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Barbie exhibit in Montreal: My namesake struts her stuff

juicy barbie

I was 11 when I first heard about Barbie Dolls. Too old to get one but somehow connected because my nickname was Barbi.

farah barbieIn the 50s and the beginning of the 60s we had not yet seen anything wrong with her too long legs, the absence of her genitals, her marginal breasts and her perfect features.

She was definitely a step up from the “ugly doll” my grandfather gave me when I was 8. No matter what I did to fix her hair she still looked awful. But not perfect Barbie.

Years went by and I didn’t think much about Barbie until my daughters reached that age, 3 or 4 and started wanting Barbies.

Soon half a room was filled with her houses, her clothes, her appliances and her accessories.

Once or twice Molly had a go at remodeling her long hair but for the most part the Barbies were a great way for Amy and Molly, two years apart, to play together.

I remember spending hours sewing clothes by hand for the Barbies. When the girls were 4 and 6 we spent the summer in Japan and started collecting Japanese Barbies, who look Japanese.

coach barbieThey are shorter with darker hair, and their bodies more proportioned. I never went through the “should I let my daughters play with this sexist toy?” I did try giving them trucks and little cars but the only one I remember them playing with was the Barbie car.

Barbie and her name has always been part of my life. I never really took seriously the idea that the doll is ridiculous in its rendering of the female body.

I don’t think little girls really think about this or get the wrong idea about their own bodies from playing with a Barbie.

She’s a princess, a queen, a goddess, and Ken, well he’s no better at exemplifying the male body.

So let’s let Barbie evolve with the times: maybe she’s just a little slow to catch up with reality.

lucy barbie

Permanent exhibit boasts 1,000 Barbies

marilyn barbieYou don’t have to get all dolled up to enjoy the permanent exhibit of the iconic Barbie doll at Les Cours Mont-Royal on Peel St.

The exhibit, which opened in February and covers some 5,000 square feet, features 1,000 Barbies dressed à la mode (Dior, Versace, Wang), as celebrities (Marilyn Monroe, Beyoncé, Audrey Hepburn) and even as film characters (Hunger Games, Gone with the Wind). Although the 57-year-old doll has faced controversy for portraying unrealistic body images, contemporary Barbies are multi-racial and have more realistic body shapes.

Admission is free, but Make-a-Wish Quebec is accepting voluntary donations.

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