video games for our kids to play, but Barbie is now more modestly attired and proportioned that she was when she first hit the toy scene back in 1959 (yes, I looked that up, I’m an analyst for crying out loud). After the Bratz phenomena, I’m beginning to develop an appreciation for Barbie’s new and improved image. Instead of a mere party-girl, Barbie is a teacher, a doctor, a vet, and who knows what all. As a career girl, I can get behind that, even if I don’t have perma-panties.


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