Thanks to Carrie for pointing out that it’s Barbie’s 50th birthday this week.
I won’t go so far as to call Barbie a Formerly because I have zero insight into her self-definition and whether you are a Formerly ultimately has way more to do with how you feel than anything that can be observed from the outside. She may well think she’s the hottest shit in tiny yellow plastic pumps. She certainly looks as good as she ever has. Being made of plastic and rubber pretty much ensures that things stay where they belong, but there is a trade-off, namely that you’re made of plastic and rubber.
Barbie is, however, old enough to be the Bratz’s mother. There’s no way she’d still have a figure like she does if she were the Bratz’s mother, of course, unless she adopted them or let them all gestate in a two-inch incubator inside the Malibu Beach House while she was out sunbathing or something. Actually, I’m pretty sure she was a “baby doctor” in one of her many incarnations, so maybe the Bratz were foundlings that she took home from the hospital when no one claimed them because they looked like baby aliens or tiny harbingers of doom. The world may never know.
If Barbie were a Formerly, here’s what I imagine a conversation between Barbie and one of her Bratz daughters might sound like*:
Barbie: You’re wearing that? You are not wearing that. No way are you leaving the Barbie Malibu Beach House with your belly hanging out. Is that a piercing??
Cloe [rolls her abnormally large eyes]: GOD, Mom. All the girls dress like this. What’s the big deal? Can I have the keys to the camper?
Barbie: I’ll tell you the big deal: You look like a store-bought hussy, that’s the big deal! Just wait til your father gets home.
Cloe: I am a store-bought hussy and so are you. Toys ‘R’ Us, specifically. And mom, I got news for you: Dad doesn’t have all his parts.
Barbie [her blue eyes imperceptibly wider than usual]: Cloe! What…I mean how…?
Cloe: That’s right, mom. I…KNOW!
[Soap opera organ chords can be heard.]
Barbie: When…how did you figure it out?
Cloe: I have an oversized head, in case you haven’t noticed. It houses an oversized brain. I overheard you talking to Black Barbie Whose Name is Inexplicably Also Barbie, about how my father is really…
Barbie: Don’t say it!
Cloe: STRETCH ARMSTRONG!!!!
[Loud organ chords]
Barbie [sobbing]: NOOOO! It’s true. Stretch is your father. It was just one night–one SLOPPY NEW WAVE DANCE PARTY in 1983…your father…I mean Ken, was in a band…his hair was crunchy…he wasn’t paying any attention to me and I looked so cute…I was wearing magenta leggings and teeny tiny Ray-Bans…and anyway…Stretch was so big and so strong and sooooo…well, stretchy. Kajagoogoo was on the radio and…well, that song Too Shy always made me want to…you’re too shy-i-i, hush hush…[Barbie swivels her hips in reverie]
Cloe: MOM! Gross!
Barbie: Sorry. Yes, Cloe. It’s true. Uncle Stretch is your real father. That’s why you look so strange. So, how does it feel to know that your old moms wasn’t always so perfect?
Cloe: Fine. Whatev. Can I have the keys to the camper now?
Barbie: Where are you going?
Cloe: Nowhere. What do you care? Shopping. Fuck you.
Barbie: Oooh! Can I come along? I love to shop! I hate math!
Cloe: We know. You may not come. You are my mother, not my friend. I need a parent, not a buddy. Go do your Rodney Yee tape. Don’t forget to eat. I’ll see you later.
Barbie: What time?
Cloe: I don’t know. Later.
Barbie: K! Have fun! Namaste!
*Legal disclaimer: Barbie is a doll and I am writing about her. I am not maligning her because she is a doll, not a person. Not only that, my daughters own several, and they’re not allowed to have Bratz. I make no money from this blog so nobody should sue me. Thank you.