I was never a Barbie girl growing up. I think I owned maybe one that was given to me as a gift. I saw no point in playing with a miniature plastic person and pretending she was doing normal human things, such as driving her car, moving around her house and sitting in a chair by her pool. LAME.
My Little Pony was far more my style – colorful little animals with pretty hair and blinking eyes, some of whom had wings because of their magic powers, who still had fun places to visit like ice cream shops and ballet studios. AWESOME.
Image source ElectricRaspberry.tumblr.com
Maybe it’s because I never embraced Barbie as a child that I’m even more creeped out by the weird things that have been produced in the name of the disproportionate blonde icon. The latest? The Barbie Café that just opened in none other than…Taiwan (shocker).
Image source Barbie Cafe’s Facebook
Image source Eater
I have to admit, given the popularity of American Girl cafes I’m surprised it’s taken this long to produce an official Barbie restaurant. But deep down, I think we all knew somewhere in our heart the money-making opportunity would never be overlooked.
Count me out, though – my ponies and I have ballet practice.
Posted by Emily
Nothing puts a smile on my face like seeing an established, iconic company show that it’s not stuck in an archaic mentality. I have no patience for brands that refuse to progress with the times or carve a niche for themselves by being rigid, if not downright hateful (ahem, Chick-Fil-A). So I’m pretty pumped to learn that one of my favorite childhood toymakers, Mattel, is telling the world that it’s no stick in the mud by commissioning the world’s first Drag Queen Barbie.
Fashioned by NYC’s toe-headed design house The Blonds (best known for outfits worn by sartorially savvy femmes like Beyonce, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga), the latest iteration of the venerable doll – Blond Diamond Barbie – looks like your run-of-the-mill platinum bombshell, but draws inspiration from cross-dressing designer Phillipe Blond. Styled with dramatic makeup, sweeping eyelashes and a barely-there bejeweled mini-dress draped with a floor-length white fur, Blond Diamond Barbie mimics the show-stopping appearance of her creator down to a T.
In true Barbie fashion, the doll has ambiguous genitalia, so the drag queen label isn’t exactly accurate. But it’s great to see that after 50 years, the pop culture icon (and Mattel by proxy) continues to push the envelope and get tongues wagging.
Barbie, snaps to you.
Posted by Abby
Image source The Week
Most every little girl grows up idolizing her Barbie (or, in my case, one Barbie for every day of the week). And with her flowing blonde hair, doe eyes, endless legs, impossibly huge knockers and impressive litany of degrees and professions (astronaut, surgeon, racecar driver, need we continue), even grown women want to emulate the plastic bombshell. That is, until Hayden Wood’s latest photographic series, Living Dolls, hit the online stratosphere.
Honed from six years working as a creative retoucher and graphic artist, Wood uses sleight of hand to manipulate a flesh-and-bone man and woman into the iconic Ken and Barbie dolls. From their massive, glazed over eyes and waxy skin to their vacant expressions and disproportionate, awkwardly posed bodies, the models’ creepy, unnatural appearances defy anything human.
While super thought-provoking, it’s safe to say these pics have quashed any lingering childhood dream of having my dolls spring to life.
Posted by Abby
Image source The Frisky
Image source B for Bel
Criticized for instilling unrealistic body images in the minds of young, impressionable girls, Barbie often gets a bad rap. Sure, her waist line might be equivalent to that of a small child with the bust of a porn star, but let’s be honest: dressing and accessorizing Barbie was my first introduction to an infatuation with fashion that has served me well in my adult life.
From the Spice Girls, to William & Kate, over the decades Barbie has played a (critical?) role by immortalizing pop culture icons with commemorative dolls. Completely useless? Perhaps. But entertaining nonetheless. But as seen on my new favorite site (appropriately titled Incredible Things), there is now a Barbie that serves a legitimate and educational purpose. Thanks to French artist Jocelyne Grivaud, little girls everywhere can now develop an appreciation for higher culture at a young age from her series inspired by the most iconic women in fine art. As a closet art history nerd, this was very exciting news!
While I do not anticipate procreation to occur any time soon, I can assure you that if and when it does, my little girl will know a Vermeer from a Da Vinci long before she can recite lyrics from the next Justin Bieber sensation.
Posted by Emily
Oh, Barbie. Veterinarian, school teacher, flight attendant, Gaga…psychopathic mutilator and killer.
Enter photographer Mariel Clayton who, in a series of images entitled Door #3, explores America’s favorite faux, buxom-blonde bombshell’s darkest side. Wonder where the inspiration comes from? “You can’t get to be Barbie without an ocean’s worth of peroxide, 27 plastic surgeries and a complete lack of intelligence…Behind the vacuous perpetual lipsticked-smile lurks the black heart of the true sociopath, just like in real life.” Hmm, good point. Are you paying attention, Heidi Montag?
Clayton, whose online gallery boasts a broad collection of photography styled using Barbie and Ken dolls, is definitely provocative, even more so than in Door #3. She tackles the most controversial of topics—self-inflicted abortions, suicide, domestic violence—while remaining entertaining, albeit admittedly disturbing. The absolute attention paid to each staged drama is so fine, down to the seemingly most miniscule details, which is where I think my appreciation for every single shot stems from. That, and the fact that Clayton is a self-taught photographer who’s also astoundingly intelligent when it comes to pushing the envelope while maintaining a unique and artistic expression of irony.
Suddenly Barbie doesn’t seem so vapid. Heidi Montag, on the other hand…
Posted by Haley