So, I visited Barbieland the other day, my friends. Yep. My first visit back in many, many moons. I spent a lot of time in Barbieland back in the day.

Barbie and Ken leave Barbieland for the “real world.”

When I was a kid, I loved Barbie. I had several.

My first Barbie had short dark hair and she wore the original black and white striped bathing suit. Later, I acquired a blonde, bobbed Barbie, a long-haired Barbie with bendable legs appropriately named “Bendable Barbie.” As well as a “Twist-and-Turn Barbie” whose waist moved, a Tressy doll whose blonde hair grew when you pressed her stomach and pulled on her hair. You could wind it back up inside her head with a key in her back. I had a Barbie-knock-off doll whose hair could be coloured with washable markers, and a Skipper doll too. Plus Barbie’s Dream House, a pink plastic canopy bed, and a Barbie car. Just like the one in the movie.

I had two cases stuffed with clothes that could be hung on tiny plastic hangers. A few of the clothes were purchased, some were made by a neighbour who was a whizz with the sewing machine, and many more I crafted myself.

That’s a lot of Barbie stuff for the youngest child of four being raised by single mum in a household where money was not plentiful. Luckily for me, I had chubby cheeks, curly hair, a winning smile (well, I thought so anyway), and several aunts and female family friends who liked little girls but had no daughters of their own. I was one lucky kid, folks. One year for Christmas I received three Barbies. Mum was unsettled at my windfall. I was being spoiled by too many expensive presents, she moaned. But I was in seventh heaven.

So it was mostly Barbie nostalgia that sent me to see the Barbie movie last week. That and the fact that my friends all wanted to see it. And we wanted a fun night out together.

I initially said I would NOT wear pink. I didn’t want to be part of the conspiracy of dress-up-silliness that the movie was engendering. Then the day of, not wanting to seem churlish, I relented and dug out the only pink-ish things in my closet. A lilac tank top, a brightly coloured neckerchief with bright pink in it, a lilac sweater, and an old pink Cole Haan bag from 2007.

As it happened, I wore the lilac Vince sweater, my navy and white checked Rag and Bone Simone pants, and my cream Michael Kors sandals. At the last moment, I ditched the pink Cole Haan bag, and carried my straw tote instead. The pink bag made me feel as if I was trying too hard. I hate wearing costumes, which seems odd for someone who loves clothes, I know. I wanted to look unintentionally pink, not Barbie-ish pink. My friends felt the same way. We all turned out in some version of pink-ish, kind of pink, touch of pink. But I must say that my friend Linsey’s tunic top was the perfect Barbie pink. Unintentionally, of course.

So. The Barbie movie. What did I think? I loved it and I was bored with it at the same time. I found it hilarious, and yet at times way too silly for me. I am not a Will Ferrell fan. Margot Robbie as Barbie is wonderful. I think she gets Barbie just right. Barbie’s innocence and her lack of empathy. Then her dawning sense of emptiness because she lives in a perfect, yet empty world. Her naiveté at the state of the real world. Her distress when she isn’t accepted by the girls she meets in the real world, who Barbie thinks should love her and be grateful to her, but instead shame her and call her a fascist. That is a great moment in the film, those savvy real-world kids juxtaposed against a pink-clad, happy-clappy adult Barbie who is more child than they are.

I was less impressed with Ryan Gosling’s Ken. One reviewer said that he feels sympathy for Gosling’s Ken; I just thought he was annoying. And by that I mean Ken is annoying, not Ryan Gosling. I’m a big Ryan Gosling fan. Still Ken as the leader of the patriarchy in the newly remodelled Barbieland is hilarious.

Obviously, you’ll have heard the gist of the plot of the movie. Barbie must go to the real world to find out what is troubling her; Ken tags along. Barbie is shocked that the real world is run by men, and women are oppressed. Ken is entranced by the idea that men can have power as opposed to Barbieland where the Kens are decidedly second class citizens. So he hightails it back to Barbieland on his own to set up a Ken-tocracy, where the Kens drink beer, brainwash the Barbies to be subservient, and otherwise trash Barbie’s Dream House. Eventually Barbie, along with a real-world mother and daughter (the same girl who called Barbie a fascist), must save the day.

