Barbie: A Life In Plastic
I'm Into Barbie!
I'll admit it. I love Barbie. I know that's not cool. I know it's right up there with loving Elvis. And yes, I do know he's dead and not part of the FBI witness protection program like some people think. Yes, I know it's probably creepy since I'm a grown woman. Not as creepy as collecting clowns, though. That would be SERIOUSLY creepy. And I don't collect Barbies, actually. I just like them. It's not like she's Chuckie or anything. How can you not like her, seriously? She's pretty, obviously ambitious, considering her numerous occupations over the years, and she has tons of clothes and shoes most women would all love to own...if only they were a little bigger. And she's mastered the art of putting on eyeliner which I never have gotten the hang of in all my years of wearing make-up... and I'm not made of plastic!
Plus, she's managed to dodge that marriage bullet with Ken for 50 years now. Yes, she's had lots of wedding dresses, but evidently she and Ken never quite made it down the aisle since they had a major break-up a few years ago. However, she and Ken were reunited, thanks to the toymakers at Mattel who decided to boost flagging ,yes, I said flagging, sales of Barbie by causing drama in Barbie's perfect pink life.
Barbie Back In The Day
I got my first Barbie when I was six years old. To say, I was thrilled was an understatement. My sisters already had ponytail Barbie and I ended up with bubble hair Barbie. She had a big bouffant hairdo, blue eyeshadow, and heavily lined eyes.I thought she was Da Bomb! I also got Ken who at that time had a crew cut. They were dressed in their wedding clothes, but alas, for Ken, it was not meant to be! My brother's G.I. Joe starting cutting in on Ken's action, because he had bendable arms and legs, therefore could put his arms completely around Barbie in a passionate embrace. That dork Ken could only sit with his legs straight out and his arms straight out, looking like a geeky robot. But G.I. Joe, was so flexible...and that scar on his cheek! He was a real man! I'm firmly convinced that Ken was behind the whole dastardly plot of shrinking G.I. Joe to some silly five inch tall action figure, so he and Barbie would be no more. And Ken took full advantage of the situation.
Barbie's Way Too Cool for Kids
What brought out my closet fascination with Barbie is a full color catalog that came in my mail entitled "Barbie Collector." Why this came to me since I haven't been a Barbie collector since I was about ten, I can't say. But I had to look and I have to say, that Barbie has done it again! She's not only her own stunningly gorgeous self, dressed in designer togs by such well-known designers as Bob Mackie, but she's Ellie Mae on "The Beverly Hillbillies ", she's Jeanie on "I Dream of Jeanie", she's Lucille Ball of "I Love Lucy" fame, and Samantha Stevens on "Bewitched." I told you that girl was ambitious!
Looking at these fabulously made dolls and their amazing outfits and their delicately crafted faces and perfectly coiffed hair, my 11 year old son asked, "How do they make those things, anyway?" In all my years of playing with Barbie and the many different ones I had over the years, I never once thought about how she was made. This is why boys should never be allowed to play with Barbies. You just need to appreciate them for who they are, not for how they're made!
They Should Cost More!
Ever the educator, I had to look it up to answer my son's question. And I will say I was shocked. After years of thinking Barbie was as serene and transparent as her seemingly unruffled plastic surface, I found out what goes under that rooted blond hair is a heck of a lot of hard work! Seeing how Barbies are made, I'm shocked at how little the base price ones really cost. It's an amazingly intricate and delicate process. The faces are designed by true artists and translated into metal molds. There are literally hundreds of different Barbie face molds, each with their own distinctive expression, eye color, and face make-up. Once the faces are cast in vinyl or porcelain if she's a high end, collector Barbie, each one is individually hand painted. Their hair is machine rooted, with some help from human hands, and each Barbie gets individual attention from a Barbie beautician to trim up any wayward strands and make her hair salon perfect before she goes to wardrobe.
The Finished Product...Look At Her!
After being molded, painted, curled, cut, and dressed in the latest fashion attire, you'd think Barbie would have the decency to look a little stressed, but no! She looks like she just came back from a day at the day spa...every day. Her lipstick never smudges, her eyeliner never ends up in raccoon rings under her eyes, and her foundation never fades away into her pores by noon. I'm so jealous! Not cuckoo jealous like some of the women I've seen on t.v. talk shows who worship Barbie so much, they've had themselves altered by plastic surgery to actually LOOK like her. That's just plain weird.
Mine is more of a wistful wouldn't-it-be-nice-to-be-that-effortlessly-gorgeous-every-day kind of jealous. I guess more of an admirer, I should say. Barbie and I go back a long way and as long as she stays as lovely as she is, keeps up with fashion, and doesn't have any kind of mid-life crisis on me, I guess we'll stay friends. Even if she is plastic.