There’s a game making the rounds of social media, notably Facebook, which encourages one to embrace their inner Barbie. I haven’t tried it yet, but I probably will. I believe the odds are good that I’ll be happy whatever the outcome. After all, Barbie Millicent Roberts, over-achiever that she is, has had over 150 careers, the majority of which have been successful. She’s also excelled in a number of challenging hobbies. Surely I could identify with one of these manifestations?
I’m not holding out for “Lawyer Barbie”, though. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Barbie masquerading as Elle Woods, resplendent in pink suit, pillbox hat and dog pal Bruiser or whether it’s Barbie as herself, sporting a stylish, bobbed hairdo and wearing a skirt, the length of which indicates that she’s channeling Allie McBeal. I’m just not feeling it. Actually, I may be as reluctant as she is to be defined by one lone Barbie choice.
Although I didn’t own one of the first Barbies, I was an early adapter. I’m not even a collector, but over the years, I have defended her choices, cheered her triumphs and even noted her 40th and 50th birthdays. She’s held on, despite her critics, and has emerged victorious on more than one occasion. This doll has legs, literally and figuratively, and over the years they have carried her past Ginny, Tammy, the “Happy to Be Me” wannabes and the Bratz. (The latter, I’m delighted to note, are currently engaged in a turf war with the “Ever After High” gang. I’m pulling for the storybook off-spring. Please don’t judge me.)
Barbie’s never been afraid of hard work. In the board game, “Barbie: Queen of the Prom,” the prerequisites for success (and yes, unfortunately success meant becoming prom queen), were that one had to be a club president, go steady and buy one’s own prom gown with money earned by babysitting, waitressing and addressing wedding invitations. There were not many career choices in those days. After high school, Barbie apparently found success as a flight attendant, nurse, teacher, ballet dancer and a cheerleader for most of the Big 10 Universities, as well as LSU, Alabama and Kentucky. (I don’t ask how; I just marvel.)
Barbie parlayed those early achievements into career goals and transitioned from teen model to…well, to just about anything. Sure, there were some missteps. I’m not talking about fashion and hair faux pas, because anyone who lived through the 80s shouldn’t throw stones. Most notably, there was the infamous “math is hard” statement, but clearly that was taken out of context because Barbie went on to become a veterinarian, surgeon, pilot, astronaut and presidential candidate, all the while simultaneously serving in several branches of the military, as well as being a fire-fighter and police officer.
In addition, she has competed in several Olympic events, drives race-cars and sings. (Most recently, she was an American Idol winner.) Through it all, Barbie has never lost her sunny disposition or her ability to accessorize. Furthermore, she has never permitted herself to be defined by a man, whether it’s good guy/occasional boyfriend, Ken, or hunky G.I. Joe. More importantly, she has never allowed a single career or hobby to limit her. It makes me wonder what the results would be if she were able to take the “which Barbie are you” challenge.