Thursday, March 03, 2005

Who Is Barbara Millicent Roberts?

A few hints:
  • She was born in 1959.
  • She has no children.
  • She has massive gazongas, even though the rest of her is rail thin.
  • She never wears a bra or panties.
  • She’s held a number of jobs, including airline pilot, astronaut, doctor, and Olympic athlete. Pretty impressive, considering she’s always hated math.
Any ideas?

Here are a few more hints:
  • She is a registered work of art.
  • She has blonde hair (usually).
  • She’s made of plastic.
  • She’s 11 inches tall.
  • She has “Made in China” stamped on her ass (maybe not literally).
OK. Everyone should have the answer by now: Barbie!

Who knew she actually had a middle and last name? Or that it would sound so gilt-edged? Millicent, indeed! Anyway, I learned all these interesting Barbie facts from none other than Encyclopaedia Britannica--bastion of stodginess--while researching the hijab (the dress code for Muslim women). For a Britannica article, the Barbie article was uncharacteristically entertaining and filled with juicy factoids. In addition to some of the tidbits included above, I learned the following:
  • Some Finnish researchers determined that if Barbie were human she wouldn’t have enough body fat to menstruate. (Don’t the Finns have anything more important to research?)
  • Mattel didn’t get around to making an African American Barbie until 1980.
  • Barbies sell at a rate of two per second!
In case you’re wondering why typing hijab into the Encyclopaedia Britannica search engine yields an article on Barbie,* here’s why: In attempting to gain world domination for Barbie, Mattel neglected to consider that Muslim women do not parade around in the kind of revealing outfits Barbie is so partial to. Strict adherents to the hijab cover themselves from head to toe. Mattel belatedly trotted out some Barbies in hijab (which must have looked ludicrous), but they never caught on in the Muslim world.

Barbie is somewhat controversial these days. She wasn't when I was a kid. All my friends had Barbies, but not me. My mom--once again ahead of the times--refused to let me have Barbies. I remember being crushed when a friend gave me a Barbie for my birthday, and my mom took it back to the store! She wouldn't tell me why I couldn’t have Barbies, either, which made it all the more frustrating. I found out a few years later when I overheard my mom tell my aunt that the problem was with the massive gazongas, although she used some euphemism now lost in the mists of time. I guess my mom thought that if I were to own Barbies, I would develop a crippling inferiority complex when my own gazongas, as was likely to happen, failed to require a size 40 DD bra.

Mom didn’t ban me from playing Barbies at my friends’ houses, though (too hard to enforce, I guess). One of my friends had such an enormous collection of Barbies and Barbie paraphernalia that she stored all of it (willy-nilly) in a trunk and just dumped it all out in a heap--a sort of Barbie haystack--whenever we wanted to play. In addition to her own up-to-the-minute Barbies, this friend also had all of her much older sister’s Barbies (from the early ‘60s--now, no doubt, worth millions of dollars). She also had tons and tons of Barbie clothes--ranging from sequined ball gowns to psychedelic peekaboo jumpsuits--most wrinkled beyond hope from the haphazard method of storage. The boyfriend pickings were slim, though. All we had was an elderly Ken (from her sister's collection) who had hair that looked like moldy gouda cheese. It was either him or GI Joe, who was even less desirable because he was shorter than Barbie and her pals and his freakishly flexible limbs were visibly attached to his body with rubber bands. He was just plain revolting. Of course, since they weren’t my dolls, guess who always had to endure dates with GI Joe? And if I remember correctly, he was always doing loutish things like drinking too many Manhattans and showing up for dates at nice restaurants wearing his fatigues, thus forcing my Barbie to dump him, which was actually rather satisfying.

*The search also yielded more pertinent articles, e.g., "Islam," but who’s not going to choose “Barbie” over “Islam”? I did read the Islam article but only after Barbie.


Post a Comment

<< Home