Politically Incorrect Barbie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   In most houses, the attic holds an-tiques,furniture, old clothing and knick-knacks. In my house, the attic is ahaven for old Barbie accessories. The Camper and Dream House are on theleft, the Salon and Kitchen are to the right, and canisters of dressesand shoes are everywhere. Even though the accessories and dolls havebeen put away, my memories of Barbie will never go away, no matter howold I get.

As a five-year-old with an older sister, the mostimportant thing to me was to be just like her. Only nine, Kristi wasinfatuated with the emaciated plastic we lovingly call Barbie. AsKristi's number one fan, I too fell in love with Barbie, and everythingthat she came with.

Play time for Kristi and me simply became"Barbie time." We would scurry to set up every accessory,although we accumulated so much "Barbie junk" that it usuallytook longer to set up than to play. Barbie time was generally a bondingexperience for us, but it did cause some problems. More often than not,Kristi and I would grab for the same blue chiffon dress when it cametime for Barbie to go to the doctor, her date or the salon. We wouldscream at each other, insisting it was our Barbie's turn to wear thefrilly dress; the loser would be forced to wear pink chiffon. My sisterand I were so passionate about the skimpy, size negative 12 dress thatwe actually kept a record of whose turn it was to wear it. Pathetic,yes. Atypical, definitely not.

My parents would often makedisparaging remarks about our favorite plaything, commenting on herdisproportionate chest-to-waist ratio and about how much her feet musthurt since she wore high heels whether riding her bike, camping orsleeping.

But when I was five or six, I didn't think about howillogical Barbie is. I thought about how she would look in the blackmini-skirt I saw at the toy store, or how unfair it was that the othergirls in my class had the Dream Mansion while I was stuck with the basicDream House. If other girls were like me, Barbie was an emotionaloutlet, too. If I had a good day, Barbie would go shopping, change heroutfit a million times and go out with Ken on a fabulous date. But if Iwas in a bad mood, Barbie would have to struggle through her day in asingle black outfit and would inevitably hit Skipper with her pinkCorvette.

No matter how ridiculous Barbie may seem to me nowwith her impossible figure, vast wardrobe and bottomless wallet, none ofthat mattered when I was little. Barbie was my best friend. I livedvicariously through her, released my emotions into her thin body andtold her my deepest secrets so she could act them out. No matter whatcritics claim, Barbie didn't ruin my life or give me a poor body image.After all, even then I knew she was only a skinny piece of plastic withan excessive wardrobe and a very busy social life!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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