Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy 50th Barbie!

I love Barbie. I think it's incredible she's still an icon at 50. Barbie is going strong. I still have my dolls: Barbie, Ken & Ginger, a later incarnation of Barbie with a platinum bubble hair style. Remember those? My Barbie is original and so is my Ken doll. I did, however make up her face and take down her hair to twist into a chic chignon so she's not collectible.

My dolls were played with. They were loved. They dated. They lived together in my Barbie house...Barbie & Ginger not Barbie and Ken. I have all my original Barbie clothes in a Barbie wardrobe and they are in pretty darn good shape. I have the accessories too. Barbie the artist with the portfolio, Barbie the secretary, Barbie the business woman. Ken the tennis hottie, Ken the golfer, Ken the...I don't know. He never seemed like he was enough for her even to my 10 year old eyes. He was always just Ken. Kind of dull of but handy.

Barbie and Ken played tennis, went out in their evening clothes, had sex although Ken has no equipment. They eventually married. I have the tux and bridal gown, bouquet, veil, cummerbund. They dominated my 8-13 year old life. I don't think I stopped playing with them til I hit 9th grade, grew out my bangs, wore a smidgen of eyeliner and a ghostly pearlescent lipstick and became too cool for dolls.

Fashion Plate by Cole Scott Images

Girls Kick Ass by Cole Scott Images

Untitled by Cole Scott Images

My parents moved out of the house I grew up in when I was 22. I had lovingly put away all my dolls at fourteen. My parents were kind enough to keep them for me all those years, up in the attic of their retirement home. Once in a while, when I'd visit, I'd take down a box and look through it. I still have my beautiful Madame Alexanders and their wardrobes too.

My husband became fascinated with my Barbies earlier this year. He could not believe all the clothes and accessories and the way I'd kept them. He arranged a few scenes for a photo session. I like the first two. The last one bothers me. I look at it as Barbie erotica. He says it depicts closeness and sweetness.

She's kept her figure and her looks. That's a hell of a thing for a gal at fifty!

For more fun facts and stories on Barbie at fifty go to this page.

18 comments:

Ruth said...

So glad you posted this!

The photos your husband took are gorgeous. I agree that last one is pretty hot!

I'm impressed with how pristinely you took care of your Barbies and clothes. I on the other hand did not. I did make a lot of clothes for my daughter's Barbies. I loved looking at Princess Diana's wardrobe for inspiration. I made some pretty cool outfits.

I used to go downtown in our little town to the dime store and just window shop the Barbie outfits. I couldn't usually buy any, just once in a while.

Did you see the AARP aging Barbie at 50? It's a cool site. You can click a button and age her, then rejuvenate her to her youth.

Judy said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who still has her Barbie!

Susan said...

Pity me, please! I was poor and had no Barbies. I played vicariously with my friend's Barbie and Ken and I think she also had Midge with the dark flip. How lucky that you still have yours and they're so well preserved!

Uh, I can only say one thing about that last shot. I ain't showin' it to my husband. I don't think his heart could take it!

Lover of Life said...

Oh, now I really miss my barbies. I was not so careful and they are all gone, but I remember each one of your outfits! The black evening gown with the ruffle at the bottom was one I sought for ages! But it was $5.50! It could be had at Uncle Happy's Toy Store if only I could come up with that $5.50!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

ArtSparker said...

I think your husband was having way too much fun with that third shot.

Marguerite said...

Cal. Girl- I still have all of my Barbie stuff, too! It is all, still at my parent's house, in my childhood room! My favorite outfit was the gold brocade dress and matching coat with faux fur cuffs. Great pics and post!

Come on over for a visit and pick- up your award!

Deboshree said...

Hey there!

Nice post but I have to agree with you. The last one looks more like barbie erotica than anything else..hehe..
I had a wonderful collection too and I thoroughly loved them. I used to long for a barbie house but I could never get it. My loss but yes..the barbie world is wonderful and beautiful.Three cheers for barbie!

Regards
Deboshree

Greg said...

It's nice that you have these after so many years to go along with your memories!

