Everybody knows who Barbie is. She is ubiquitous.
Well, maybe I should have said everyone knows WHAT Barbie is. After all, she is not a real person, is she. (Try telling that to your little girl!)
Maybe I should have said ALMOST everyone knows who Barbie is. She probably isn’t too popular in Iraq or in North Korea, but “it is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second.” (Wikipedia history of Barbie)
As a 68 year-old grandfather, who does NOT play with dolls, I can still tell you from memory than 53 year-old Barbie is a girl for all seasons and all situations. In addition to her own vehicles, houses, wedding dresses (plural), books, and cosmetics, I just learned she has also had her own video game! Oh, we can’t forget from time-to-time she has had her own boyfriend since 1961 – Ken Carson.
Maybe not so cool to everyone. Our little girl (11½ inches tall with stiff arms and legs) is in the middle of another controversy. (Yup, her controversies are also ubiquitous.) Some disgruntled non-fans say “This is product placement at its worst.” That is New American Dream’s executive director, Wendy Philleo, who claims she is a long time admirer of the Girl Scouts. “Our children are already being bombarded by marketers’ pitches at stores, at home, on-line, on TV, and in school,” (AP – March 6, 2014.)
It seems the Girl Scouts of the USA formed a partnership with the doll’s manufacturer – Mattel – last August. “The partnership . . . . includes a Barbie-themed activity book, a website, and a Barbie participation patch — the first Girl Scout uniform patch with corporate sponsorship.”
That is the original Barbie (black or blonde hair) on a fake cover of Sports Illustrated created by Mattel. It is part of a display announcing the Girl Scout patch, and also trumpeting Barbie’s appearance in the current swimsuit edition of SI. (Don’t get excited, guys. She is in a very small photo, 50 times over, wearing a black sheath. NOT rated even PG.)
This is one old gramps with a Barbie-collecting daughter and a Barbie fan-in-waiting (born on Barbie’s 50th birthday), so right this moment, I don’t feel the angst. Maybe when some mother beats me up as I walk through Walmart, I’ll get the “message,” but today I say, “Son, where is your G.I. Joe? Let’s play guy-guys!”
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