Tuesday December 07, 2021

Why it's time to kick Barbie to the curb
Read more content on NYPOST.com

By Andrea Peyser
October 9, 2015

Why it's time to kick Barbie to the curb

Fifty-Six years is old enough. It’s time to kick Barbie to the curb, along with her bulbous breasts, cloying smile and eating-disorder-inducing miniature plastic hips.

When she (it?) came into being as Barbara Millicent Roberts in 1959, the Barbie doll must have seemed like a fine idea for child exploitation by toymakers — the perfect role model for little ones training to become mute, blond, desperate housewives, kept women or pill-popping divorcées.

When I was a kid, my tomboyish girlfriends and I enjoyed cutting off the creatures’ lustrous hair, stripping the genitalia-free freaks naked and “playing house’’ with Barbie and her (I can’t avoid using feminine pronouns) ersatz boyfriend Ken. We learned some harsh truths about doll culture: Barbie’s hair never grew back and she was incapable of making babies.

It’s amazing my twisted pals and I weren’t shipped to mental-health facilities.

Today, our doll disfigurement would likely be seen as a form of protest by killjoy feminists.

As the nation’s consumers slouch toward the Christmas and Hanukkah toy-buying season, Barbie is in crisis. This is shaping up as her fourth straight year of dwindling sales, as Ashleigh and

Harrison demand that Mom and Dad ignore Barbie and instead buy them sophisticated electronics and annoying dolls from the animated movie “Frozen.’’ For the first time in years, annual Barbie sales could dip below $1 billion globally.

Time to toss Barbie on the scrap heap of playthings banned in the United States, such as fatal lawn darts? Not without a fight.

In a fierce attempt to save the Barbie brand, toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. in February announced next month’s rollout of a new, decidedly creepy Hello Barbie, a $74.99 beastie equipped with artificial intelligence.

Hello Barbie is to be capable of delivering 8,000 lines of conversation. So if a young one tells the doll that he or she is feeling “bad,’’ Barbie would reply, “I’m sorry to hear that.’’

If you think the doll is disturbing in silence, wait until your child swaps emotions with an 11 ½-inch-tall hulk.

Already, there’s controversy.

The California-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has started a petition asking Mattel not to release Hello Barbie, fearing that data garnered from kids could be used to sell them stuff.

And if Hello Barbie says “Merry Christmas,’’ will she also commemorate Eid al Fitr?

Mattel brass are working on that as we speak. Parents must set up the doll with a mobile app developed in partnership with ToyTalk, a San Francisco-based tech company started by former Pixar executives, that allows them to monitor their children’s conversations.

If Barbie spews “inappropriate remarks or if [parents] believe the security of the doll has been compromised,’’ Mattel officials wrote in a statement, an 888 number is available for complaints.

So now we’re set to spy on kids’ innermost thoughts and feelings — through a toy! Insane.

Barbie, who’s geared to little girls (and, secretly, to boys) starting at age 3, has become such a loser to the children of today, adults have performed studies to demonstrate what she would look like as a full-grown human. It isn’t pretty.

Rehabs.com last year published a doll analysis aimed at reaching people with eating disorders who are “dying to be Barbie.’’

The Web site’s chart shows that if Barbie were a similarly proportioned human, she would stand 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weigh 110 pounds, and be so emaciated that she would not menstruate.

With a 16-inch waist, her body cavity would have room only for half a liver and a few inches of intestine. Her long, skinny neck would not be able to hold up her head. Her massive boobs and size-3 feet with tiny ankles would require her to walk on all fours, while her scrawny arms and 3.5-inch wrists would render her incapable of carrying pretty much anything.

This, after Mattel thickened Barbie’s cartoonishly skinny waist and trimmed her bust a bit in 1998. In a nod to the diversity of anorexia-nervosa sufferers, the doll is now available in a variety of plastic hair and skin colors.

I don’t think the Barbie fetish is all about children. Grown-ups, in disturbing numbers, are obsessed with the inanimate objects poised to be reborn as souped-up things resembling living beings.

This trash should not be inflicted on impressionable kids.

The faux chick must go.

©2007-2021 Andrea Peyser and andreapeyser.com; No Reuse without permission.
Contact Us    •Site Map    •Biography    •Appearances    •Book Excerpt    •Archive