The OG Barbie.

European Western Barbie 1980 03
This is Barbie as I remember her.

Apparently some newly shaped Barbies have been released today (or a few days ago by the time I post this). Was the OG Barbie really all that evil?

Okay, let me ponder this for a moment. On the one hand- that’s great. I mean all these people who are blaming poor Miss Barbie for the vast eating disorders of America- now they have a new barbie body to look up to. Also its nice to have choices- Barbies of all shapes and sizes, similar to the American Girl Dolls, is probably not a bad thing.

BUT, on the other hand….

A. Is Barbie actually responsible for eating disorders and body dysmorphia? Did/do girls REALLY aspire to look like Barbie? I mean after all, she is just a TOY. I don’t know anyone aspiring to look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or someone from Monster High. At the most, MAYBE she’s affecting fashion choices?

B. Were that many people actually offended by the OG Barbie, Skipper, Midge, and Christie?

C. When does Politically Correct go so far that it crosses a line and actually becomes a product of its own conviction? Whats wrong with the OG Barbie? Is it such a crime to be a slender blonde white woman?

D. What about Indian or Chinese Barbie? If we have all sizes, what about all races? Or what about trans or gender reassigned Barbie?

E. Why do the haters focus on Barbies slender hip to waist ratio? Its not her hip to waist thats that far off from healthy- its her HEIGHT to hip to waist. Not to mention, if you HAD her height: hip: waist you’d look DISGUSTING, you couldn’t walk, you couldn’t even lift your head! No matter how thin a person gets- they will NEVER be able to look exactly like Barbie because without photoshop, its not humanely possible. Again, she is a TOY (or an alien?), not a body image roll model. The point of the doll’s creation was not be a body that girls could aspire to develop. She was created as a roll model for freedom of career choices, with hopes of pushing young girls into thinking for themselves regarding their future.

BarbieCouture2
I am falling hard for all the outfits on the adorable couture barbies!  Barbie definitely looks like a business executive in this outfit.
Cat-Burglar-Barbie-by-Louboutin-06
Seriously??? Love! Maybe couture Barbie is a more economical way to obsess over fashion……Another positive on Barbie’s side- one can live and nurture his/her own dreams vicariously though Barbie.

When I was about 8 years old Santa left me my first Barbie. There she was peaking Kilroy style just above the white fluff of my Christmas stocking. She was a ballet barbie, surprise surprise. After Ballet Barbie, I received the makeover Barbie- a huge barbie head and decollate that I could paint with makeup, and a thick head of hair that I could style. After that- I got the bionic woman barbie.

HAHAHA. Okay I’m laughing because while disclosing the above information, I’ve realized Barbie maybe DID have a pretty huge impact on me. Bionic Woman Barbie aside, let us asses. I’ve been obsessed with Ballet since I was young – and although the initial interest was sparked from visiting a local ballet school and falling hard for the pointe shoes (its always the shoes, isn’t it?)- perhaps Barbie helped me maintain my interest. Also- the Barbie head? I mean I WAS a professional hair and makeup artist for almost 14 years. And before that I did wigs and makeup for Opera and Ballet. And lets not forget about my obsession with fashion. Mom never wanted to spend too much on barbie outfits despite my strong desire to do so- perhaps thats why i never learned the correct way to outfit things and why I’ve need my fairy godmother of fashion, Danielle, as of late? In her defense my mother DID get me other fashion related toys. And actually they were toys that were even better at pushing creativity than dressing a Barbie; I had these fashion plates where I could design and combine different wardrobes, and fashion paper dolls that included clothing from a plethora of Eras. In fact, I probably learned more about the art of fashion and fashion history through those than I would have from a Barbie, but I digress…..

Barbie’s History and Original Purpose:

Barbieandfriends

Barbie was first created in 1959 by a woman named Ruth Handler. Ruth noticed that there was a need for a doll with which children could play and imagine their future. A future that was not necessarily pre-determined by 1950s stereotypical gender roles. With Barbie the child could pretend to be anything she wanted- a waitress, a stewardess, a doctor, even the president of a company or a country!

BarbieForPresident
There are now and never have been any limitations on what Barbie can do. In 2008 she became the first female American President. 

From the get-go there were complaints that Barbie was nothing but a “sex symbol”. In defense, Ms. Handler created two facially less mature looking dolls (though proportionately the same as Barbie). Thus begat Midge, Barbie’s best friend, and Skipper, Barbies little sister. In 1963 Christie was released as the first african american Barbie doll.

Unfortunately over time the doll continued to face exponential controversial growth regarding her unrealistic body image as well as complaints regarding her disposable income (designer clothes, dream house). Parents were concerned that she would instill body dysmorphia and materialism into the minds of their children.

CompareBarbies.jpg
The evolution of Barbie. First on the left, 1959, the OG Barbie.  Second in pink, 1970s. 1990s next to today’s Barbie in the stripped top. Definitely an improvement in the hair!! Also skin tone is more realistic. But overall, they all look plastic- except the original which looks porcelain. PS the original HARDLY looks like a sex symbol to me. Though her features do make her look about 40 years old…..The most current Barbie does look more “real”, but they are all obviously a doll. 

