Call 1-800-Flowers and break out the Whitman’s Samplers. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, America’s plastic sweetheart, Barbie, is on-again with her longtime on-again, off-again beau, Ken. And in truly modern style, the relationship announcement was made via their Facebook pages.
Ken has spent the past few weeks trying to woo Barbie back into his arms via billboards in Los Angeles and New York, even taking over the Jumbotron in Time Sqaure last week with such poetry as “Barbie, I want you back” and “Barbie, we may be plastic but our love is real.”
Barbie told the Today show this morning through a spokesperson, “I’m in awe of the lengths Ken went to profess his love,” according to MSNBC.com. “He knows how to sweep a doll off her feet! . . . Every doll dreams of romance and being swept off her feet,” Barbie continued. “Ken’s made that dream come true!”
Originally introduced in 1961, Barbie and Ken have a 43-year history together. There were times when they weren’t exclusive, however, like when Barbie started seeing Blaine, an Australian surfer in 2004. It didn’t help that the “Toy Story 3” film made Ken out to be a swingin’ single dude with no designs on settling down. But as it turns out, it looks like they’ll be living happily ever after after all.
I used to love playing with my Barbie as a kid. There weren’t nearly as many on the market as there are today, but that was OK with me. I had Barbie, Ken and Skipper, not to mention the Barbie catamaran, so I was all set. Even after I stopped playing with Barbie, though, I kept an eye on her in the stores. Sure, her measurements are unrealistic, but is anyone (besides the nut jobs who get plastic surgery and then go on reality dating shows on basic cable) really basing their body image on a plastic doll?
And yes, there have been many, many princess and bride Barbies. But there have also been businesswomen, athlete and president Barbies. And I like the fact that Barbie doesn’t shy away from trying new things, or that she didn’t feel pressure to settle down with Ken years ago. Is it possible the Barbie is an old-school feminist?
Yet, at the same time, this morning when we were at a playdate and my 2-year-old daughter scooped up and carried around a naked Barbie doll the whole time, I couldn’t help but mentally roll my eyes and wonder how long it will be before she starts asking for one of her own and what I’ll say when she does.
Nevertheless, in the meantime, I have nothing but best wishes for the happy couple. Who doesn’t like a sappy love story on Feb. 14th?
Do you mind if your daughter plays with Barbie dolls?