The plot is pretty silly. At times it drags, and I just wanted them to get on with it. One friend said in places she thought: “For god’s sake land this darned thing.” Her comment made me laugh. I found the pink and lime green inanity of Barbieland slightly annoying. But the movie was never meant to be grittily realistic. I mean, it’s Barbie after all. But that doesn’t mean the film does not have value. It does.

The jokes are very funny, if you like pop-culture allusions and clever insider-type jokes. Which I do. The opening of the Barbie film which mimics the opening scene in 2oo1: A Space Odyssey is brilliant. The fact that “Depressed Barbie” watches reruns of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice… over and over. Ha. I almost missed that one, then laughed out loud. Most of the jokes are definitely not meant for kids. Especially the jokes about pregnant Midge being “discontinued” or about Barbie not having a vagina. The guests on one Fox News show which discussed the movie were appalled at that line. A fact which made me appreciate it even more.

My favourite is the scene where “Weird Barbie” played by Kate McKinnon tells Barbie she must choose: either the high heel which symbolizes her status quo in perfect Barbieland, or the Birkenstock sandal which symbolizes her quest for the truth. When Barbie’s feet go flat, symbolic of her having doubts about her perfect world, she comments that if she had normal flat feet she’d never wear high heels. Ha. I can totally identify with that. My early twenties were spent in high heels, standing all day at work, running to catch the bus, walking home if I missed it. Oh… “the agony of da feet,” as my friend Debbie quipped one night when she eased off her high heels after we’d walked blocks and blocks home after a night out.

Of course Barbie is not a perfect movie. It’s fun. It has merit. It’s not just a pink plastic ode to capitalism. But it likely won’t change anyone’s mind about the patriarchy either. Director Greta Gerwig is a smart lady. Her film will appeal to people who don’t mind laughing at themselves. Like all those women of a certain age who dressed in pink for the movie and loved Barbies back in the day. Like me and my friends. And all those men who realize that society is still skewed toward men’s privilege, and still holds women to unrealistic beauty standards. And who deep down kind of know that they are a little obsessed with The Godfather. Ha.

By the way, the Barbie movie references lots of iconic films, not just 2001:A Space Odyssey, and The Godfather. The dance of the Kens is pure Grease, with the Kens mimicking the T-Birds in their black tee shirts and jeans and penny-loafers. This article explains how Greta Gerwig was inspired by her favourite movies.

The reviews of the movie are split. This one says the movie is the subversive, cleverly feminist hit of the summer. And this one says the movie can’t make up its mind what the heck it’s doing, and in the end “still bows to the patriarchy.”

I’m somewhere in the middle. But I think the movie is still worth seeing. Even if you’re not, and never were, a Barbie girl. Like me.

One outfit to wear to visit Barbieland: Navy Max mara pants, Vince navy cashmere sweater, pink and yellow neckerchief from Zara.
The Barbie outfit I didn’t wear to the movie.

I admit that I was a Barbie-girl. I loved playing with my Barbies, preferring them over my “baby dolls,” dressing them in appropriate outfits for the adventures I designed for them, complete with detailed back-stories, goals, and obstacles to be overcome. Barbie as a spy. Or as a detective in search of Skipper’s killer, as Skipper lay dead in Barbie’s Dream House. Zooming around our apartment in her convertible, exploring dark closets for suspects. That adventure was heavily influenced by Nancy Drew. Ha.

But I didn’t, and still don’t, think that loving Barbie made me a stereotypical girly-girl. I liked to build things. I went fishing with my brother. And “helped” him in the summer when he worked on our grandfather’s drill rigs. I never minded getting dirty or grease-covered. No one said I shouldn’t do these things.

As child I valued reading and education and being smart in school; I did not believe that being a girl limited my choices, or that it meant I couldn’t do whatever I wanted. Obviously, I lived in a small world. And in a house that was almost exclusively female. And that must have made a difference. I’m sure that I was judged, and put into a box, by society, by men and women I didn’t know, in ways I never knew or imagined. But I don’t remember ever being told I could not do something because I was a girl.

Of course, the trouble is, just like Barbie had to leave Barbieland for the harsh “real” world, little girls grow up and have to face society as it is. Not as they believed it to be.

Anyway. Barbie the movie will not solve society’s problems. Or unseat the patriarchy. Or make misogyny go away. I didn’t think that Barbieland with the Kens as second-class citizens was any more attractive than the “real world” depicted with the men controlling everything. Power should be shared. And maybe that’s the point of the movie.

