Barbie: The Icon

9781943876112Rightly or wrongly I was determined that my daughter was not going to have Barbie dolls, but by the time our daughter was 3 our house was awash with Barbie and all her paraphernalia. How did this happen?

To try to even things out I presented our son with Barbie – he proceeded to use her spiky limbs as a weapon! We had Malibu Barbie, Night and Day Barbie but best of all was Wedding Day Barbie! Tiny little handbags were lost as were multiple pairs of shoes … bits and pieces of Barbie limbs would appear in odd places. Thankfully all could be replaced by the neverending Barbie gravy train at the local toy store.

In my own way I became quite fond of Barbie, and I grudgingly admitted that she did provide hours of fun for my daughter and her friends.

When Barbie: The Icon arrived in the library I couldn’t help myself, and immediately borrowed it. Perhaps it’s the memories of times past, but I have had a lovely time browsing its full page photos of Barbie dressed in her finest, as well as enjoying the writing.

The focus of the early seventies was to make Barbie increasingly bendable…


Barbie has become the interpreter of aesthetic and cultural transformations that have distinguished more than half a century of history, but unlike other myths of contemporaneity, crushed by time passing, she has had the privilege, as a doll to be timeless.

Bendable and timeless! Oh how I envy her.

Some Barbie facts:

  • After a 43 year relationship Barbie and Ken break up in 2004. Barbie meets a new man, Blain – a surfer from Australia, however by 2011 Barbie and Ken are back together again. Phew.
  • Barbie has had more than 150 careers including being US President, watch out Hillary Clinton!
  • It wasn’t until 1980 that a black Barbie doll was created , called… ta da…Black Barbie.
  • Fashion designers who have created her outfits have included Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein and Dior.
  • Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Find more Barbie stuff – including movies – in our collection.

Come on Barbie let’s go party

Ms Barbara Millicent Roberts better known as Barbie turns fascinating fifty this month. And while Barbie is still wrinkle free and slim as a pin, her implausible measurements are 36-18-33, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the plastic-moulded icon. She recently had to kick some serious Bratz butt to maintain her superdoll status eventually winning a December 2008 court case which will see Bratz dolls pulled off the shelf. During the 60’s and 7o’s Pedigree’s Sindy doll provided competition outselling Barbie in the UK (I had a Sindy doll, called Jessica, who enjoyed a loving and committed relationship with “Eagle-eyes” Action Man). 

But while there have been many cheap and vulgar imitations  no other doll could ever be as accomplished as Barbie; she’s had around 100 careers including stints as a paediatrician, jet pilot, NASCAR driver and even President of the United States and all the while enjoying a turbulent on/off relationship with Ken plus acting as mentor to her numerous siblings, cousins and friends, attagirl!

New York Fashion Week celebrated Ms Robert’s birthday with a show featuring frocks from 51 illustrious designers including Donna Karan, fashion house Marchesa, Calvin Klein and Karen Walker some of whom created special pieces in homage to la Barbie.

As Aqua so memorably said “life in plastic it’s fantastic”. Ya?