EVERYTHING'S COMING UP BARBIE - An Homage to an American Icon on this Thanksgiving Day 2007
I have this doohickie thingie (I'm such a moron when it comes to techie toys) on Gmail that gathers daily all the information on the web that has to do with Buenos Aires and sends it to me in my in-box. Today, the most interesting piece of news was the grand opening of the Barbie Store in Palermo. I live in Palermo, but I haven't seen it yet. Looks like I'm going to have to do a little touring around my own neighborhood this weekend.
The store, the first of its kind in the world, is the brain-child of 39-year-old Tito Loizeau who, taking a clue from Field of Dreams, thought (and I'm paraphrasing liberally...check out the Chicago Tribune for correct quote), "If I build a shrine to a doll with unrealistic proportions in one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world, impressionable 3 to 12-year-old girls and their wealthy parents will come." And so they do...in droves, apparently. It boasts a store with Barbie-inspired clothing for girls, a funcioning beauty salon, and a tea house, and the place is available for rental for about 600 US smackers. How's that for a tango venue???? See Milonguera Barbie and Milonguera Skipper in a catfight over Milonguero Ken! See Milonguera Skipper dropkick Milonguera Barbie on la pista! See Milonguero Ken screw both of them over for the cute "mozo" (waiter)!
Now, I was more of a Matchbox (trademark symbol thingie here) kid. I liked little race cars, building blocks, puzzles, and games like Perfection and Superfection. I finally got a Barbie (another trademark thingie here) when I was around 8 years old, not because I really wanted one; I just though it was time to get one to see what all the fuss was about. After about a week, I was bored with her, but I played with her out of obligation. Since my aunt took the trouble of shelling out the 20 bucks for her that I might as well play with her. So, I spent afternoons trying to curl her blond nylon hair with my hot curling iron, which left brown crusty stains on my iron...I don't recommend trying this at home...and bending her legs forward at her kneecaps. I loved the snapping sounds her joints made. Though it seems I may have been manifesting inklings of sociopathy--torturing and destroying playthings--she was rather pretty pointless (which, um...I guess is how sociopaths regard their victims. It's been a while since I've been in analysis...). I couldn't see her doing much, though she later transformed herself into Doctor Barbie or Barbie, M.D., and I wasn't going to ask my parents to pay for her pink corvette, her playhouse, or her beefy boyfriend/friendboy, Ken.
No, puhleeeze don't tell me they have an Islamic Barbie complete with hijab and red carpet on which to pray, and puhhhhhleeeze don't mention that now they've spraypainted her different colors and have increased her ass size to better represent POCs (People of Color). Barbie is annoying, and in no way can, as mentioned by a Mattel executive, "maintain [her] relevance by extending her into other parts of a little girl's life." How about making a Boobjob Barbie, complete with surgury scars? Or what about Eating Disorder Barbie? Girls are asking for surgery and are succumbing to EDs earlier in life, the least they can do is make her REALLY relevant. For a funny essay on a more relevant Barbie, check out About.com and look up Hypothyroid Barbie.
And poor, neglected Ken. Will someone please unlock the closet door for him?