The US Presidential election is only a few days away and the country is in turmoil. But, I’m tired. I’m tired of the arguing and depressed about the awfulness that is suddenly OK again. So, you know what? I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about Barbie dolls. And not just talk, I went on a hunt to see if I could find Barbie dolls that look like the characters in my book, The Travelers, or at least the way I picture them.
There’s more to life than politics (although that’s hard to believe right now) and I could have picked from many other topics to blog about. Why Barbie dolls? Well, it often comes back to what’s happening in my life. Yesterday, I had a conversation with my daughter about dolls and something about it stuck in my head. As a kid I loved dolls. My daughter, however, had a few but she never really embraced the doll culture. She is probably in the minority, though. Most girls, and yes people even boys (take a deep breath, an action figure is just a doll) enjoy playing with dolls. When I was growing up, I’d guess the most famous and popular dolls were probably GI Joe and Barbie. (I am really not sure how I feel about what that says about our world.)
Barbie is definitely iconic worldwide. She even has an exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, France. Seriously.
Recently, though, I’ve been less interested in classic Barbie and more interested in the revamping of the Barbie doll, which is about 30 years overdue. Sales of Barbie are down 15% in the last two years, apparently. Elsa from Frozen fame kicked Barbie out of her Queen Bee status of top-selling doll in 2014, the same year Lego replaced Mattel as the top-selling toy brand. So, Mattel decided a revamp of the Barbie brand to make Barbie more realistic might help sales rebound.
Barbie’s been making all girls and women feel inadequate and perpetuating absurd stereotypes for far too long. Kudos to Mattel for finally entering the 21st century. It’s sad that it took sales figures rather than a sense of moral obligation for Mattel to come to their senses, but I’ll take it.
So, with all the new Barbie diversity finally at least trying to reflect the real world , I started to think about what would the characters in my book look like as a Barbie dolls? So, I put my searching skills to work to see if I could find Barbie dolls that looked like the characters in The Travelers, at least the way I view them. I’d say I was moderately successful. See the results below.
Note: These aren’t perfectly representative, of course. And the boys (aka Ken dolls) required a little imaginative searching for some visually modified dolls. But I think these embody the characters somewhat. Plus, it was actually kind of fun.
Dagny (represented by new “petite” barbie.) The hair and eye color aren’t quite right. But I think it get’s at her spunky essence.
Marc -This wasn’t easy, as I said “Ken” Barbie dolls aren’t plentiful outside of the blond hair range. This a doll plus an an artist rendering of a Ken doll that seem to get the general essence I think.
Jillian – Alright, this isn’t a real doll just an artist creation of one. But I think it captures her dark nature, even without her black glasses.
Ava – This one was probably the easiest. I just put in 1950s barbie.
Jason – Also, pretty easy because he’s basically a Ken doll.
Lily – This Barbie gets close to Lily’s look. I’d make her hair darker and curler, but it’s close.
Brooke – Now, this one is a bit too classic Barbie in the body type. In my head Brooke isn’t a waif and would never wear this outfit. But, Barbie is just starting to branch out here. So this seemed closest.
Cody – Alright, no Mohawk or green hair, but this doll has that sort of relaxed, take-it-easy feel I think embodies Cody.