Barbie turns 60 this year, which is causing a certain amount of hoopla.
The Birmingham Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit called “Barbie: Dreaming of a Female Future,” which is presented inside a life-sized Barbie dream house. It opens on Saturday.
Mattel has issued lots of special 60th anniversary Barbies, including astronaut Barbie, firefighter Barbie, news anchor Barbie and political candidate Barbie.
Another special 60th anniversary Barbie is dressed in what looks like a debutante gown, and another is dressed head-to-toe in pink. We might still have a way to go here.
I was born in the early Barbie era. My first Barbie was an early 1960s version with red hair, blue eyeshadow and heavy eyeliner. She looked like Endora on the old TV show “Bewitched.” I gave her a haircut at some point, greatly reducing her future resale value.
I also had a generic brunette Barbie, a Skipper doll (Barbie’s anatomically realistic kid sister) and a Ken doll (Barbie’s anatomically unrealistic … boyfriend? husband? stylish platonic roommate? I never thought to ask.)
All of my Barbies were beige, and none of them worked outside the home. Because 1960s.
Most of the time, my Barbies just sat around and watched me rearrange their furniture. Sometimes they would go for rides in their groovy camper van. They also changed their clothes 18 times a day.
I’m so happy that today Barbie can be a political candidate.
When I outgrew my Barbies, my mother packed them up and stored them in the attic.
When I had a daughter of my own, I unpacked the Barbies and passed them down to her.
She played with her Barbies much as I did, except she had a cool Barbie Volkswagen Beetle for her Barbies to ride around in. Someone also gave her a special-edition “Gone With the Wind” Barbie — with hoop skirt, big hat and parasol — which she promptly opened and redressed, greatly reducing her future resale value.
(By the way, what sort of people are we that we make dolls that our children are NOT supposed to play with?)
I’ve often wondered what my original red-haired Barbie would be worth these days, if anything.
I found a great website called vintagebarbies.net that has a Barbie Q&A to help identify a vintage Barbie. (Does your Barbie have legs that bend? Does she have a ponytail? Does she have white eyes or blue eyes? Does she have an oily face? Does her right butt cheek say “Barbie” or “Midge”?)
I tried to identify my red-haired Barbie, but I couldn’t remember exactly what she looked like. I might still have her somewhere, packed up in a box, but I can’t remember where that box might be. My memory isn’t what is used to be. You see, I’m almost as old as Barbie.
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or email@example.com.