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27 November 2011


Who's a daughter without a Barbie? Many are very critical of this fresh-faced Winsconsin girl who first came into the world on 9 March, 1959. She has been blamed for eating disorders and distorted body image ever since, demonized by feminists as an imaginary ideal woman. But, come on! Girls are far more intelligent than Barbie critics, they know their dolls are just dolls. Barbie is more like a superhero for them. She's friendly, she has friends of all nationalities, she likes a lot of different things. You can go on a safari adventure with her, then rock the red carpet. And what's wrong in some great fashion instillation after all? She can be a fashionista and teach girls that they can be anything they want to be. There was the president Barbie, the austronaut, the soldier, the rockstar, the doctor, the gymnast. She also encourages to use imagination, with endless possibilities. 

I'm team barbie, definitely. I allow my daughter to play endless hours with her dolls, just like I did with mines. I actually think Barbie empowers feminism in her own dynamic way. She shows that women have superior social etiquette and that important galas don't require men in attendance, that alternative lifestyles are possible and that it's cool to have many careers. You can have love and work at the same time, and reinventing yourself can be a good thing. What other toy gives yo so many lessons in one?

To support my ideas even more, look what Barbie Fun Facts I found. Did you know that:
  • Barbie® doll has had more than 80 careers -- everything from a rock star to a paleontologist to a presidential candidate.
  • Barbie® doll represented a candidate for President in 1992 and ran again in 2000 with a platform of opportunities for girls, educational excellence and animal rights. 
  • In 1997, Share A Smile® Becky® was the first Mattel, Inc. fashion doll introduced with a wheelchair.
  • Italian was the first nationality Barbie® doll represented in the Dolls of the World® Collection.
  • Quinceanera Teresa® doll was released in Mexico in 1994 to celebrate Girls Day. 
  • Barbie® doll has represented 45 different nationalities.
  • The first black and Hispanic Barbie® dolls were introduced in 1980. 2002 marks the debut of Kayla, Barbie doll’s new multi-cultural friend.
  • Barbie® doll has had over 43 pets including 21 dogs, 14 horses, 3 ponies, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe and a zebra.  
  • Barbie.com is an online community for girls with the mission to engage, enchant and empower girls by inspiring them to be creative and explore their individual interests. 
  • The Barbie® Polaroid I-zone is an instant camera that allows girls to create postage-size sticky pictures of all their fun activities.
  • Barbie® doll’s boyfriend, Ken® doll made his debut two years after Barbie in 1961 and in 2001 marks his 40th anniversary.

Given that premise, it's no surprise that I rushed to the Barbie and Lego Exhibition in Ljubljana this weekend. These two of the world's most succesfull toys both celebrate their 53rd anniversary this year. We couldn't miss it. It was amazing indeed, I recognized a few Barbies I had from the 70's (whose bodies were mutilated by the fury of my dog, who used them as bones -sigh!) and, needless to say, my baby girl went nuts, literally! The show featured so many wonderful dools, oh my! Here are my favorites.

Harley Davidson Barbie
Ferrari Barbie: life in the fast lane is possible for girls too!
Ecstatic princess among Barbie Sirenes
The Cinema section: Gone with the wind and Monroe celebrations!
Their Hignesses Princess Sisi and Franz Joseph of Austria
Barbie Statue of Liberty, limited edition.
Normally I have to beg her for modeling, while here ...
Princesses section
Elvis mania
The Lord of the Ring and Superman
Dolls of the World (my favorites)
Moon and Sun Exclusives
Peruvian Barbie, one of my favorites all the time.
Barbie Cat Woman -Meow!

The exhibition was accompanied by  a programme of children's events. My Lil Princess joined the Barbie sewing clothes. She created a few elegant outfits.

I told you my girl has sense of fashion!

Now, let me tell you, given my passion for Barbie, I could even tolerate some mutilation because it's another thing Barbie is helping girls do: outgrow herself. According to researchers, there's nothing to worry about if your children torture their dolls. It's just a rite of passage and a rejection of their past. Of course I would very much prefer if Alice started collecting dolls rather than torturing her, like I did. Keeping our inner child intact helps living a fuller life, after all. But well, shall I find a Barbie burnt in the microwave in her pre-teen years, I'll try to be calm all the same. It's just another sign of versatility from this great, great toy!

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