I’m a Barbie Girl: National Barbie Day

The title pretty much says it, folks. I grew up on Barbies.


Of course, kids almost never play with toys as intended, so my Barbie games were always sort of a Hunger Games/The Bachelor hybrid (looking at you, Kiera Cass), and they definitely involved some “Stair-Case Murder.” 


I was always a bigger girl—in height and weight—but I didn’t really have any problems with Barbie’s size. To me, a doll was a doll, and she had some really sparkly outfits. I liked pasta and I could run fast; that’s all that really mattered. I only really encountered negative body image when girls in school started projecting unto me. 


The dolls were divorced from any kind of cultural meaning for us (aside from those rad movies they made), but what kind of lasting impact did they have for girls with less liberal parents? Or girls who weren’t white?


Well, I can’t speak for them. I know that it has to suck to not be able to find a doll that looks like you, but my only real limitation (in my child mind) was limited to hair color. 


Now, I’m not going to get into the intricacies of racism in toy making, as I am


1. Not the right person to talk about it AND

2. Will write a 10-page paper from my limited white-girl point of view.


But I would like to talk more about body image surrounding weight.


As you may know, I’ve been losing weight since September (November was ROUGH tho), so I’m at least a little smaller than I was before. But, as you might also know (from my article that I wrote that I’m linking), It’s mostly a “I want to run really fast, climb things good, and not die from the deadly respiratory virus that’s shut us down for a year” thing rather than a body image thing. I put on a cool dress yesterday after I got back from my walk (5k loop, let’s go!!) and felt fancy as sh*t. 


I also came to the realization while writing this that the dress I put on was the same dress one of my Barbies also had (except I had Midge, because we were “twinsies”). So how did it feel for me to wear a dress that a much thinner and more “objectively attractive” model had worn? To be honest, I didn’t really care. Barbie is plastic. She’s literally made of plastic, and she’s fake. I looked hot in it. I liked the way it looked and how it made me feel, even though I’ve seen it on a skinnier figure.


Because guess what? 


I’ve been seeing the same clothing I wear on skinny girls for years. I’ve had to wear uniforms that other girls had to tie up because they were “soooo huge omg” for years. I’m used to trying on pants and having them come to my ankles, while my sister has to cuff her jeans.


Barbie isn’t the problem, at least not for me. The problem has always been when people try to make me feel bad about my size. 


A symbol of skinniness isn’t anywhere as hurtful as half the things skinny girls say to me (yes I know y’all are trying, good job and I’m proud of you, but honestly any way you talk about weight is going to make me feel weird and put on the spot). Barbie Millicent Roberts isn’t even about weight. She’s about fashion (and also running for president before Hillary Clinton; talk about a girl-boss) 


Barbie has had so many careers that I’m just linking the list because the thought of scrolling through this makes me wish I was fake too.


So, as a larger than average woman (again, I’m roughly the size of your average man in America), I don’t care that Barbie was skinny. 


I do care that Barbie got a bunch of cool careers, and I can only have about 4 of them. I would also like to have her wardrobe in my size, as those clothes were rad and I’m salty that plus-size clothes are more expensive.