Or one of the points of the movie. Which, much like this post, doesn’t seem to arrive at one clear and unified point. It was ever thus for me, my friends. I have trouble getting to the point.

Now how about you? Were you a Barbie girl? Or did you eschew dolls for more active pursuits? Or maybe like me, you tried to straddle both worlds? If you’ve seen Barbie the movie, please weigh in with your take.

P.S. Hubby and I are headed down to New Brunswick next week. For my mum’s Celebration of Life. We’ll be away for a couple of weeks. I won’t be blogging while we’re away. But I’ll be back with a post on August 26. Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer, my friends.

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64 thoughts on “My Visit to Barbieland”

  1. My (adult) daughter and I are going to see the Barbie movie soon, and I am looking forward to it! I’m about your age and had many of the same Barbies. But I straddled the worlds of doll-play and independence; I spent a lot of my youth riding and showing horses, and this instilled a great deal of independence and self-confidence in me. However, I loved playing make-believe with my Barbies, and I particularly liked dressing them in (I thought) stylish outfits. I hope I like the movie!

  2. It’s been difficult to avoid Barbie recently , the marketing has been pretty relentless but I’m very stubborn when it comes to ‘hype’ . I normally swerve the other way very deliberately which can be a mistake sometimes . It can take me years to catch up with the excellent books/films/tv programmes that have been thrust in my face too often . I think I was too old for Barbie at the time . Instead I had young Elvis on my bedroom wall & then the Beatles came along ……. But following your synopsis of the film I can now have a reasonable Barbie conversation with anyone 😁
    We’re currently enjoying the tv series of Magpie Murders . I wasn’t sure that the book within a book would transfer to the screen but it’s cleverly done . The locations & costumes are great & Lesley Manville as the lead is , of course , excellent . We watched her ‘ Who Do You Think You Are ? ‘ recently & that was good too .
    I hope your trip back home goes well . I’ll be thinking about you .

    1. I’m getting sick of Barbie everywhere on social media. I’m almost sorry to have contributed to it. Stu and I also enjoyed the Magpie Murders. Lesley Manville is good, isn’t she? P.S. I just this minute finished writing Mum’s eulogy. That has been weighing heavily on my mind. So relieved it’s done.

  3. My heart was given to Sindy, similar but not so obviously over-feminised. She wore chic and gamine outfits and had a strange side-eye. Barbie was never for me but my daughter loved hers. For her fourth (I think) birthday she got four, in various guises and also a Spice Girl doll. We lined them up on the sofa and admired them. I have no idea where they are now, probably stuffed away in a box somewhere. The film is not for me either. Strangely, this year pink very much is, an absolute first and mainly to do with my daughter’s up-coming wedding. Who knew? Enjoy your break.

  4. I did have a Barbie when I was young and had the big closet that opened up from a case that held all of her clothes and accessories. My aunt would make me some more clothes when I could not get much in our small town. I would make hats out of bottle caps and scraps of material. Oh the memories this just brought back. The Barbie phase did end when I started riding and then everything became horse related when I got my own. I am so glad you enjoyed the movie and explained it but there were no takers when it was brought up at our coffee group this past week, so I may have to ask individually to see if the nay-sayers just overwhelmed some with the negative thoughts. I also read the post on Atypical 60 which was a glowing report as well so to heck with the rest, I want to see it. Wishing you two a safe trip for a difficult time, and await your post on your return.

    1. My case opened up like a book and held four dolls and all their clothes. How privileged I felt about owning that. I will be happy when our trip down east is over. Sad and happy too.

  5. Yes indeed, I was a Barbie girl! For me, it was all about dressing them up in the clothing and outfits since even back then I was quite the fashionista. And as an African-American little girl growing up in the 1960’s, I was aware that “Barbie World” was not my world, and there were people who to sought to place limits on what women and people of color could achieve. Fortunately, my mother and teachers helped we understand that I could be almost anything I wanted to be with lots of hard work, higher education and good luck. So, I greatly enjoyed the Barbie movie and thought it was well written and acted. It made me think, laugh and remember my Barbie days. And yes, I wore pink to the movie theater and have always loved the color!

