Barbie activities for all ages

I’m not a fan of the Barb, but I could get behind these activities.

Though I have written over and over again about how much I dislike Barbie dolls for a wide variety of reasons, I have come across a few activities that make me think that the toy might have some potential. I’m not giving it a green light as a pretend toy for role playing of real human behavior until it gets proportionate, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. So how about we do these two activities with the toy instead…

Pretend funeral. You can pad Barb down with cotton balls or clay under her clothing to look a little more realistic if you prefer, but simply putting her in a box and burying her can help you explain about death and role play for future funerals—or just play with morbid kids. Hey, I liked the idea of zombies and such when I was a kid, too. Of course, you could go a step further…

Mummy Barbie. The fact that I can link this to someone else’s blog makes me feel much better about my own macabre ideas. I am not alone! This lesson plan goes all out, including canopic jars for Barbie’s organs and linen wrap for her corpse. You can make organs to store, and guess what? Barbie already looks like they’re taken out of her body, so you don’t have to do any cutting. Neat!

Real life Barbie doll

The new Internet star.

The Internet has made many regular folks into celebrities overnight.  Typically, their stardom lasts only for about 15 minutes.  But during that time, they do manage to gain a great following of fans.  Right now, an online celebrity that is getting a lot of attention is Valeria Lukyanova.

Who is Valeria Lukyanova?  She is a real life Barbie doll.  Her online photos and her YouTube videos have been seen by many, and they have stirred up a lot of reactions amongst the viewers.  Not only does she physically resemble the famous doll, but she also got the stiff poses and the blank stare down.

There is a lot of controversy when it comes to Valeria Lukyanova.  A lot of people question whether or not she actually even exists in real life.  Her blank stare and the unreal body proportion that she possesses are causing a great number of people to insist that she simply is not a real person.  Instead, they believe that she is a Photoshopped image that cannot be seen in real life.

Fans of Valeria Lukyanova see her as a beauty.  Some even want to look like her.  However, not everyone who has seen her pictures is a fan of the real life Barbie doll.  The biggest complaint from non-fans is that Valeria Lukyanova looks creepy.  Many also think that she looks as if she has an eating disorder.

So what are your thoughts upon seeing a photo of Valeria Lukyanova?  Are you a newly converted fan?  Or are you a bit freaked out by her resemblance to Barbie?

Barbie is not all bad

She’s got some pros too!

Barbie’s rise to fame has definitely not been without controversy.  Many parents over the years have banned the popular doll from their households with fear that the doll would cause young girls to develop eating disorders.  Yet I am fairly certain that the Barbie doll is not going to be going away anytime soon.  That is because Barbie does have plenty to offer the young girls that play with her.Barbie can help young girls to develop their social and creativity skills.  Girls often use their Barbie dolls when role-playing alone or with other playmates.  In the process, they are likely to make up different dialogues for the scenario that they are trying to play out.

Another pro to owning Barbie dolls is that they can help girls to make friends.  Some girls are naturally shy when first coming into contact with a peer.  However, the shyness tends to go away as the girls start playing with a toy that both happen to like.  Barbie dolls are liked by many youngsters.  Therefore, when there is one in the room, the girls are likely to start gravitating towards the doll. 

Before you know it, the ice would have been broken, and the girls would be acting as if they have known each other forever. Barbie dolls are involved in a lot of roles. They are mothers, doctors, fashion designers, and a whole lot more. So playing with the dolls can help girls to feel that there are many different roles in life for them to strive for as they age up.

Barbie is a Problem, With or Without Parenting

Ever heard of a picture being a thousand words? A 3-D toy is worth even more.

This morning I woke up to an unwelcome Facebook tag by a friend. The friend of mine is a very sweet person, but we very rarely agree on anything! The photo she tagged me in was one that read, “If you raise your girls right, they can play with a Barbie without wanting to be one.” We have argued over whether or not girls should be given Barbies in the past, which is what I’m sure she is referring to.

I removed the photo from my wall since I wholly don’t support it in any way. Firstly, I don’t support parenting advice—particularly from people without children—that is not solicited. That’s not only annoying, it’s condescending in one of the worst ways. Have a baby, watch her grow up, then give me advice. This applies not just to this Facebook page (and beware if you check it out; there is loads of content, including fat hatred, misogyny, and plenty of other crap that discredits the photo anyway), but to anyone who wants to tell me what’s good or bad for my child.

But I also think the sentiment in the photo isn’t even on target. The worry is not that your daughter will become Barbie; Barbie herself has no personality, so why worry about that when we can worry about our daughters becoming insipid, do-nothing Bella Swan, who allows herself to be victimized every day? No, the worry is that our daughters will look at Barbie and think, “Why don’t I look like this?” (Because it’s anatomically impossible.) “I need to make myself look like this.” Cue the dieting, the eating disorders, and the lifetime of body hatred.