Reya Mellicker said...

At my house, we were not allowed to have Barbies because my mother, a very vehement feminist, believed that her exaggerated figure, hair, and her feet, permanently in the high heel position, was degrading to "real" women.

At 10 though I didn't understand all that, I just thought she was mean. Secretly I would play with a friend's Barbie, never admitting at home that I engaged in the subjectifying of women.

Early feminism was so extreme. Oh well.

California Girl said...

Ruth & Judy: Thanks. My mother in law used to make fun of me because I was a girly girl with dolls and all. Her daughter was a tom boy. I had that in me as I played baseball in the street with my mostly male neighbor kids and climbed trees and scooted down hillsides on flat cardboard. I did love my dolls and still lovingly caress their clothing. The details are quite wonderful.

Went to the site and aged Barbie. Eeek! She looks worse than me. Could not get the doll to change with the years tho', i.e. the year chart they tell you to click on to view different Barbie incarnations did not work for me. Did it work for you?

Susan: I do pity you. Lover of Life refers to a $5.50 price point for an outfit but I don't remember the price points. What I do remember is saving my allowance to buy the clothes. Going to the toy store was such a treat.

LOL: Love it that you remember the prices and the name of your toy store. I love real toy stores and I long ago stopped going to Toys R Us. Hated that place when the kids were young. We did have a lovely local toy store in the town where they were growing up. It was very special.

Art & Susan: read your comments to my husband and he laughed like hell.

Marguerite: I'm headed your way...

Deboshree: The house was a Christmas or birthday gift as I recall. I treasured it. The dolls had a bachelor girl life. I was very into "That Girl" and probably had Barbie & Ginger mimic her girl in the big city style.

When you think about it, Barbie may have had unrealistic proportions but she did set me up to expect to have a career long before Women's Lib & Women's Studies came along. That is pretty good!

Greg: Nice to see a guy weigh in on Barbie. Thanks!

California Girl said...

Reya: read my comment response to Deboshree. I really think having a doll that had a career (I saw her as an artist) with her own place and a boyfriend who didn't dominate her life (clothes did) was pretty good preparation for the soon-to-be-prevalent feminist world. Dolls enhanced my fantasy world just as toy soldiers, building blocks, Tonka trucks & cars and a RR train set enhanced my brother's. It's all good. We probably had more interesting times than the kids playing video games today even if we were the first real TV generation.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I love the first 2 shots. I agree that the last (in spite of your husbands intentions) speaks to me of things that no little girl should view. Sorry!

I didn't own a Barbie. My mom gave me the "more wholesome" Tammy. However, my sister who came after me had a Barbie and then my even younger one had loads of Barbies and accessories. It's wonderful to be able to see up-close the toys we loved as a child; the memories they evoke. You are so fortunate to still have yours. Mine were played with by 2 other sisters and tortured and shot by GI Joe by 2 other brothers. Oh well! I still have my memories! (And my Tammy from Ebay)

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

California Girl said...

Sandy: my husband thinks only the women will think he was off center wit Barbie & Ginger. He posted it to Flickr and the male photog comments are equally amusing. As for GI Joe torturing Barbie, hahahaha, that's funny. My Barbie ruled her roose (Barbie Dream House). She kicked Ken's ass in tennis and broke dates and all that good stuff. She was a women's libber before her time.

Poetikat said...

You have given me a brilliant idea! It's my best friend's 50th this year and I'm going to get her a Barbie.

CG - you may enjoy my post on Blasts From the Past: "A Doll's House".

Kat

California Girl said...

Poetikat: That's a great idea. I would probably laugh and then play with the doll if someone gave one to me. Also, I'd see if my old Barbie clothes fit new Barbie. Ha!

Headin' your way now...

Poetikat said...

I should have told you that Blasts From the Past is my companion-blog to Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes. Forgive me - it's that midlife brain thing.

Kat

DJan said...

Great pictures! I love them, and you are very fortunate to be the kind of person to keep things like this until they are totally cool again! I wish I had done that with my Little Lulu comic books.

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Christina

Christina
by Cole Scott