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Why Barbies Are More Than Just Dolls With Pretty Faces

“Be who you want to be.” 

That was the Barbie slogan I grew up with. Barbie told me I could be anything and everything. I could be a vet, or a doctor, a ballerina, or my personal favorite, I could even be a mermaid. With magical powers. And Fairy wings. Because let’s be real… that’s all anyone really wants to be anyway.

I’m just guessing here, but at some point in my life someone had to have told me that contrary to what Barbie had been telling me, I could not be a mermaid with fairy wings. Leading me to picking a more realistic career path, which then created the struggling college student, I am today. The point is, Barbie allowed me to dream up whatever I wanted. She helped me dream big.

Barbie just recently released a video called Imagine the Possibilities, where they place little girls into jobs that they could possible have one day. Needless to say, it’s adorable, especially the soccer coach girl.

Check it out:

Somewhere along the line, people decided that Barbie creates self-image issues in young girls due to her unrealistic body proportions. While I agree that body image wise, Barbie has some issues, if you examine the history of the doll, you’ll find out she was designed in 1959. This was a time when women were just starting to break the “women belong in the kitchen” stereotype. Barbie was a way to sneak ideas of women’s equality into pop culture at a time when those ideas weren’t as accepted. She showed young girls that
they could and should have a choice with what they do with their lives.

Barbie doesn’t tell young girls that they have to be these skinny blonde girls with big boobs to have a happy life. The slogan isn’t “Be me.” It tells them to be who they are and who they want to be one day.

Like most things in this world, Barbie has her positive and negative aspects. She’s not perfect and doesn’t give off the perfect standards for young girls to follow, but I like to believe she stands for some amazingly powerful ideals. Whether you love or hate Barbie, she’s not evil. She was made with a great purpose and they are trying to keep her purpose updating along with our society.
Did Barbie make me hate what I saw in the mirror? No, I don’t think so. Could someone analyze my current problems and then relate them all back to the fact I played with dolls when I was little? Probably. However, I also think they could do the same with the fact that I had Nerf gun wars with my brother or that I shared a room with my sister most of my life. Heck, I bet they could even tell me I’m messed up because I’m a middle child. Whatever I did in the past made me who I am. And I kind of like it that way. Barbie influenced and all.

Featured image via “Collective Couture Event (2018 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention – Phoenix, Arizona)” by cseeman / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


  1. This is brilliant. I feel exactly the same way. I think Barbie gets a lot flack without much appreciation for her context… and I can see why the skinny blonde with big boobs strikes the wrong chord with a lot of people thanks to the history of race all over the world. But, while much of the world is still teaching the opposite, I think Barbie has used her platform (however white and blonde) to teach us that girls of all races are beautiful, fashionable, intelligent, and capable! I also think the new lines of dolls that have come out in the past few years are making leaps and bounds toward normalizing various body types and races! It’s a bit funny….. but I’m also white and blonde and the only Barbie I ever had as a child was Asian (and that was like 10-15 years ago). This racial diversity is another example of how Barbie is putting ideas about equality into pop culture now, in a time in which there are still racial/gender inequalities in a lot of our society. Thank you for sharing!


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