I can tell you right now that even if you raise your daughter to love who she is, what her body looks like, and to see the beauty in all things, she’s still going to get messages—from her peers, from the media, from peers’ parents, from boys—that she is unworthy; that the only worth she has is in her body, and that her body is not perfect, so she needs to “work on it” all. Her. Life. Don’t believe me? Ask one of the 80% of children in the fourth grade who’ve already tried a fad diet. Ask my friends, who cry because even though they try to teach their daughters to love themselves the way they are, their efforts are in vain when their kids start school only to be told they are fat, or skinny, or ugly, or whatever. Some of my daughter’s friends want to diet—in the first and second grade!—because they think they are fat, when they clinically are not in any way. They think their bellies should be “flat,” not the natural, tiny curve that they were born with—and they are already hating themselves.

No, I won’t let a Barbie into my house (my kid doesn’t even want one, but that’s not the point). I don’t let toys that promote hatred, self or otherwise, into our home, and anyone with kids realizes that the worry is in this—a healthy body image—and not in the girl “becoming Barbie.”

We Do NOT Need a Hunger Games Barbie!

Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.

The only thing that Mattel’s Barbie and The Hunger Games have in common is that all of the characters are pretty much starving to death. But since Barbie seems to be doing it by choice (after all, she could sell most of her crap to buy food if she wanted to) and Katniss and co. are doing it because of a cruel fascist government system, that is definitely where the similarities end.

Katniss is a brave, petite hunter who gets dirty, saves her family with the help of her wits and simple desperation, and then gets thrown into an arena of death for televised entertainment in a dystopian society where children fight like gladiators. Then she’s used as a rebel symbol, here entire existence televised for the entire country to see—all before she’s even old enough to buy a pack of smokes.

And Barbie, well, she doesn’t do anything, except try to not fall over due to her painfully exaggerated figure and unnatural underweight stature. She definitely couldn’t shoot an arrow, let alone lead a rebellion. She wouldn’t even be able to walk if she were real; she’d have to crawl due to her proportions.

Yet Mattel has announced that they are making a Katniss Barbie, thoroughly doing this new symbol of female empowerment and strength a disservice. Suzanne Collins, if you have any say in this at all, I beg you to stop them; surely there is another company who could make a more accurate and girl-friendly Katniss doll?

Aside from the ludicrousness of the entire idea, there’s also the fact that the toy is designed for ages 6 and up—when the film is actually PG-13 and the book is something that most parents wouldn’t be comfortable with their tweens reading (well, that’s not true, I suppose; many have let them read that Twilight gibberish, which promotes plenty of nonconsensual sexual behavior, domestic abuse, stalking, and other violence against women; I suppose I mean that it’s simply not appropriate for tweens or young children). How, exactly, are you going to explain the arena and the gruesome deaths involved to a six-year-old? I suppose it’s like the Barbie from The Birds; you just give it to them without a story, thinking that it’s simply not important. “Darling, she just talks to the birdies, like Diego!”

As big of a Hunger Games fan as I am, this is one purchase that I definitely won’t be making—and I am sure that most fans who recognize what Katniss is really about won’t, either, since it’s pretty much the opposite of Barbie.

Barbie - Royal Wedding Gift Set

The newest set of dolls for the Barbie collector is set to be released in April 2012. This doll set will be released just in time to commemorate the first anniversary of its models. In case you couldn’t tell from the image, these dolls are modeled after the Bride and Groom of the most recent Royal Wedding.

Now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine will forever have their wedding day immortalized by these iconic dolls. Designed by Robert Best, the Royal Wedding Gift Set is one of Mattel’s “Gold Label” sets.

The Catherine doll wears an exquisite white gown that is modeled after the original gown designed by Alexander McQueen. The gown, made of ivory colored taffeta, is trimmed with faux pearls and lace. To finish off the bride’s appearance, a beautiful silver tiara, dangling earrings, and engagement ring make up the accessories. And, of course, a bride wouldn’t be a bride without the traditional wedding bouquet.

As for the William doll, he is not to be outdone by his bride to be. As with the bride, the groom doll is modeled after the outfit he wore to the wedding, the Irish Guard uniform. The main portion of the outfit is the red uniform decorated with a sash of blue and the appropriate medals. To finish off the groom’s uniform, a golden cummerbund encircles the waist and a pair of black slacks with a red stripe complete the look.

This Gift Set can currently be purchased for $100 and is sure to be a must have for any collector.

