Just Some Thoughts On Barbie

I used to love playing with my Barbies. My sister and I would crack their little legs and put them on my mother’s spinning wheel. We would spin the wheel and they’d go flying across the room….good times. Our Barbies and Kens would go camping and swimming and ride in their cars and even on a planes.

When my little 6 1/2 year old niece began to show some interest in Barbie, I was excited. I looked forward to buying Barbie stuff for her.

Then I actually tried to buy Barbie clothes.

My choice of Barbie clothes at my local Target consisted of: ballgowns of various degrees of glitter, a set of very small, very shiny clubbing dresses, or a set with “play” clothes. This last was made up of short skirts, crop tops, high heels with leg warmers, and roller skates. That’s the set I got. At least it had roller skates.

I admit that I didn’t comparison shop, so I can’t tell you what Barbie wardrobe choices are available at other “big box” stores.  I’m assuming that the selection I saw was fairly typical.  And it made me kind of angry, if you want to know the truth.

The kid I was shopping for likes to go fishing with her father. She wants to ride a skateboard and play basketball. Where were Barbie’s sloppy jeans, for God’s sake? Where were t-shirts and sneakers? What does Barbie wear when she goes camping or swimming? Does she always wear Victoria’s Secret lingerie to bed? Can’t she wear a sleep shirt?

I’m being serious here. Because what if you’re a girl who doesn’t especially want to wear sparkly little dresses and ballgowns? And then there’s this doll that’s presented as what a girl should be. And this doll mirrors what you see on television for the most part. Won’t you think that you don’t want to be a girl? Or that you’re the wrong kind of girl?

And what if you are a girl who DOES like sparkly dresses – absolutely nothing wrong with a good sparkly dress. But if that’s the only thing you see Barbie do, then won’t you think that’s the only thing you can do? That it’s okay if you want to be a princess, but you’d better not want to be a physicist. And won’t you think there’s no way you can wear sparkly dresses AND be a physicist?

I don’t want to offend the Barbie lovers out there.  Maybe I’m just oversensitive because I want my niece to have all of the possibilities life can offer.  But I was sad, because I really did love my Barbies.  I’m sorry she’s become so limited in the years since I was a kid.


  1. I remember having barbies but I didn’t play much with them. Give me a good GI Joe and I was happy! Miss all American Tomboy at your service. 🙂 But you are right they should offer something besides girly girl glam. Didn’t they have clothes for diffident jobs a few years back? Like buisnesswoman Barbie or something?

    I know as a Tomboy the fancy dresses never called to me, must be why mine where usually naked. hmmm I will have to think about that.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Doris: The only career wear for Barbie at my local Target was “Princess” (always a good choice) or “Nurse”. Neither would have appealed. I really was just looking for a good pair of jeans and a t-shirt that Barbie could wear when she went camping. I have a feeling the clubbing dresses just wouldn’t have done it. I really got pretty angry about the whole thing. Where were the normal clothes? Sheesh.

      And I’m not going to comment on naked Barbies. My sister and I usually had our Kens waiting on our Barbies as servants. I’m not sure what that means either. LOL 😀

  2. Love It! and SOOO true! I know mom made some clothes for our Barbies, and I have tried to make some for your niece as well. Thing is, pants are really tough to make – so I’ve succeeded in making non-sparkly skirts!

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @sissy: Aren’t you glad I didn’t get the “princess” outfits? LOL I remember how Mom made Ken clothes and they didn’t fit because Ken was more muscley than we thought he would be. LOL 😀


  1. Toy Spending says:

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