The Barbie Factor

I read something online about Barbie dolls the other day, which I believe was meant as a joke but made me think, “Hey, that’s exactly how it was for me.”

The post was about how Barbie dolls had been so much more than dress-up toys for this woman writer–the dolls were a tool for her to practice how to take over the world.

In my country we didn’t have Barbie dolls, but we had something very similar. Mine was a Susi (which I still have today) and yes, I dressed her, combed her hair, and admired her perfect made-up eyes and lips. But Susi was so much more than that.

Susi Dolls

Susi dolls

She was my prop to recreate all the stories I had in my mind. I’d plan and put together elaborate stories and play them over and over again, adding details, perfecting it. I remember one particular setting I seemed to favor–not sure why: a baby bathtub which I had filled with every supply my doll and her family would need. The plot was simple; they were escaping some kind of calamity and they were stuck on that ship until they found a safe harbor somewhere.

Even though Susi had a husband, she was always the one in charge. She took care of the whole family and was the one who found solutions to every problem. She might have been tiny–hubby was a full size doll–but she was fierce.

Barbie

Because of that I always roll my eyes at the whole controversy about said doll. I never looked at Susi and thought, “I want to look just like her and be perfect, thin, and helpless.” Instead, I thought, “Girl, let’s go do something awesome and worthy of the kick-ass heroine you are.”

I projected my inner goddess into the lifeless doll and practiced my writer’s imagination and my female super-powers 🙂

Susi

My original Susi with the medieval dress I made for her. (sorry it’s so blurry)

What did you do with your Barbie dolls?

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10 thoughts on “The Barbie Factor

  1. I loved my Barbie dolls! They had so many adventures. Spies, entrepreneurs, presidents, super heroes … they did everything. So many of my friends only ever did their dolls hair or changed their outfits, but not me. I never thought about how she looked or that I wanted to look like her, she was a toy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVED my playtime with my Susi/Barbie dolls. In fact, I played with them until I was almost 13 and it was always an exercise in story creation rather than dress and play. Glad to hear I was not the only one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • In my country there were no Barbies at the time (they came a bit later and were more expensive than the European ones). I had a Cindy doll too but she was a lot bigger.

      Like

  2. I was an animal child, so I projected myself onto beanie babies. I distinctly remember, after an appointment with the pediatrician, my mom asking me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and my response was: “a tiger.”

    To each their own!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I made my Barbies re-enact the sinking of the Titanic. That was about all I thought they were good for, ha ha! I do think that dolls are important for enabling children to be creative and express themselves. Actually, come to think of it, my favourite was my Ginger Spice (from the Spice Girls) doll because I saw her as being strong and confident, something I aspired to be. Of course, I did drown her a few times… But she was the one I played with the most, even when I was about 13-14 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

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