Barbie Girl

Opinions - January 6th, 2010

“I’m a Barbie girl in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation”


I think just about every girl remembers her Barbie collection. Mine included Peaches ‘n’ Cream Barbie, with her sparkling bodice and peach-colored ball gown, Wild West Barbie who winked a big eyelid of Blue eye shadow at you if you pressed a button in her back (kind of slutty now when I think of it), Barbie and the Rockers that came with a cassette tape I loved none other than rocking out to of course, a Ken doll in black leather pants whose legs could not bend and whose body would only turn from the waist, and a Barbie horse,with a long bushy tail I promptly cut right off. I even had the big yellow campervan and pink Barbie-licious convertible car that came complete with a Barbie-sized, brick-style car phone. She was so fashion forward and tech savvy for 1985.

The fact that Barbie is still going strong demonstrates that imagination is definitely Mattel’s creation. And going into Kiddyland last weekend, I could not believe just how much this doll has done since 1988, the last time I really took proper notice of her. Head up to the top level of the store to take it all in. Celebrating 50 years of Barbie, Mattel has released a number of limited-edition Barbie dolls paying homage to an array of iconic and influential ladies of the past 50 years—Hollywood legends, characters and fashionistas such as Marilyn Monroe, Rizzo from Grease and Heidi Klum have all been Barbie-cized. Although Barbie actually turned 50 in 2009, Kiddyland doesn’t seem to care and is reveling in its own Barbie World. With collector dolls ranging from ¥5,000 to nearly ¥30,000, it is easy to understand how Barbie really has inspired a “generations of dreams,” with the little girl in me getting excited, hopeful and nostalgic all at once upon seeing the shelves decked out in all things Barbie.

Although I was not in the market for one, it was incredible to think just how much work has gone into Barbie, herself now an iconic and influential figure, to keep her plastic fantastic. I wonder what is in store for her over the next 50 years?