Don't judge me! LOL…
Why was I so obsessed with Barbie dolls? The glamour. The idea of perfection probably affected my subconscious and sense of self. I wanted what she seemed to have. Everything.
"Ninety percent of American girls ages three to 10 own at least one Barbie, according to the doll’s maker, Mattel, and that’s just the primary market." – Forbes
Mattel marketed this toy like a beast and being a child of the 80's Barbie was the "you gotta have it" toy. So I suppose it was inevitable that Barbie made it into my toy bin.
Regardless of what critics of the toy, may argue, my dolls filled many of my play hours with fun and imagination. A childhood friend named Sue had what seemed to be the best of Barbie world. Barbie dreamhouse. Barbie car. Outfits galore, giving us plenty to swap and trade during play. A fun variety of dresses, blouses, tiny shoes, were at our finger tips nurturing our young imaginations to craft any story we desired to believe. I was in Barbie heaven. Sue would get so frustrated because all I ever wanted to play was Barbie. My poor friend!
Then there was the perfect man, Ken! Ha!! As I recall Sue had several Barbie's and yes you guessed it only one Ken. Hmmm, does that scenario sound typical of the dating scene today?
Whether at a playdate or home playing alone, this toy doll world would keep me occupied for hours. I'd braid Barbie's hair adorning her lengthy strands with colorful beads, hairbands, and barrettes. This is really where my emerging hair care skills were sharpened. My Barbie obsession even lead me to learn to stitch with needle and thread. I'd sew clothes, pillows, and whatever else I felt was necessary for Barbie. All of this Barbie play helped prepare me for my 8th grade Home Economics class. Anyone else remember those days?
Barbie and I were the best of gal pals.
My obsession with Barbie could have been due to social norms. Being raised wih a younger brother I had to find ways to keep myself busy. He and I would occupy our time together when skateboarding, playing board games or just cracking jokes. Yet it was often that he preferred doing "boy stuff" and I would be satisfied with staying inside my room playing pretend with Barbie. I learned from my play with Barbie. Domestication, personal care, and the ability to explore my imagination and dream.
Though Barbie was a favorite childhood toy of mine, I don't think of her as the best toy a child could have. Thinking back on my childhood obsession with Barbie reminds me of how strong an impression a child's toy can have on them.
I've read that children take things literal. And I can see where this is true with my own kids. As I raise my now 4 year old daughter I am very cautious about the toys she plays with. I much rather her be physical, and provide a variety of play things to occupy her time.
Funny enough I pass Barbie up in the stores often. Even still 2 Barbies have crept into Little Miss's collection. While current toy companies have come up with much more diverse looking Barbie options we have a hard time finding them in our local stores.
So as of late our current favorite is Doc McStuffins. It works for us!