    1. We were lucky to have mothers who encouraged us to be whatever we wanted. Although I recognize that as a girl of colour you had a much more uphill battle than I did. I’m happy you enjoyed the Barbie movie, Wini.

  6. I never had a Barbie but I did have a Sindy. I wasn’t big on dolls though I did love my baby doll, that I named Blondie, because she had plaited blond hair, that was very different to my very curly dark brown hair. My daughter had a few Barbies and a Ken but she didn’t play with them very much either. Nevertheless for her fourth birthday, I plunged a Barbie into a conical cake and iced it with a ton of pink icing and raspberry lollies, which was a big success. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m curious. Best wishes for your trip to New Brunswick and you mum’s Celebration of Life.

    1. I couldn’t see the point of owning a Ken when I was a kid. That thought makes me laugh when I consider the role of Ken in the movie. Thanks for the kind words about our trip, Maria.

  7. I didn’t have a Barbie and I always wanted one. There were no Barbies,Kens,Sindy or any other “symbols of capitalism” 🙂 to buy in my country when I was a child
    My first trip abroad was to Venice and the second one to Vienna (this time I was 12 years old). I was looking forward to this trip and my parents promised to buy me a Barbie. It was Labour Day weekend and all the shops were closed. I’m still feeling the disappointment. Later, I was too old to play with Barbies (though,I was thinking about buying one for myself :)).
    Much later,I was happy to buy Barbies and everything else Barbie-related to all my friend’s children. It was such a joy
    I liked to play both with dolls (although it was more to sew clothes and make furniture for them) and all the outdoor sports or detective and war games (I will not name who was against who,very political incorrect in both variations of the game)
    I went to the Barbie movie,agree with your review and I quite like it
    Pink is not one of my colours,it doesn’t suit me(although I have nothing against it) so I was wearing colourful (maybe you could find something pink-ish somewhere in the print,but it is actually not) linen trousers with off white top.
    Thinking of you…
    Dottoressa

    1. Ah…I can imagine your disappointment over the Barbie incident, Dottoressa. In our outdoor war games all our bad guys were Russians. It was during the Cold War after all. And we took our lead from the adults.

  8. I was a little “ tomboy”… no Barbies for me… no interest in them at all…. Soooo.. with that being said, I have no desire to see the movie… I admit it would be annoying to me… give me a good Tom Hanks flick ☺️☺️☺️☺️☺️

  9. Well I collected hockey cards not Barbie dolls….Surprise, surprise Sue! I was the resident “tomboy” and had no interest in dolls. I think your review is excellent and, reinforces that I will wait to see the movie when it’s available for streaming on demand. My sister in law saw it and thought there was merit in seeing it……I think I will wait. Take good care..

  10. Sue, I hope you have a great time down east and a lovely celebration of life for your mom!

    I wasn’t a Barbie girl, but I enjoyed reading both your review and your description of what you liked about Barbies. I grew up a little bit later than you did of course and I grew up in a family of boys (brothers only and only male cousins until my aunt had a girl when I was in my twenties!). I did feel that my brothers were given more opportunities than I was, which I fought against tooth and nail. I faced the “real world” as well when I chose a male-dominated course of study at university, where there were few girls at the time. During my PhD program I was told by a professor I was assisting (competently, I might add!), that he’d “never believed that women could learn (insert our subject matter).” I subsequently faced ten years of pretty ridiculously serious sexual harassment when I entered the workforce. So much of my education and early career were a battle, to say the least. Surprisingly, I think I’ve come out fairly unscathed, but I find that particularly younger women I work with don’t seem to have a clue about what we went through, which is surprising in a way, and also not. In any case, I don’t have any particular interest in the movie, although I’ll probably watch it at some point on a plane (!). Like Wendy I tend to eschew hype.

    The “depressed Barbie” watching Pride and Prejudice on repeat made me chuckle!

    1. None of my male cousins nor my brother pursued even remotely the same goals as I did…so it’s hard for me to compare their path to mine. I do remember hearing that boys didn’t like smart girls when I was in grade school. But since I was not interested in boys at the time I wasn’t bothered. My sister chose a male dominated field of study. She was almost the only girl in her Pharmacy graduation class from Dalhousie University.

  11. I was a “tomboy” also as much as family members tried to push dolls on me. I remember always being so disappointed when someone showed up with a doll for me. I can imagine how disappointed they were with my reaction. I also remember a favorite aunt and uncle took me to a toy store for my birthday and let me pick out whatever I wanted. I picked a stuffed Lassie dog. And yes I did grow up to be an animal lover and have had a dog or cat, sometimes both my entire adult life.
    So like others I’ll watch Barbie when it comes on cable.

  12. Great movie review! I saw the movie with my elderly aunt and mom who were both too old to play with Barbies when they were introduced to Canada but we all dressed in pink as did everyone on opening night in our small town. My aunt loved the movie and wanted to see it again immediately. My mom was bored to death and I was somewhere in between.

    I was a huge Barbie fan especially of her clothes and matching accessories and was disappointed that the whole movie didn’t stay in Barbieland and focus more on the characters changing outfits. What? No fashion show!

    I remember improvising with many household items in my Barbieland like washcloths as quilts and lining my Barbies up at night to sit in a row on top of my headboard. I wanted to see images showing how the dolls were played with by children which I think would have been funny with less focus on Ken. My friends and I rarely played with our shared Ken doll unless there was a kissing scene. He was definitely superfluous just like in the movie.

    I hope you enjoy celebrating your mom as you wish. Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts on fashion and life.

    1. I never had a Ken doll. I couldn’t see the point. He would never have figured in my make-believe adventures. Except maybe as a villain. Ha.

  13. Sandra from Victoria

    I really enjoyed your post today, Sue. I hope to go to the movie soon with my daughters and wear my pink jeans.
    A couple of weeks ago we went to 3 Blue Jay baseball games in Seattle. The stadium was a sea of blue with all the Blue Jay fans in Blue Jay jerseys and tee shirts. As we exited the Saturday afternoon game we were met with a sea of Taylor Swift fans all dressed up in sequins on the way to her first concert. It seems the thing to do dress to support your spots team, dress to honour your pop star and dress up to go to the movies. It is a way of having fun after the last few years of uncertainty from COVID and now the cost of living. Interesting to observe these phenomenons at the age of 71!

  14. I laughed when I saw the movie trailers with Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie…that was the fate of mine! I remember longing for a Barbie for Christmas 1961. Going down to Eaton’s in Toronto was a pre Christmas ritual in our family and when I saw her I was smitten. My Mother tried desperately to push me towards a baby doll but I was adamant that only Barbie would do.. ( Mother thought her too mature for a six year old)
    Christmas morning SO disappointed when I saw the baby doll in all her splendour under the tree. ( Never forgave Santa and that @#$& never let me forget my lack of gratitude…presenting me with not one but two REAL babies at Christmas!) I digress.
    Christmas night along comes my aunt & grandparents with two very special dolls. Brunette Barbie with her over arched feet in her iconic bathing suit and a beautifully dressed black baby doll.
    My grandfather was a socialist and champion of human rights in predominantly white TO, it was the early sixties and he much admired Dr. Martin Luther King and his fight for equality. He wanted me to recognize and respect that all people need to be treated equally regardless of colour or creed. My young aunt wanted me to have the Barbie because…so cool! She also thought her much older sister (my mom) was a fuddy duddy!
    Both dolls in their way represented a break from the patriarchy of the time and ultimately the fight for freedom on so many levels.
    The black baby doll I still have, I want my bi racial grandchildren to know that their great great grandfather appreciated that there were brave little girls, who lived segregated lives and still got on busses to go to non segregated schools. As a privileged white man he would never fully understand the struggle but he could be a supportive ally at a time and place when that unusual.
    He wanted me to know that you could be a girl and still stand up for yourself. I want his great great grand daughter to know that too.

    Oh and Barbie? Yeah my younger brothers got a hold of her a few years later cut her hair, drew scars on her face, removed her earrings…apparently she ran off with GI Joe:)) I’ll bet she was a kick ass soldier.

  15. I’m pre-Barbie….We had Tony Dolls. We could curl her hair. She was a grown up. I never knew what to do with the baby doll. Never wanted to have children….and didn’t. All I wanted to do was paint….and I was blessed with a good career and a wonderful late life marriage.
    Have only seen the previews….don’t think I’ll bother.

