Barbie Turns 50

Dear Barbie,

You and I have known each other for a long time.

Do you remember when we first met?  It was 1964.  I was 4, you were 5.  We spent hours together each day, styling your hair, choosing your outfits, poking beaded earrings straight into your little rubber head.

It was magical.

You were such a delightful, albeit usually naked, companion, ready and willing to take on any new adventure.

We camped; we swam; we rode our bikes.

You even agreed to marry Ken, over and over again, despite his fake plastic hair, despite your real attraction to the G.I. Joes in my brother's closet.

Admittedly, I wasn't much of a girly-girl, and you often got set aside as I hiked in the woods looking for snakes, and collected salamanders in the creek.  I left you at home when I shot my BB gun, and played football with my brothers.

But I don't think you minded so much.  You were busy with your careers, all 75 of them.  In the past five decades, you've been everything from a neuro-surgeon to an executive, to a rock star.  You've inspired millions of young women to be anything and anyone they want to be.

For this, I commend you.

But Barbie, woman to woman, friend to friend, I have to tell you:  I have some concerns as you head into middle age.

Mattel has reinvented you once again for its new Spring line.  Capitalizing on the popularity of tattoos, Mattel has introduced "Totally Stylin' Tattoos" Barbie.

She comes complete with 40 tattoo stickers for Barbie, and a faux tattoo gun with wash-off tats for kids to ink themselves.

You can bet the masses have spoken.  The argument has been made that this Tattoo Barbie will attract young kids to expose body parts to show off tattoos.

Other parents fear the message will be given that "tattoos are easy to put on and take off."

I can't say I'm sold on either of these ideas.

Kids have been using temporary tattoos for years.  Is exposure of body parts really a problem?

Certainly the grand majority can understand the difference between temporary and permanent.  Does a kid pay a few hundred dollars for a tattoo and think it will fade by next week?  I don't think so.

I'm more concerned with the notion that Barbie needs to be more hip, that she needs to keep up with the times.

Check your driver's license, Barbie.  You're 50 years old.

If you allow Mattel to turn you into a stamp tramp, there's no telling what will be next.

Perhaps Botox Barbie, complete with needle for injection.

Or, Breast Implant Barbie.  Fill the balloons to your desired size.

How about Liposuction Barbie, with vacuum attachment.

Barbie, you are an ageless beauty, the smart and responsible girl next door.  You are an American icon. 

Isn't that enough?

You don't need a tattoo at this stage of the game.  Tell Mattel it needs to scrap the body art.  We love you just the way you are.

Really, you are such a doll.

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