Barbie Is Back

Written by Mary K. Moore

Barbie is back. But this time, it’s not your benign girlhood companion that couldn’t even bend at the knee. Thanks to the savvy folks at Mattel, Barbie is now animated–and not only has use of her knees but can bring parents to theirs with an array of insipid movies that would make even Elle Woods wince. Specifically, on-screen Barbie has attitude. (“Even though it’s crazy ridiculous, it’s majorly real!”)

And little girls love it. But Barbie isn’t without blonde ambition. When she’s not dabbling as a ballerina or the latest incarnation of a mermaid, Barbie teaches girls they “can be”…so long as you’re a vet, bride or pizza chef. (The Barbie condo comes complete with a reinforced glass ceiling. Soul sold separately.)

Aspiring to be more than Barbie aspires to be.

In her latest vocational pursuit, Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, Barbie hits Paris, along with her scarily anthropomorphised poodle Sequin, and turns designer in order to save her Aunt Millicent’s fashion house. Dreams and glitter ensue. We asked Scarlett, age 5, an avid Barbie collector and daughter of Smatter contributor Mary K. Moore, to lay out a defense for her plastic heroine with a review of her latest European adventure. The resulting mother-daughter debate can only be described as Ooh la la!

In Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, after Barbie is fired from a movie and loses her boyfriend, Barbie’s friend Grace sagely suggests she go to a place where she can feel good about herself “like Melrose for mani-pedis and ice blendeds.”  What do you think those are?

Scarlett: They’re drinks. Hawaii drinks.

Instead Barbie decides to go to Paris. Why did she go there?

Scarlett: She had a lot of problems. Ken broke up with her, she was fired…When you’re fired, you lose your job. But there’s something fun about being fired because then you’re on vacation.

Barbie has a lot of jobs. Do you think she went to college?

Scarlett: She has a lot of college. That’s how she’s an animal doctor, bride and pizza chef. But wait, bride is not a job. Just “x” out what I said about the bride and put surfer.

So how is Barbie a fashion designer all of the sudden? I thought she was an actor.

Scarlett: She has help from the Flairies, Shimmer, Glimmer and Shine. They glitterize dresses and transform them.

Do you worry that the Flairies are unpaid labor?

Scarlett: No, they just came to life in the fashion house. They don’t have a job. They’re Flairies!

Did you notice they were in Paris but everyone spoke English all the time? What’s that about?

Scarlett: How else are we supposed to know what they are saying? Did you notice they had little accents?

Touché. What do you think Barbie’s message is to young girls in this movie?

Scarlett: Thanks for buying my DVD.

That we can agree on. So what happens in the end?

Scarlett: Barbie learns about friendship and how to be true. And Barbie is not going to be sad anymore. The break up is over at the end. Ken only dates dates girls with blue eyes anyway.

Is Ken an Aryan?

Scarlett: I don’t think so. Wait, yes he is. You are, too.

You mean an Aries.

Scarlett: Yes.

What do you think the recent FBI warnings about Barbie Video Girl are about? (The FBI issued a concern that the camera-doll could facilitate child pornography.)

Scarlett: Never go in the water with it or it loses its video power and never let a dog chew it. Are you a panda?

No. Why?

Scarlett: Because you ask a lot of questions. And they’re curious. Are you going to put this on Facebook?

Yes, I think The Smatter will link it.

Scarlett: What’s The Smatter?

It’s a website with funny and interesting stuff on it.

Scarlett: Okay. Just make sure they know this is one of the interesting ones and not one of the funny ones.

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58 thoughts on “Barbie Is Back

  1. This is great. I’ve been thinking about doing a vlog interviewing Baby Girl about the recent announcement from Disney that there will be no more fairy tale movies (i.e., no more movies marketed to girls).

  2. Oh. My. GOD! I died when reading her request for you to x-out bride and replace with surfer…AWESOME!

    I recently learned there’s an entire Barbie channel on my TV line-up. Needless to say, I’ve “parent blocked” that one…

    Great post! 🙂

  3. I think there is something wrong with me — I never went through a stage where I liked Barbie or other dolls. Maybe I always felt deep down inside that Barbie was a threat to my Blondness? Ok, I need counseling.

    Great post!

    Blessongs –

    Ava
    xox

  4. I have a 5-year-old who loves Barbie, and this sounds like an interview we might have. I loved reading it. Great idea.

    I hate the movies, hate them all, but you can’t tell a 5-year-old her heroine’s creators must have been on crack. My parents let me watch Alice in Wonderland, so, we’re square.

  5. hullo

    i Love the fact that you say “Barbie teaches girls they “can be”…so long as you’re a vet, bride or pizza chef”. it reminds me of the movie LIFE SIZE with Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan – have you seen it?

    cute discussion between mother and daughter.