A positive or negative toy?

I’ve spoken with some girl friends and have asked them about Barbie and her influence on both them and their daughters. Most of the women responded exactly the same as my BFF Charlotte:

Barbie had no impact on me regarding body issues. I loved to play with her and she fueled creativity. I think it was actually a very positive, creative outlet! I think it is great to have barbies of all shapes and colors.

I couldn’t agree more.

My bff also brilliantly stated:

I think the main problem with body image has to do with other women/girls (and I’m interjecting ‘and men’ here)….we need to be supportive of each other and it is so hurtful to get positive attention for losing weight! Focus needs to be 100% on body as a healthy tool…are you strong? Feeling good? That is all that should matter!!!!

barbie real
I thought this was interesting. Its a  Barbie doll compared to a doll made with the dimensions of an average american teenager at age 16. To me it exemplifies that Barbie is a toy, a character to be used for imagination and play. Not a real person to emulate. And honestly, hello?! Who wants that flat ass and tiny feet anyways???

 

What the heck to wear if you want to dress like Barbie?

I thought it would be fun to see how much Barbie could be translated into the real world regardless of her shape/size. Is she actually a good fashion roll model? Can we look past her unrealistic proportions and see her as intended, a woman with creative freedom to become whomever she desires? I calculated  that in order to have her proportions, at my current bust and hip size I would have to have a 22″ waist  and 8 more inches on my height (hahaha, yeah right). The following are some fun outfits inspired by the doll. I believe they DO work despite my healthy waist to hip to height ratio.

 

 

I love Barbie’s idea here of juxtaposing upscale with casual, making this “fancy” skirt more “every day” and therefore more useful in the wardrobe. What a great way to make the cost per wear of a fancy high end piece more economical. And, in my opinion, it looks adorable! Skirt: Red Valentino  Jacket: Current Elliott White T: James Perse Clutch: Valentino  Shoes: Christian Louboutin.

 

I’m always a sucker for an outfit based on neutrals. Though mine isn’t identical to Barbies, I liked how her boots were just slightly off color from the rest of the palette. Sweater: Vince  Skirt: Mango  Boots: Valentino  Handbag: Chanel  Necklace: Tiffany’s (from MSM :))

I absolutely adore this outfit! Honestly, as obvious as it seems I would have NEVER thought of pairing this stuff together until I was inspired by Barbie. I guess there probably IS some stylist who helps outfit Barbie. Or maybe a team of stylists. Hmmmm….I wonder… Top: Joie  Jeans: Current Elliott  Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

 

Another adorable pairing inspired by Barbie. I love how the colors balance each other. The shoes and top are so bright I would have never put this together in fear of being overwhelming. But it looks cute, right? I don’t own a yellow bag, so I tried to pick a clutch with yellow tones in it, and a bit of ‘fun’- which I feel the yellow bag brings to Barbie’s outfit. Top: Drew USA  Jeans: Paige  Shoes: Valentino  Clutch: Clair V  Karlito (purse charm): Fendi suggested by MSM (“I think you need Karlito with this one” ! He’s so smart!!)

After this little investigation, when in doubt regarding an outfit, I may start asking myself “what would Barbie wear?” I bet Danielle would be relieved to have a night off 🙂

In Conclusion:

I think that the OG Barbie, disproportionate, “materialistic” and all, can be an incredibly positive influence on a child and an adult for that matter. She is optimistic, a go-getter, and has a great sense of style. By the way, that style can be whatever the doll’s owner wants it to be but no matter what, its always fabulous! What a great way to boost confidence.

As a child I loved Barbie. I was a kid, and she was a doll. I never once wanted to emulate her proportions, just like I also didn’t want to look like Baby Alive or a Cabbage Patch Kid. For the record, I didn’t have or want her dream house. I did have the convertible, which I grew tired of rather quickly. Seems like a good lesson to me; don’t spend too much on an overpriced cheaply made plastic fancy automobile because you’ll probably get sick of it anyways. I admit I was envious of her hair. Why don’t people complain about how unrealistic it is to have such gorgeous hair without extensions?! Oh yeah….because she’s a DOLL. Her (fake) hair technically IS just extensions, just like her (fake) body is from a plastic mold.

Its nice to have choices, so the new Barbies are great and a good way for Mattel to re-spark interest in the toy. But in my opinion socially the new body types weren’t necessary because honestly, they are all fake.

In case your interested, click here to see the new Barbies: Barbies Of All Shapes and Sizes

What do you all think of the new barbies?

xoxo

QJ

QJ

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One thought on “The OG Barbie.

  1. Omg I love the photos in which you have Barbie inspired outfits and poses! So fun! I also remember fashion plates and they have them at Big Fun (vintage toy store on Coventry)! Gonna go get them and create!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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