Are they good for kids or bad?

One of the biggest controversies about Barbie dolls is that many believe that it can give the wrong impression to girls about how the body of a woman should. In fact, many believe that just the simple fact of giving a doll to a child can start them on the road to eating disorders and image problems.

I, for one, do not believe in this line of thinking. To me, it isn't about what you give your child, but how you teach them to respond to it. I will be the first to admit that I have a daughter who is a princess loving girly-girl and she loves Barbie dolls, their clothes, and everything about them.

When talking to her about the dolls, it isn't the way that their body looks that stands out to her. It's the different colors her clothes and, most importantly to her, the different accessories that they come with. The fact is, she hardly even cares about what the doll looks like: it's figure, skin color, and hair don't even matter to her.

When it comes down to it, I think that Barbie can actually be a good influence. With all the different varieties of the dolls, you can use them to introduce a variety topics to talk to your child about. You can use the Barbies of the world to introduce conversations about the different countries and cultures. While Barbie may not always be exactly accurate in their portrayal of the cultures it can at least serve as a gateway.

Caring For Your Collectibles

As with anyone who collects something special to them, it is important to properly take care of their collection. This couldn't be truer than for those who collect Barbie dolls. Although many people aren’t aware, there are certain things that can affect the life and condition of Barbie dolls such as shoes, how they are displayed, and sunlight.

When it comes to shoes, many don’t know that storing your collectible Barbie doll with it’s shoes on can lead to staining of the feet. In order to prevent this, it’s a simple thing to just keep the shoes off of the feet. If your doll is on display and you want the shoes to been seen, display the shoes next to the doll instead. Additionally, having the shoes on the feet of the Barbie can also lead to the shoes splitting over time.

When it comes to displaying the Barbie, you will want a stand that holds the Barbie off the bottom of the display case or surface. This will help to keep pressure off of the Barbie’s legs. Doing this is very important because overtime, the legs of the Barbie may become bowlegged from the pressure.

A final display tip is to keep the dolls out of direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can lead to discoloration of the dolls body and clothes. If it is hard to keep the doll out of light, an alternative may be to tint either the display case the Barbie is in or to tint the windows near the dolls. This will help to filter out the light that hits the doll.

Barbie: Dolls of the World

Princess Collection

One of the greatest things about Barbie dolls, at least to me, is the different collections that are released throughout the years. One of the collections that I find to be the most beautiful is the Dolls of the World collection. This collection has many different varieties, and my personal favorite is the Princess Series.

In this series, the dolls are released in the gowns that are inspired by the country or time period that Barbie is meant to represent. While not always factual, the dolls do provide a stunning show of the various fashions. This collection was first released in 2001 and continued having dolls added to it through 2005. In total there have been 19 dolls released in this collection.

The first doll in this collection is the Princess of the French Court. The clothing of this doll was inspired by the Age of Chivalry. Other dolls in this collection include the Princess of India, Princess of the Incas, Princess of Ireland, Princess of China, Princess of the Danish Court, Princess of South Africa, Princess of Japan, Princess of the Vikings, Princess of England, Princess of Ancient Greece, Princess of Cambodia, Princess of Ancient Mexico, Princess of the Navajo, Princess of the Renaissance, Princess of the Korean Court, and Princess of Imperial Russia. Although these dolls are no longer available, they can often be found on Barbie collector sites or at auctions.

These dolls were released in the Pink Label of the Barbie collection level, meaning that they were widely available and often could be found in different stores.

Twilight Barbie Dolls

You know there is a popular series or artist when Barbie makes a whole collection about them, and that couldn’t be truer than the Twilight series. Of course, the fact that so many teens and women are fanatical about the series probably gives it away as well.

One of the things that surprises me about the Twilight series of Barbie is that the main characters aren’t the only ones who had a doll of the made. Side characters have also been immortalized in the form a Barbie as well. Although not all the side characters were created in Barbie form, three of the more popular ones were. These are Jane, Victoria, and Alice. For the main characters, there is a Jacob doll, an Edward doll, and a Bella doll. All of these character dolls are based off the actors that play them in the movies, and in some cases provided a very near likeness.

Additionally, these dolls are dressed in outfits that can be seen in the movie, such as Alice’s black and white outfit or Jane’s black Volturi outfit. Although short on clothes, the Jacob doll features his wolf pack tattoo on the side of his right shoulder.

For the most recent Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1, a special edition version of the Twilight Barbie dolls will be released. These are special edition wedding dolls of both Bella and Edward. These dolls, to be released in February, feature the characters in their replica wedding outfits. These special edition wedding dolls make the perfect piece for any Twilight or Barbie collector.