Today’s Barbies Are Some Bad Bitches

What I Learned Playing with a Child

Image by Tomasz Mikołajczyk from Pixabay

While playing Barbies with my four-year-old granddaughter I learned that today’s Barbies are no joke.

When I was a child, I played with Barbies. My Barbies rode around in a pink car, lived in a Dream castle, and had plenty of tea parties with the other Barbies. We cleaned and played house with Ken. Ken went to work while Barbie stayed home.

While playing with my granddaughter, her barbies did no such things. Her Barbies got up and went to work. We took turns going to work being the boss and going to work being the Barbie being bossed. (Most of the time, I was not the Barbie boss!) We took turns staying home taking care of the baby bears, but when we stayed home we had to go to the mall.

Years ago, my poor Barbies never left the house. My mother never learned to drive, so it never occurred to me that Barbie could leave. My girls drank tea all day and sat around talking about how great the tea was.

My granddaughter’s Barbies get up each “day” and go to work. Whatever they go to work they drive their dream car, stop for coffee, drop off the kids, and sit in an office. We abandoned the Dream castle for the Princess car track, which became our workplace.

One Barbie then bossed all the other Barbies at work (and one Ken) telling them what to do. Since I am all the work Barbies, and my little sweetie was the boss Barbie, I scrambled around performing my tasks. It was a lot of fun working for a bossy four-year-old.

When boss Barbie came home, she picked up the kids on time, gave them treats and ate pretend mac and cheese.

My granddaughter informed me that our barbies would not need any more boys. No boys were allowed in our Barbie company. When I asked why the granddaughter said that boys are not needed.

I asked enough questions that my granddaughter wanted to know if I had Barbies growing up. I assured her I had but that my Barbies were not adventurous. She loved the word adventurous and kept using it the rest of the afternoon.

Growing up, my Barbies where all skinny Caucasian girls with long legs, slim waists, and luscious blonde hair. There was a Black barbie, but all she was the same White Barbie made with brown plastic and brown hair. Her features were still very much Caucasian.

My granddaughter’s Barbies are all shapes and colors. There is a “curvy” workout Barbie that is double the size of normal Barbies. She has large thighs, arms, and a normal waist. Each type of ethnic Barbie has slightly different facial features. Way cool. There is a Hawaiian mermaid Barbie with pink and gold hair that lights up, and there is a veterinarian Barbie who has dogs and cats that she is treating. Barbie has infiltrated every profession: there are dancers, pilots, workout artists, businesswomen, and fashionista Barbies.

Barbie still has a pink car, but now she is driving it wherever she wants whenever she wants to go.

The change is not in the Barbies. The change is how my granddaughter is being taught to think. Girls can do and be anything. She believes that her Barbies can be the bosses of everyone; that she can travel and take care of herself. Her Barbies are every color and size and can work in any profession.

“But there was one girl who had a big influence over me. Barbie. I worshipped Barbie. In fact, I would say Barbie was my twelve-inch plastic life coach. She had it all, a camper, a dune buggy, even a dream house. Part of why it was a dream house to me was that she was the only one who lived there. Her boyfriend, Ken, came to visit when she — er, I decided. She had a sports car and would bounce from job to job as she — er, I saw fit.Barbie owned zero floral baby-making dresses. I craved that indepence. And her weird-ass boobs? So what? She still reached the steering wheel of her royal blue sports car. Some people thought that the fact that her feet were fucked and she couldn’t stand was a problem. But to me, it meant she was free. Free from standing at a stove, or a washing machine, or with a baby hanging off her hip. She has no hip. She has no hips. Plus, she didn’t have to walk; she drove her convertible everywhere. God, I loved Barbie. She was free in every way I knew how to define freedom.”
Lizz Winstead, Lizz Free Or Die

When we were worn out from pushing the Barbies around, going to work and the mall, we sat and had a tea party. My granddaughter allowed me to be in charge of the tea party, (she was tired and it was almost time for her nap). I got real chocolate cookies to go with our tea.

I had a great time. I like these badass Barbies who are training future badass women.

***

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