Fifty-six years is old enough. It’s time to kick Barbie to the curb, along with her bulbous breasts, cloying smile and eating-disorder-inducing miniature plastic hips.
When she (it?) came into being as Barbara Millicent Roberts in 1959, the Barbie doll must have seemed like a fine idea for child exploitation by toymakers — the perfect role model for little ones training to become mute, blond, desperate housewives, kept women or pill-popping divorcées.
When I was a kid, my tomboyish girlfriends and I enjoyed cutting off the creatures’ lustrous hair, stripping the genitalia-free freaks naked and “playing house’’ with Barbie and her (I can’t avoid using feminine pronouns) ersatz boyfriend Ken. We learned some harsh truths about doll culture: Barbie’s hair never grew back and she was incapable of making babies.
It’s amazing my twisted pals and I weren’t shipped to mental health facilities.
Today, our doll disfigurement would likely be seen as a form of protest by killjoy feminists.
As the nation’s consumers slouch toward the Christmas and Hanukkah toy-buying season, Barbie is in crisis. This is shaping up as her fourth straight year of dwindling sales, as Ashleigh and Harrison demand that Mom and Dad ignore Barbie and instead buy them sophisticated electronics and annoying dolls from the animated movie “Frozen.’’ For the first time in years, annual Barbie sales could dip below $1 billion globally.
Time to toss Barbie on the scrap heap of playthings banned in the United States, such as fatal lawn darts? Not without a fight.
In a fierce attempt to save the Barbie brand, toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. in February announced next month’s rollout of a new, decidedly creepy Hello Barbie, a $74.99 beastie equipped with artificial intelligence.
Hello Barbie is to be capable of delivering 8,000 lines of conversation. So if a young one tells the doll that he or she is feeling “bad,’’ Barbie would reply, “I’m sorry to hear that.’’
If you think the doll is disturbing in silence, wait until your child swaps emotions with an 11½-inch-tall hulk.
Already there’s controversy.
The California-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has started a petition asking Mattel not to release Hello Barbie, fearing that data garnered from kids could be used to sell them stuff.
And if Hello Barbie says “Merry Christmas,’’ will she also commemorate Eid al Fitr?
Mattel brass are working on that as we speak. Parents must set up the doll with a mobile app developed in partnership with ToyTalk, a San Francisco-based tech company started by former Pixar executives, that allows them to monitor their children’s conversations.
If Barbie spews “inappropriate remarks or if [parents] believe the security of the doll has been compromised,’’ Mattel officials wrote in a statement, an 888 number is available for complaints.
So now we’re set to spy on kids’ innermost thoughts and feelings — through a toy! Insane.
Barbie, who’s geared to little girls (and, secretly, to boys) starting at age 3, has become such a loser to the children of today, adults have performed studies to demonstrate what she would look like as a full-grown human. It isn’t pretty.
Rehabs.com last year published a doll analysis aimed at reaching people with eating disorders who are “dying to be Barbie.’’
The website’s chart shows that if Barbie were a similarly proportioned human, she would stand 5 feet 9 inches tall, weigh 110 pounds, and be so emaciated that she would not menstruate.
With a 16-inch waist, her body cavity would have room only for half a liver and a few inches of intestine. Her long, skinny neck would not be able to hold up her head. Her massive boobs and size-3 feet with tiny ankles would require her to walk on all fours, while her scrawny arms and 3½-inch wrists would render her incapable of carrying pretty much anything.
This after Mattel thickened Barbie’s cartoonishly skinny waist and trimmed her bust a bit in 1998. In a nod to the diversity of anorexia nervosa sufferers, the doll is now available in a variety of plastic hair and skin colors.
I don’t think the Barbie fetish is all about children. Grown-ups, in disturbing numbers, are obsessed with the inanimate objects poised to be reborn as souped-up things resembling living beings.
This trash should not be inflicted on impressionable kids.
The faux chick must go.
‘OD doc’ a tragic wary tale
Let this be a cautionary tale. Dr. Kiersten Rickenbach Cerveny, a 38-year-old dermatologist from Long Island, was dumped Sunday morning by two guys in the vestibule of a Manhattan apartment building after a night in which, law enforcement sources said, she indulged in cocaine with a married HBO TV producer. She was taken to a hospital and died of an apparent cocaine overdose.
Folks on social media are shocked! and appalled! — not that Cerveny’s gone, but that media reports have mentioned that the pretty doc was a former beauty pageant princess and married mother of three whose panties were stuffed in her pocketbook.
If an accomplished man died under similar circumstances, you can bet details of his fast life and untimely demise would be media fodder. I hope frank reporting on this awful tragedy helps save another life.
Stud can rule without a tool
A British man was born without a penis. This shortcoming failed to prevent Andrew Wardle, 40, from deceiving most of the more than 100 women he has slept with by giving them pleasure while expecting none in return, according to a voyeuristic documentary that premiered this week on TLC.
Now doctors plan to build Wardle a male member from skin and muscle in his arm. I hope Wardle doesn’t lose his talents — especially his ability to stretch nothing into fame.
Trump’s better half
Melania Trump for first lady!
As The Donald, 69, seeks the Republican nomination for president, his 45-year-old wife is winning rave reviews from the dating experts who wrote “The Rules’’ and its sequels — the bible for ladies who play hard to get.
Melania refused to give the twice-divorced Trump her phone number when she met him at a party in 1998, authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein told me. Still, he won her over.
“When one of the contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ told her, ‘You’re very lucky’ she replied: ‘And he’s not lucky?’ ” the authors enthused.
Too bad hard-as-nails Melania is Slovenian-born. She’d look fabulous in the Oval Office.
Subway ads posted by city health officials encourage women to consider using intrauterine devices — IUDs.
These things may prevent many pregnancies, but they don’t stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Why are clueless government nannies invading bedrooms? Get out!