  16. I too had a Barbie — the original one with the black and white striped swimsuit, and eventually several of her “friends”. I do vividly remember the thrill of carefully examining all the new outfits for sale attached to the cardboard backgrounds, and so very carefully making my choice. I also vividly recall playing with Troll Dolls and making their clothes; I had a Tonka Jeep in which they would ride (with a red elastic band as a seatbelt – at a time when there were no seatbelts in our own family car!). Eventually a male friend who owned JI Joe floated a couple of my Barbies and his JI Joe off to sea in a cardboard box — I do think we were eventually able to rescue them from the waves, but I think by that time my Barbie days were over as I have no more Barbie recollections after that. Will definitely see the movie!

    1. Hope you like the movie, Lisa. There’s a great YouTube video on making the movie, how they did the backdrops, and the journey back to the real world without benefit of computerized background. Instead they did old-school painted seas, and mountains etc that moved up and down by people pulling on them while Barbie and Ken sat in place. It was lovely to see how much work went into making it. How Gerwig wanted it to be like the old movies.

  17. I was a little too old when Barbie came out. I did read something on another blog that a woman overheard a young girl asking her mom as they came out of the theater ‘what is patriarchy ‘ . So maybe there’s hope yet.

  18. I always wanted a real Barbie I had a few knock offs but their hair was only rooted in the front. I got very good at fixing hair so you couldn’t tell. I don’t remember the stories I made up but I remember I always renamed them and I loved dressing them. One Christmas my sister made me a lot of clothes and I was so excited. I did have a Revlon doll which was a fashion doll shorter than Barbie with a more normal shape. For some reason I never liked her as much. Thanks for sharing your opinions on the movie. I will probably wait to see it.

  19. Oh yes, I was definitely a Barbie girl. My daughter’s were Barbie girls, now my granddaughters are Barbie girls. Although my eleven year old granddaughter has out grown them, she still has the dream. The hopes, wishes, dreams we have for ourselves as we grow up, Barbie helps us with that. I have a giant plywood Barbie house in the back room of my home that the girls play with every time they come over. All my girls have seen the movie, big fun. I just try to include a little pink in my fashion here and there. Sue, you looked gorgeous in the lilac, good color. Safe journey, thinking of you, looking forward to your return.

  20. I was a Sindy doll child – perhaps a British thing. I used to save my pocket money to buy her outfits which came on cards complete with shoes, stockings and jewellery. I still have them, with complete and intact clothing cards, in a case in the loft.
    My daughters were big Barbie fans so I went to a night school class in woodwork and made them a Barbie house which we then decorated. Later GI Joe was introduced into the games by my son and all three would have Barbies and Joe abseiling from the roof of the Barbie house and special ops carried out all over the playroom. No gender stereotyping here! They were also in a box in the loft but some have been released to the care of my granddaughters now. My youngest granddaughter loves to find dolls and undress them so she can give them a bath so a visit from her usually means several wet towels and prodigious use of the floor mop.

    Enjoy the celebration of your mother’s life. I’m sure there will be lots of sharing of happy memories. Safe travels.

  21. Safe travels for you and Stu, and for the special celebration of your mom.
    Great review on the movie! I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it was silly. And enjoyed watching it with two 20-something young women and we all dressed in pink. So fun – much like the roller coaster is more fun if you go all in and scream!
    My arts degree girls have been dismantling the patriarchy at the dinner table and the movie felt like it was written based on conversations they have been having with us for years! And they both actually watch Pride and Prejudice as a kind of “comfort food.” Lol
    I love that your Barbies drove around solving mysteries!!! Mine didn’t do much because I spent most of my time building them elaborate houses out of books and then making furniture and accessories for them!!

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I just finished writing the eulogy. That’s a weight off my mind. Now I can just enjoy the trip and seeing my family. 🙂

  22. Hi Sue, I’m seeing Barbie later this week. I loved Barbies. As a kid who moved often, my dad was in the navy, Barbies were an escape for me. She was a version between That Girl and Mary Tyler Moore. Barbie had a car, a job, her own apartment, and cool clothes. In listening to NPR one day, and hearing so many people say they wouldn’t let their children play with Barbies because of body image problems and social stereotypes it got me to thinking…I never once wanted my body to look like Barbie and Barbie could be who ever this shy lonely girl wanted her to be. I understood Barbie was a plastic doll, just like my others, she was pretend just like my other toys. I didn’t expect my Hot Wheel Fat Track to represent real car racing either. Yes, I was an equal opportunity toy enthusiast. Barbie in my world was powerful. And no I won’t be wearing pink , I’ll probably be wearing something black. But that’s Barbie in my world.

