Barbie is turning 49 this year and so am I. Too frightening — really. She still looks better in a swimsuit than I ever did in my lifetime. NPR has a great podcast and accompanying article. Here are some interesting excerpts:
The first version was based on a German doll named Bild Lilli. She, in turn, had been inspired by a cartoon character with a fondness for sugar-daddies.
“They basically copied the face,” Blitman explains. “So it’s very hard. I mean, this is not the face of a 17-year-old. This is the face of a 40-year-old woman who’s seen a lot of action.”
Orenstein thinks the fact that Barbie is stubbornly amorphous may explain one of the more common activities that children engage in with Barbie: torturing her.
Orenstein says a friend told her about a child who lined her Barbies up in the driveway, then had her mother drive over them.
I don’t remember torturing Barbie but I did stuff one of her dresses to make her look pregnant.
My first Barbie wasn’t a Barbie at all but her best friend Midge (she had red hair). My older sister got the blond Barbie. I was jealous even though Midge looked friendlier. I remember having a Twist-n-Turn Barbie with bendable legs – that’s the one that got pregnant.
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