Friday, July 1, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Barbie®

Love her or hate her, Barbie has become an undeniable part of our culture.Lists Galore

I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding Barbie. Hopefully I won't get booed right off of Favourite Things Friday, because I choose to look past all the hype and see her for what she is; a plaything. Did I ever want to look like her? Well, not exactly. I wanted to be her size {as in 10" tall} so I could live in the Dream House and swim in the pool and drive the pink convertible and wear her shoes. But do I have body image issues because of her? No.

What I love about Barbie is that she can be anyone and do anything. And she looks spectacular doing it {and I'm talking clothes here, not body size}. The same doll, dressed a thousand different ways. Theme and variation. What's not to love?

I get the Barbie catalog every so often. I love to flip through and drool over all the outfits-in-miniature Barbie and company get to wear {as a side note, I tried sewing clothes for Barbie once. Super not fun}. Though I love to look, I am not an avid collector. My collection is hardly a collection at all. I have 12 dolls — the entire Wizard of Oz set released in 2007. This particular set {and I think there have been two others} includes Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch, Lullaby Munchkin, Munchkins Gift Set, The Wicked Witch of the West {my favorite}, and the Winkie Guard and Winged Monkey set. When I decided that I wanted the set, some of the dolls were no longer available. But when I do a thing, I do it properly. I had to have them all. I bought what was available and then stalked the auctions on eBay until I had every last doll. The most difficult to get was the Lullaby Munchkin. She was never sold individually. She only came in a gift set {which was no longer available} so the only way to get one was from someone who split up a set and put her up for auction. You know she was over-priced, but I had to have her to complete the set. My collection is sitting mint-in-their boxes patiently waiting for the library wing of Bug Cottage to be built, complete with glass display cases for things like dolls and chess sets. If you want to know the truth, though, I'm dying to take them out of their boxes and play with them. Dorothy's Ruby Slippers are to die for and I wonder if her dress is as soft as it looks.

The fun thing about Barbie is there is something for everyone. I love the recreation dolls, like the Wizard of Oz set and the Barbie loves Lucy collection. I think my favorite dolls are in the Barbie love Pop Culture collection. Wonder Woman. Bat Girl. Super Girl. Star Trek. Awesome! But certain of their collections are not for me. The vintage reproduction Barbies are a little bit creepy. How did they ever sell a single doll {much less become the sensation they are today} with that scowl she wears? I'm not overly fond of some of the Bob Mackie dolls either. Possibly the worst Barbie {and I use the term loosely to describe the molded plastic figures of either sex} ever put into production is the Edward Ken Doll from the Twilight series.

I think my favorite Barbie of all time, the one I wish I would have bought but didn't, is The Pirate Barbie® Doll. She debuted in 2007, riding on the coattails of the popular series of Pirate movies, with a gold label {production classification for collectors; each label color denotes how rare or common a doll is} and a retail price of $174.99. I'm fairly certain I had her in my on-line shopping cart more than once, but I could never press the checkout button. Eventually her price dropped, going down in increments. Her final selling price from Mattel was $55, but at the time groceries were higher on my priority list than doll collecting. I took a quick peek and she's going for as low as $75 and as high as $250 on eBay right now. To collect, or not to collect? Just look at her bad pirate self. Is she not the coolest Barbie you have ever seen?

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Jen said...

Once my local library had a Barbie display. They grouped the Barbies by generation, so the 50s, 60s, 70s and so on. It was so neat to watch Barbie grow and change over her lifetime, especially apparent in all her occupations and accessories. I had to laugh when the hot tub came out in the 80s and pregnant Barbie in the 2000s. It really said a lot about our culture. It was a fascinating timeline.

Jennifer Lovell said...

Your Wizard of Oz collection sounds really neat. I always thought it was a shame though that people have to keep their dolls in a box in order to maintain their value. Anyway, I'd love to see your dolls sometime.

P.S. I wonder if she really has anything to do with my body image issues? I don't think so, but it seems nicer to blame it on a toy than all those covergirl models...naaah. It's the covergirls. ; )

Sara said...

If barbie dolls were my thing (I only ever had one, that had a motor and could swim, and that was because I lived on a river) I would absolutely buy her. She looks awesome.

Jill said...

My favorite Barbie was babysitter Courtney. She was Skipper's size and she came with a baby. She had dark hair and glasses-like me!
I lost her somehow--my memory tells me that we were playing at a friend's house and I left Courtney there because we were going to continue our adventure the next day, but she went missing. But I could have lost her elsewhere...
Looking back, I preferred Skipper and her friends. But I loved my Princess Jasmine and Aladdin dolls. We did take them out of the box and play with them. When you're 10, what's the point if you can't touch?

Shay said...

Yes! Pirate Barbie is wayyyyy cool.

At the risk of getting myself booed off your blog , I have never owned a Barbie in my life. I made sure Miss P had several (and probably still has them stashed somewhere )

I enjoyed this trip down memeory lane though and about hearing your collecting experiences. Im a bit like that with my juicer collection!

Great post Elizabeth!

Unknown said...

I had a few Barbies when I was young. At that time they were all the same, other than the color of the hair. (I think I just dated myself). My daughter had about 30 of them, she was crazy about them. She had to have bicycling Barbie, Dr. Barbie, gymnastic Barbie, etc. etc. Funny thing - they all look the same when they are naked and they usually were.

I have never seen Pirate Barbie, but I would so own her. She is one cool and sexy looking Barbie. Not sure how good she would be at using a sword though!

pinksuedeshoe said...

My mom had an old 50s barbie that she let me play with growing up. And I LOVED her. I had a few myself, but I much preferred hers because the clothes were so much prettier and she had wigs. I'm sure she still has her somewhere. I should pull her out again, she was beautiful.

I was in Prague about 8 years ago and they had a toy museum that had a whole room devoted to barbies, all pristine and behind glass. It was amazing.

Paulette said...

I loved my Barbies when I was a kid. My favorite was a red-headed Midge with a bubble cut and freckles. I think I loved her because she wasn't quite as "perfect" as Barbie, but I thought she was beautiful and elegant. I also liked Skipper, but she didn't have the big wardrobe back then and being flat-chested, she swum in Barbie's outfits. Years later, I found my old dolls and my brothers had given Skipper a buzz cut. Just like most of my other toys, they had to try to wreck everything!

I haven't collected any of the dolls like the pirate, but I did go through a phase where I was buying them and reselling on ebay. I made a little profit and got to admire them while the auctions were going on. I had the Lucille Ball Barbie, Janis Joplin, and a few others. Even Frank Sinatra. I kinda wanted to keep him!

thea said...

I used to love playing with Barbie dolls. I had a Francie (I think that was her name); her legs were bendable - unless you bent them too much. Then the were just wobbly- and then there were Skipper and Tootie. My older sister had Ken, Barbie and Midge. Mine were well played with and I don't have them anymore.

I didn't want my girls to play with them which worked until someone gave one to us when my oldest daughter was 2. :)