  6. I used to be obsessed with Barbies when growing up. I had at least a million. (OK, read: 25) and back in the 70s they all looke dpretty much identical…lol… blond hair and blue eyes. Barbie workd has evolved so much since then…:o)

  7. This is great. My weasels have acquired Barbies over the years, not through requests but as a result of “My kids are done with these, you have girls, you take ’em.” or the un-asked for birthday gift. They’re scornful of the movies, though we have several now. They were always more interested in the animal companions than Barbie herself. Most bile is reserved for the tv commercials, especially Barbie’s pink mansion, which has a toilet that really flushes. For some reason my weasels find the idea of a doll toilet hysterical.
    http://www.dtrasler.com

  8. Wow! That’s what’s so wonderful about children- they tell it exactly how they see it, without the fear of judgement. I considered buying the Barbie Fashion Fairytale DVD and matching doll for my niece this Christmas, but after reading several reviews about the negative messages the movie sends, I decided against it (she’s only 4 yrs old).Thanks for your darling and enlightening interview. It’s proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  9. Sounds just like a conversation with my daughter (also 5) who wants to be a Musketeer because of…you guessed it, Barbie and her three Musketeer friends. She wants me to drive her to Paris every day for her Musketeer work when she grows up. Shouldn’t be too hard of a commute across the ocean 😉
    Loved this post, thanks.

  10. Wow, how telling… “from the mouths of babes”…lol. My little brown girl was given a barbie once, and I snuck it to the garbage can before she had a chance to see it. Nothing against the tall blue-eyed blonde, but nothing about this doll reflects the beauty of my little one. Scarlett has caught on, “Ken only dates girls with blue eyes anyway.”
    Great post, makes one think.
    Asante http://www.BlissBellyKitchen.wordpress.com

  11. ROFLMAO! Out of the mouth of babes! She is a hoot! All hail Scarlett! Ah, to be young again!

    I still love Barbie! I get sad when I go to a garage sale and see a nekked one on a table or something. I feel compelled to buy it and make an outfit for it. Just my weirdness.

    Ok, so Barbie’s an actor, gets fired. Where the hell is her agent? Ken is gay anyway, right?

    This was great! One of the best blog posts I’ve read in a long time!

  12. Too funny! She really tells it like it is, doesn’t she! Good luck there, you should have your hands full for another 20 years! Ha, ha, ha! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    evelyngarone.com

  13. “How else are we supposed to know what they are saying? Did you notice they had little accents?” That is one quick-witted child. She doesn’t miss a beat, does she?
    I also love the part where she says “Thanks for buying my DVD” is Barbie’s message from the movie! Priceless.

    This is why Art Linkletter’s show “Kids Say the Darnedest Things” was so popular–back in the day.

  14. Mattel may sell books and movies to give the doll a certain image, but the doll is ultimately what the girl playing with her makes her. I never really understood why they made Barbie books and Barbie videos. Money is the only reason. A doll is the character a girl makes her. And most of mine never would have gotten a mani-pedi. Life was more fun that way.

  15. That is adorable! Barbies are just too, too much these days. I was out Christmas shopping yesterday and saw a Justin Bieber doll! What’s the world coming to?

  16. Great post! Very fun and interesting–great job! I’ve never been a Barbie person, or even a doll person for that matter, but this post was fun to read. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed, by the way! 🙂

  17. Absolutely fantastic. My 4-year-old is getting her first Barbie for Christmas (I nearly cried, I thought I had encouraged feminism…) But who can resist Glimmer, Shimmer and Shine!

    “Thanks for buying my DVD.” 🙂

  18. “You mean Aries.”
    I couldn’t hold it in when i read that.
    I laughed my head off.
    AMAZING post…
    Barbie = Brain Wash
    Btw the glass ceiling thing was way too clever…

    Don’t stop howling…
    OhKami’s Voice

  19. I can see why this made the freshly pressed page (congrats on that, by the way).

    It really is a fun thing to do, finding out what a child thinks about the world around him/her. In the process, we grown-ups see the wonder in their eyes, the purity of their perception, and the simplicity of their reasoning. Scarlett’s answers were funny and weird (in a good, entertaining way), which makes this a read that would brighten up anyone’s day.

    It just brightened up mine, so, thanks!

  20. Thanks everyone for the kind words. Scarlett asked “Am I famous like Barbie?” It’s a Barbie world, indeed. Be sure to friend us on thesmatter.com for future 5-year-old musings. And thanks again!

  21. This is so funny, nice touch with the interview, children can be so amusing, loved the part when she said “But there’s something fun about being fired because then you’re on vacation”. If only…

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