November 12, 2009

Barbie, Beautiful Barbie

If you've read my profile, you know that I am working on a collection of essays about childhood and adolescence, called Never a Barbie. My aim is to update this blog once a week with Barbie bits and pieces that have not yet found a home in the longer works, but yesterday I ran across Barbie's first television commercial on You Tube, and just had to share. (Thanks to Barbie Collectors for posting.)

Last week I said that little girls were conditioned to identify with Barbie. Note the lyrics that follow the sales pitch:

Someday I'm gonna be exactly like you
'til then I know just what I'll do
Barbie, beautiful Barbie
I'll make believe that I am you.

I rest my case.


  1. And you notice they zoom in on the wedding dress as they sing "I'm gonna be exactly like you." No question at all what little girls need to aspire to....

    Great blog!

  2. Thanks!

    You probably also noticed the complete lack of career-related gear. Guess that came later, as Mattel realized the marketing possibilities.

  3. amanda put it perfectly.
    i'm going to have barbie nightmares now :|

  4. I agree super creepy. Even without my sound working I had the heebies. The blog is great Babs. I can't wait to read more.

  5. I think Amanda and Katie would agree that the song amps up the creepy factor. All of you should be glad you weren't silly enough to listen to the thing multiple times just so you could post the lyrics.

  6. Loved it (Barb) Have I offended by using that derivative? If so, it has been unintentional.
    I still tell people your theory about the blow dry gene- and give you credit for the concept.

    So what do you think about this year's holy grail of toys- the Zhu Zhu?

  7. Fran,

    I didn't know about Zhu Zhus -- the curse (or blessing?) of not having children or grandchildren, I suppose -- but after looking around a bit online, I think I want one. John and I are always looking for things that will amuse -- or annoy -- the cats. (Yeah, yeah, that's it...I want one for the *cats*.)

    Funny you should mention the blow-dry gene: it makes a cameo appearance in today's post, "Desperately Seeking Curls."

    And, no, you haven't offended me by calling me Barb. There is a whole lovely group of friends, mostly CCTers, who I met while going through a call-me-Barb phase. From them, from you, it is a term of endearment. What I found in Iowa, though (and in Michigan, although to a much lesser degree), is that Barb seemed to be the default form of Barbara, regardless of how I introduced myself. Imagine, total strangers, calling me Barb, as if they knew me! It felt overly personal, presumptuously intimate. Names are funny things. They "belong" to us, yet we have little control over what others do with them.