Bringing Barbie back

September 5, 2015


I was a lucky little girl for many reasons, but the one that meant the most when I was a child was the fact I had three sets of Barbies (and a few Kens) at home, my Grandma’s house and my Nana’s house.

My favourite outfit was a flowing coral evening dress made from chiffon (AKA polyester), with a beautiful strapless bodice. I’ve searched high and low for a photo, but it’s not really necessary as it is forever etched in my memory as the most desirable ensemble ever designed. For anyone. Doll or otherwise.

Barbie has had a bad rap over the years (that tiny waist, the permanently high heel-wearing feet), to the point where I questioned if I’d encourage our daughter to hang out with her.

But things have changed. The new range of Barbies can wear – shock horror – flat shoes and comes in a choice of ‘hues’ so (in theory) every little girl can find one that looks like her. This is obviously untrue, as we’re yet to see Realistically Proportioned Barbie or Special Needs Barbie, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And at least she’s not a Bratz. We all know they’re trouble. Far too much maquillage.

I was totally smitten when I saw the work of Sonja Singh, who takes discarded dolls – often my much-hated Bratz – and gives them makeunders. She wipes off their excessive makeup and paints on sweet, wholesome faces. Gone are the scraps of synthetic fabrics and instead Singh makes clothes perfect for climbing trees and having outdoor adventures. Love. Check out Tree Change Dolls for more transformation. Who doesn’t love a good before and after?

Image courtesy of Tree Change Dolls/Sonja Singh.

Even if I aim to raise a rough and tumble tomboy, I suspect our house will be rife with dollies. And as long as Phoebe lets me play too, that’s ok.

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