Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Long-Time Collector, First-Time Member

I joined the official Barbie Fan Club for the first time this year.

It's something I have always considered doing, and starting as a member during Barbie's 50th anniversary year seems like good timing.
Luckily, the price is still fairly resonable to join ($24.95). Anything more expensive than that likely would be too rich for my blood, especially because I'm not sure I'm going to take advantage of the benefits all that much.

I purchase a few dolls year, primarily at stores, so the $20 quarterly rewards aren't too exciting for me. And I'm not going to be at the national Barbie conference in D.C., so I'm missing out on the free gift bag for club members.

The prospect of exclusive club-member dolls, however, has me interested.

I'll give a try for a year or two and see how it goes.

I'm curious about other club members: What do you like about the Barbie Fan Club? What makes it worth the cost of joining?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Really, West Virginia?

A West Virginia lawmaker has introduced a proposed ban on Barbie dolls and other fashion dolls to the state legislation. The goal of the bill is to remove dolls that "promote or influence girls to place an undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development." Learn more about the bill and the support for it in West Virginia here

Give me a freaking break.

Why doesn't that lawmaker also introduce bills to ban all advertisements promoting women's products or the news media and its obsession with thin, attractive actresses? The state probably should ban Victoria's Secret, too, because all those pictures of Heidi Klum in their stores are probably warping untold numbers of girls.

Legislators, parents, activist groups and everyone else with a beef against Barbie need to chill out. Playing with dolls is not going to warp anyone. I have played with Barbie my entire life and am an extremely confident person. 

Barbie has been president, an astronaut, in the army, a doctor and a veterinarian, just to name a few of her career choices. How, exactly, does that give young girls unreal expectations? How does that harm their intellect? God forbid anyone admit that women CAN be successful, smart, fashionable and (dare I say it) good looking. 

It's up to parents to instill values and confidence in their children -- not Barbie. And when a young girl fails to believe in herself, it certainly isn't Barbie's fault.

To the lawmakers of West Virginia: Please spend time drafting legislation that matters for the people of your state and stop wasting Barbie's time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Belated Birthday Greeting

How silly of me. Barbie's ACTUAL birthday (March 9) was just a few days ago, and in my blog post I completely forgot to commemorate the occasion.

Well, better late than never.

Happy Birthday, Barbie.

May your bust and hip size stay ample and your waist tiny. Here's to another 50 fabulous years.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dolls On The Way

My grandma generously has donated a few Barbies to me and my rerooting quest. My mom plans to bring them to me in early April, at which time I can pop off their heads and start messing about.

Some of my past craft projects haven't turned out well (the abundance of lopsided, two-pound clay bowls in our condo attests to this) and some things I'm just not good at (note the dusty sewing machine in the corner), so my expectations for this project are not high.

What's the usual success rate for beginning rerooters? I'm assuming I'll destroy a few dolls before I get one that doesn't look weird.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This Is News?

I forget sometimes that not everyone older than 10 thinks about Barbie, which is why some of these 50th-anniversary articles are so funny. Where's the news here?

It's a nice overview, but c'mon: The headline refers to the German sexy doll. That's the big news? Please.  

More interesting, I thought, was the brief mention of the "real" Barbie dream house in California. Hair chandelier? Now that's interesting. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Early Morning Barbie Dash

I woke my husband up at 8 am this morning to go to Target for the $3 Bathing Suit Barbie special. Because of the time change, this actually felt like 7 am. He was not pleased to get out of bed so early on a foggy, rainy Sunday morning and head to a Target for any reason. I told him to blame the Chicago-area Targets for opening so early.

I was happy we left when we did, because the first Target we went to had only two of the Bathing Suit Barbies left. At $3 each, I bought both. Why not? My typical drink at Starbucks (skinny latte with caramel) costs more than $3. So does the maple syrup I also bought while I was there.

I don't think the store had any of the $9.99 "value packs" that it advertised in its Sunday-paper ad. There weren't pictured, so I wasn't entirely sure what to look for, but I definitely did not see any signage or anything that might look like a "value pack."

Why didn't I ask a Target employee? Because I couldn't find one that did not look surly.

The Bathing Suit doll is cute wearing an updated version of the iconic striped bathing suit the first Barbie wore 50 years ago. I really like the packaging, which features pictures and logos of Barbie throughout the years (look at the background behind the doll).

The 80s version of the logo holds a lot of nostalgia for me, being a 20-something whose childhood was spent in the 80s looking at that logo.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Minority Among Collectors

I've always known that I'm an anomoly among collectors: A not-yet-thirty girl with more than 300 dolls.

But this figure I read in an article from Mattel shows how unusual it is to be a young collector.
  • Mattel estimates there are more than 100,000 Barbie collectors. Ninety percent of them are women older than 40.

I'm way off.

Part of the reason has to be income. I'm young (and therefore poor), so I can't afford to purchase a lot of dolls each year. No doubt when I'm older and have more disposable income, I'll increase the number of dolls I buy each year.

Nostolgia also has to play a part. I remember playing with Barbies fondly, but many of my young friends did not share the same love of the doll as I did. (This led to many weekends playing at home in my basement surrounded by dolls, clothes and no actual living people.) Perhaps older generations had a different experience, where playing with dolls was the "cool" thing to do?

At any rate, I'd love to know about the other 10 percent of collectors not mentioned in that statistic from Mattel. I'm among them, but who are the others?