Barbie and us

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So Barbie is in the public eye again for her disproportionate measurements (“Move Over, Barbie: Greenfield Artist to Debut Line of Dolls With Realistic Proportions,” March 8). This isn’t news. Fifty years ago the same discussion was going on — at least in my house. At 6 years old, I desperately wanted a Barbie. My mother in all her adult wisdom decided that Barbie’s look was “too grown-up” and wasn’t appropriate for a 6-year-old. So I got Tammy instead. Tammy was new and marketed as an alternative to Barbie. As a 6-year-old, I took one look at Tammy and saw a head way too big for her body. How was this proportionate? This 6-year-old was not happy.

Thank the stars for my Aunt Betty! Her gift to me was Midge. Not Barbie, but her freckled-faced friend. I took one look at those freckles and the honey blond flip and fell in love. She looked just fine to me. Midge was a constant friend for the next years — as Nancy Drew, Honey West, a traveler on a wagon train, an explorer in space, etc. I never even thought about her measurements. She was an outlet for my imagination.

I did not aspire to look like Midge or Barbie. I always understood that Barbie was a doll and not a real person. Perhaps it is the adults who have the issue, not the little girls who love Barbie.


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