Before I became a parent, I always vowed that my future daughter would never be allowed within 500 feet of a Barbie doll. I’d never read any official scientific studies, but I was pretty sure that merely glancing sideways at a Barbie doll would instantly lower her self-esteem, give her an eating disorder and guarantee her a career as a stripper. Fast-forward to now and, of course, my child has numerous Barbies, and she has not once mentioned wanting to become a stripper.
I have never personally purchased any of these Barbies, unless you count the Hannah Montana doll that was the only thing she wanted from Santa during the Great Hannah Montana Reign of Terror in 2009. When you have a daughter, though, Barbies just magically accumulate at your house. When WCK turned six, we invited her whole kindergarten class to her birthday party, and nearly every boy gave her a Barbie. WCK was confused, and I told her that that’s just what boys think girls want for their birthday. I’m not faulting you, mothers of boys! Barbies are, like, $5.99 per doll, and they’re very easy to grab from Target and then wrap or stick into a gift bag. As someone who has shopped for a lot of classmate birthday presents over the years, I totally get it.
Still, I was not about to buy these Barbies myself until I found out that they now make Barbies that do important things. My first purchase was a Barbie astronaut suit, because WCK always says she wants to be the first woman on the moon. WCK carried the astronaut around with her for weeks. Then, right before the election, I had to buy “President Barbie 2012”, which features Barbie in a pink power suit. I got one of those for my niece, too, in case the two Barbies wanted to have a debate. Then, just in time for Christmas, I found out that they make Paleontologist Barbie! Seriously! WCK has wanted to be a paleontologist since she was two, so I had to order one of those from Amazon as one of her Christmas gifts from Santa. It just arrived today. The funniest part is not that Paleontologist Barbie is wearing a sparkly pink vest or a tight-fitting t-shirt with sparkly gold dinosaurs on it. No, the best part is that the fossils she’s digging up are covered in glitter. The pessimist in me thinks that the Barbie Corporation only believes girls can be interested in science if glitter is involved. The optimist in me wants to think that Barbie has unearthed a yet-undiscovered dinosaur species: The Sparklesaurus. She’ll go back to the university and write all kinds of papers on it and prove that glitter existed in the Jurassic Era.
And if Barbie’s theory is ever disproved, she can fall back on her career as a stripper.