Recently I was at a family gathering and my cousin’s daughter had a Barbie. I picked the toy up and, as she was dressed like an expensive stripper, said, “I didn’t know Barbie is working her way through college.”
I had Barbies as a kid. My best friend Sandy and I spent countless hours setting up elaborate houses for them and then torturing them by ripping off their heads, burying them alive in the sand box, using saplings to launch them a good 25 yards, making them have terrible and embarrassing gas, star in their own films spoofing Beverly Hills 90210, and occasionally melting their faces on a hot light bulb. I don’t think our Barbie games are typical, but our Barbies dressed pretty modestly for their adventures; most of their clothes had crotches and reasonable necklines. Big wedding dresses were normal attire for being thrown at a moving SUV.
I haven’t kept up with Barbie in our post 9-11 world, so I looked her up. She has a whole host of new careers but the part that annoys me is she dresses like a tramp for each and every one of them. Barbie’s job titles get a little abstract and for some reason they dumb it down for kids. Kids aren’t stupid, FYI. Why not use the title Pediatrician instead of Newborn Baby Doctor? Why encourage a lack of vocabulary? Oh, and by the way, Newborn Baby Doctor does her work in platform shoes and a Brazilian wax. She works two jobs to pay off her student debt.
Another possible career is a lifeguard that you can catapult out of a lifeguard chair, a computer engineer who has already ruined her vision squinting at a screen and wears stereotypical eyewear, or a cooking teacher/infomercial host. My personal favorite—which wasn’t technically a career Barbie but makes no sense for any other theme—is a “puppy potty trainer.” Here’s the run-down on that one: for a job, Barbie feeds some impeccably groomed dogs, and teaches them to crap all over the floor. Just try and find a federal NAICS code for that, why don’t you?
Barbie may be a busy woman, but she is a disappointment to me. I would have liked to see an archeologist, or a painter, or an EMT or something. Nope. Fashionista and Mermaid are the other Barbie options.
I went into the boy’s section of the toys, too, and found Nerf guns abound.
Aside from the obvious—that little Nerf darts are wasteful no matter what perspective you take on them—the kids they get to pose on the massive packaging aren’t having any fun. They look like they are thinking, “If this plastic-semi-automatic-glow-in-the-dark-ammunition Nerf gun doesn’t stop that SS officer, I will have to turn it on myself.”
That is heavy for an ages 8+ audience.
In conclusion, Barbie needs to raise her standards and Nerf needs to make a biodegradable dart for use in kids’ Nazi-hunting games.