If barbies were “People”

I got asked a fun question a couple of weeks ago.  A reader asked,

If you were to create a new line of barbies (and friends) for tomboys (or 
whatever you prefer to say) what would that line look like?

I would make a lot of changes to the barbie doll.  First and foremost, the bodily dimensions would resemble the range of shapes and sizes that people actually are.  When I think of a barbie, the image that comes to mind is a naked doll with these weird neutered bodies and impossible measurements – for some reason, a naked barbie seems more common than a clothed one.  Kids get lazy and leave them around without dressing them?  For this reason, these new dolls would have clothes that don’t really come off.  When I think of people, they are clothed.  When I think of myself, I am clothed.  Although it’s fun to interchange clothes, these dolls would just wear clothes and then they’d be versatile in other ways.

They’d have knees and elbows that bend better than barbies, and they’d have hands that grip better.  There’d be interactive toys to go along with them, but they wouldn’t be dream mansions and safari jeeps and jet skis.  There’d be homes with the roofs removed and different things to do in each room – frying pans and food ingredients, TVs and computers and books, brooms and vacuum cleaners.  Gardening tools and bikes and basketball hoops.

I would rename these barbies “People.”  They would reflect different experiences – different ethnicities, different ages, different sizes, different abilities.  One or two might be in a wheelchair.  One might be gender-ambiguous.  There would be babies and children, adults and old people.

These “People” would hopefully appeal to boys, girls, tomboys, and other gender non-conforming children.  Playing with them would center around realistic life choices instead of fashion and glitz and glamor.  It’d be a lot like playing house, with plenty of interchangeable activities and roles to experiment with different configurations.

And now for the fantastical part – these products would be manufactured by people making a living wage and they would be an affordable toy option.  Haha.

Anyone have other ideas for a more gender variant version of barbie?

10 Comments on “If barbies were “People””

  1. calherel says:

    I would add a barbie doll with a cane and another with a hearing aid too. I like the “barbie I can be” thing where Barbie is shown having a bunch of jobs like being a nurse, a painter, etc. but I think that barbie franchise often leaves out the working class girls so I’d add the barbie who works as a roofer, construction worker, etc.


  2. Lesboi says:

    I love the idea of some toy dolls targeted towards tomboys or gender neutral kids of all types, shapes and sizes. I know that, as a kid, I did enjoy playing with dolls but particularly liked my boy dolls and used Barbie and her friends as girlfriends for my GI Joe and Ken dolls. I think a neutral doll that could do/be whatever they wanted to do/be would be awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dmcco01 says:

    Yes. They’re called “trucks” and “spaceships!” Who wants to play with dolls? 🙂

    Growing up I thought boys were so lucky because they got all the fun toys while the girls got stuck with dolls and decapitated Barbie hair dresser heads!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jamie Ray says:

    I played with stuffed animals and blocks. I don’t know about the dolls – but I do like making sure that the people who make them and sell them are paid a living wage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kids being able to see themselves reflected in toys…why are we still not at this point?! That’s all I wanted as a kids watching sitcoms, too. Maybe my grandchildren!


  6. jacobl4 says:

    Though still a long way away from being representative of gender, racial, and other minorities, the Lammily doll (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/normal-barbie-lammily-the-doll-with-stretch-marks-acne-and-grass-stains-on-her-legs-9873978.html) seems like a good first step at getting the body proportions more realistic. Apparently they also sell grass stain stickers for those who like their dolls to play outside!


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