    1. Because Barbie was such hard plastic I don’t think I ever thought of her anatomy in terms of body parts. Just a shape to mold dresses around. Ha.

  23. I missed the Barbie craze. I was around 12 years old when it came out, so I was over the “doll” stage. I will not go to the movie, not judging it, just I would rather see Harrison Ford in his Raiders movie! Have a great vacay!

  24. Oh the memories. I had a Tressy doll too. She is still in our loft along with her wooden wardrobe and clothes. She had the strange thick strand of blonde hair that grew from the middle of her head which, as you said, could be wound back in with a key into her back. Unfortunately only that strand grew long the remaining hair remained short. I had loads of fun with the hair though, plaiting it and tying pony tails and bunches. My daughter as a child much preferred soft toys to dolls so Tressy has never emerged from her loft resting place. I never came across anyone else with a Tressy all my friends had Sindy and Barbie back in the 60’s.

  25. I had Barbies (and a Tressy) as a kid and liked paper dolls a lot. The thing that I liked about all of them was being able to dress them up (especially making paper doll clothes) and invent stories about them. I don’t think that I ever made the Nancy Drew connection, although I loved Nancy Drew. I also loved playing with my brother’s Tonka trucks and building things, creating forts and playing all kinds of outdoor games. I knew how to fish, camped, etc. It was just part of growing up in my neighborhood.

    I don’t give Barbies as gifts. I think that there are so many other creative options for gift giving. I did give a niece a Tonka dump truck for her first birthday, because I didn’t think that anyone else would. A lot of play can happen with a Tonka truck.

    I haven’t seen the Barbie movie yet and am looking forward to it. I like pink and have plenty of clothing choices if I decide to dress up for attendance. I’d be likely to wear a pink top or something like that. While I love a good costume, I don’t feel the need to wear one to the movie theater, but a little pink solidarity gesture would probably be in order. I’ve been waiting for the crowds to subside. I haven’t been to a movie theater since the pandemic started and we have a bit of a surge right now. By the time I see the movie, the fuss will be over.

    1. I loved paper dolls too. The ones in magazines that you cut out with the fold over tabs on the clothes. Our Barbie pink was more of a gesture too.

  26. Hello Sue! Nothing Barbie-related springs to mind at the moment, but I just wanted to wish you the best on your New Brunswick trip. Thinking of you!

  27. I was surprised that seeing the movie affected me emotionally for many reasons. I was born in 1940, and have one daughter, age 57, and 2 older sons…married at 18, after one year of college.
    (as did many women of my era). I do not recall my daughter having a Barbie doll or even playing with dolls as she and a brother were 18 months apart and they were buddies.
    I was the 2nd girl in a family of 4 girls.
    In the 70’s I was active in the Women’s Liberation movement at the University of Santa Barbara. I subscribed to “Ms.” magazine, saw Shirley Chisholm speak there when she ran for president in 1972.
    I can’t tell you how often when I applied for jobs, men told me, “You should be home with your children”. I was divorced that same year and NEEDED a job to support my family. A woman personnel manager told me, “Don’t think you will be promoted (at the S.B. NewsPress) because you won’t”, when I started a job
    there as assistant to the commercial printing dept. manager.
    My conscious raising group picketed the paper for separating jobs by “women” a “men”. I was made to wear a dress as “Barbie”. A sign read, There are only 2 sex determined occupations, Wet nurse, and Sperm donor”.
    It took a long time to get the ERA passed, and to get birth control, and control of our own body. I was fortunate to work in education, and also in Mental Health facilities where there was equal pay for equal work, with published salary schedules, some things that younger generations take for granted. But now they again have to work for.

    I enjoyed the happiness and laughter in the movie, and that Barbie finally got a vagina….(feminine equivalent to growing some balls?) and that she
    did not need Ken to think well of herself…Outrageous fashion show throughout the movie.

