I went to Walmart to check out the selection, which wasn’t the greatest. What does a grandma know about buying a Barbie doll? I selected a pretty-faced, blonde called Beach Party Barbie and a package of assorted Barbie clothes. So far I had a Barbie investment of under $25.
Lately my granddaughter has been coming to visit. While I keep a supply of all-occasion toys, I found that I had a gross deficiency in toys geared toward little girls. I needed to add a few girly-girl toys directed toward her more feminine interests.
Enter Barbie: All little girls like Barbies, don’t they? Oh, I know some people hate Barbie, saying she looks anorexic, teaches the wrong ethical values, and is all about shallow values like looks and clothes.
Barbie may be fixated on fashion but otherwise seems relatively harmless. She is just a toy, not likely to kidnap a child and drag her away to New York for life in the fast lane.
Then the ugly truth about Beach Party Barbie was revealed. When granddaughter tried to dress her up, none of the tiny shoes fit. It seems Beach Party Barbie is a misfit in the Barbie world. Unlike other Barbies with tiny pointed feet that fit only in stiletto high-heel shoes, Beach Barbie has big flat feet. Putting shoes on her is like trying to slip Cinderella’s glass slipper onto one of the mean stepsisters.
We decided to name her “Barefoot Barbie” and hope she didn’t mind. Surely they make shoes to fit this Barbie, I thought. I went to eBay to check and found that big-footed Barbie had no shoes of her own, but had to wear Ken’s shoes.
So, I ordered more dresses, long ones so the big flat feet wouldn’t show. Add another $10.50 to the Barbie bill. The dresses came, miniature evening gowns in all colors. What does a few extra dollars matter when the clothes are so cute?
But, what fun is it to dress-up a Barbie that has no shoes?
Granddaughter brought dolls from home to keep Barefoot Barbie company. For all her genetic defects, she was generous and shared her wardrobe with the other girls without complaining. Of course, they had tiny Barbie feet that fit perfectly in the shoes that didn’t work for the misfit Barbie.
Poor Barefoot Barbie!
I decided to buy some Ken shoes so she would have something to wear. Add another $14 for 25 pairs of assorted Ken shoes, a steal at the price. The Ken shoes arrived, a wardrobe bonanza. Some of them fit and some didn’t. Barefoot Barbie now had tennis shoes and clogs to wear, not the high-fashion high-heels of her Barbie sisters, but, hey, she isn’t the jealous type.
Meanwhile, I spotted another batch of cute Barbie butterfly dresses — more money into the bottomless Barbie fashion pit. It never ends. Where did I ever get the idea that getting a Barbie for a child was a good idea? I’ll soon have a fortune invested in clothing for these tiny plastic humanoids and the entire wardrobe fits into a plastic baggie.
I don’t know whether manufacturing the flat-footed Barbie was a mistake, a response to criticism of the high-heeled icons, an attempt to make her more realistic, or simply a ploy to snag unwary grandmas that don’t know beans about Barbie.
Maybe I can cut down some of those tennis shoes with manicure scissors. But, I’m wondering what to do with all the extra Ken shoes, the tiny ice-skates, roller skates, and hiking boots? Maybe I should get a Ken doll to dilute all the estrogen, but then I would need to buy outfits for Ken.
Next time I want to buy a toy, will someone please remind me that Barbie does not teach children the right values? Also, if anyone thinks Barbie looks anorexic, they should see my pocketbook since she came to live with me.
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss