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The Barbie Controversy

With all the controversy about the new Barbie movie I had to put in my 2 cents! I got my first Barbie doll when I was 7 or 8. It was the brunette bubble hairdo with a red bathing suit & my Father gave it to me for Valentines Day. It was love at first sight!

My cousin who I think got the blonde ponytail Barbie & I proceeded to play Barbies almost every weekend for about 5 years. We collected all the dolls, had all the clothes, the car, large & small carrying cases in various colors. It was an incredibly fun time in my life & a big part of it was Barbie!


We were totally empowered by those dolls! We had Ken & Alan, but the focus was on Barbie or Midge or any of the myriad of dolls sold under the Barbie logo. We built elaborate houses out of small household objects ( sometimes to the chagrin of our Mothers) & we had amazing careers! Our Barbie’s did not stay home. They didn’t cook! They didn’t clean! They had the boyfriends, but no real move towards family as I remember it. These women had fantastic careers sometimes driven by the outfits that were produced by Mattel.


If you were raised in the late 50’s or early 60’s you more then likely had a Barbie. I don’t remember for even a minute thinking about her body or my body image. I thought about how we would be successful & conquer the world in fabulous outfits. Katrina vander Heuvel in her article for The Guardian said, Barbie represents limitless possibilities, diverse careers & female empowerment! It did for me! She goes onto say that young girls sometimes experienced lower self esteem & desires to look skinnier because of their relationship to Barbie. I can see that now, but that was never my experience.


Katrina goes onto say that Conservatives who are knocking the movie are accusing the it of manipulating the American public into consuming Chinese propaganda via subliminal messages about international disputes … it’s a movie about a doll !! One Conservative critic said, there is no notion of family or faith in the movie … really give it a break! It’s a movie about a fashion doll! Conservatives have always had a record of being offended by women who look like Barbie. So here’s my question has anyone seen the women on Fox News they all look like Barbie! Get over it!!


I am looking forward to seeing the movie! I am equally a Greta Gerwig fan. Her films are women focused stories whose characters are curious, rebelling & insightful. I expect that there is more than one message in this movie. All the Barbie hype has only made me remember how much fun I had playing with those dolls! In some ways it shaped me as an adult! I ended up with a career in retail & I still absolutely love clothes! By the way I have almost all my dolls & clothes & every now & then I take them out & dress them up & it brings back awesome memories! Barbie Rocks !


Go see the movie!


Patti M. Kasanow

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