    1. 💕💕💕Love your review and reflection on Barbie! The cross-generational group that I viewed the movie with, all loved it! 💕 colorful, fun, funny, thought provoking and perfect for our times! Greta Gerwig, is fabulous whether directing or acting!
      Many thanks for your always well written thoughts! Peace as you go back home! 🙏

  28. I loved Barbie & friends and would spent hours playing alone or with my girlfriends. I desperately wanted the Dreamhouse but it would never arrived at Xmas time. I was so disappointed. Silly, how I hold onto that memory. I’ll be waiting for the Barbie movie to be shown on Netflix as the hubs won’t go. Lol
    We did see Oppenheimer… A good history lesson but long.
    A Celebration of Life. I have a feeling, that it will be exactly that for your Mom… fun-loving stories of a beloved woman.
    Take care.

  29. Oh I was definitely a Barbie girl!!!! I, along with my sisters, had several (actually many) throughout the years. My best friend and I spent hours creating elaborate houses and furnishings with any kind of items we could find. It was great fun … and looking back kept me involved in childhood longer than most kids do these days. It was time I truly enjoyed.
    As for the movie, the hype is a bit much … but after your review and several others I’ll probably see it at some point. One more thing — I had a Tressy doll, too, and forgot all about her until your mention of her! Loved that hair!

  30. I went to the Barbie movie with my daughter. I didn’t have a Barbie doll, but my daughter had three or four and I would play Barbie dress up with her and the dolls. I much preferred paper dolls to real dolls. I think it was the fashion aspect. My daughter had no interest in having a Ken doll. We both thought the movie was fun, creative, and we laughed a lot. Not every movie has to be about or for men or even solve world problems. Before the movie we had to sit through numerous ads for The Blue Beetle! Now there is a movie guys and kids are welcome to.

  31. Late in commenting, but I just recently saw the movie so am adding my thoughts to the queue…
    I didn’t have Barbies, as my feminist mom didn’t approve of their sexualized body image. I had Tammy dolls, which had smaller breasts and rounded bellies, and flat feet! Ha! Their necks were a softer plastic and eventually the heads would fall off. My mother would box them up and mail them back for replacement. My younger sister had a Skipper, with a straight body, and a Tutti – the younger little girl. I recall we had several GI Joes as well, but they played very minor roles in our stories. We did have a cool cardboard penthouse apartment, which folded flat, and some assembled cardboard furniture that came with it.
    My daughter had a ton of Barbies. Her very creative aunt made her many clothes including doctor scrubs. She also had the Ariel, Jasmine and Belle versions of Barbie. Her slightly younger brother had Prince Eric, Aladdin, Beast, and a very cool Elvis. I still regret that she chose to sell the whole box at a garage sale for $5. Some had had “haircuts”. I did keep the wedding gown that my sister made.
    As for the movie, I just saw it with my daughter when visiting her in Chicago. I wore a bright pink shirt, and the women behind us in line asked if we were going to see “Barbie”. I laughed, I cried, I applauded at one character’s speech. There were parts that felt like filler, but overall I am glad we went.

  32. Your review is the most factually correct one I’ve read so far, Susan.

    I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I fully concur.

  33. Tout d’abord , je viens tout juste de m’abonner à votre blog . Et j’habite en Drôme provençale , en France .
    J’ai 73 ans . Mais je m’habille et me comporte comme si j’en avais 60 !
    Je découvre la manière dont vivent les américaines .C’est une découverte fascinante !
    Je suis également un professeur d’université a la retraite ,titulaire d’un doctorat en littérature de la Renaissance et spécialiste de Spinoza .
    Je n’ai jamais joué a la poupée ! J’étais une enfant précoce qui avait 4ans d’avance sur les autres élèves .
    Je me suis rattrapé,non pas avec ma fille qui n’aimait pas les poupées ,mais avec ma petite fille Clara .J’ai adoré créer ce monde hors du temps , avec sa légèreté et son insouciance.
    Aujourd’hui,Clara est chef de projet chez Chanel !
    Ce n’est sans doute pas un hasard ….
    Je n’irai pas voir le film .
    En France aujourd’hui, nous tentons de sauver notre civilisation contre les barbares …
    Avec toute ma sympathie

    1. Thank you for subscribing, Celia. Welcome. In a somewhat similar way, in Canada we have been trying to preserve Canadian culture from being assimilated into American culture. It’s difficult when they are so big and we are small, in numbers anyway. 🙂

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