I was 11 when I first heard about Barbie Dolls. Too old to get one but somehow connected because my nickname was Barbi.
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.
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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.
They 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.
Permanent exhibit boasts 1,000 Barbies
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.