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Barbie still a hot item after all these years

Toy hamster fads may come and go, but one toy has remained popular for more than 50 years the Barbie doll.

In the time it takes Santa to say “ho, ho, ho”, Mattel sells two Barbie dolls. In fact, throughout the year, Mattel sells 1.5 million Barbie dolls each week.

Barbie shows no apparent sign of slacking off in popularity in 2010. She just keeps updating her wardrobe and accessories. One toy website lists Barbie Holiday Doll 2010 as the number one selling toy this season. This doll is meant to be a collector's item, and the box says it is made for adults.

The other day I overheard my husband telling someone my daughter didn't need anymore Barbies, because she already had two. This is the guy perspective. I had to quickly step in, since I'd just purchased the mega set of accessories that includes numerous outfits and shoes, a Barbie closet to store them and some tiny little Barbie hangars to hang them.

All those little clothes were going to need more dolls to go with them. The female answer is a girl can never have too many Barbies, and at the moment this particular little girl only has two. Both are currently naked, although one is wearing a pair of black heels that refuse to come off despite repeated tugging at them. Both dolls came with trendy clothes, but the clothes are now lost somewhere in the bottom of her toy box.

When I was a child I had about five Barbies which was a very meagre collection indeed. Any girl could be laughed off the playground with only FIVE Barbie dolls. That's what I told my mother, anyway. She never listened. The coolest Barbie I had was Western Barbie which was released in 1980, when I was five-years-old. She came with a white cowboy hat and heavy blue eyeshadow. There was a button in her back and when you pushed it her blue eyelids fluttered. The best thing of all about Western Barbie was that she had a horse (sold separately, of course). If you kept your Barbie Western Sun horse from 1989, by the way, it is now worth about $119 on Amazon.com. If Santa forgot the horse, back in the 1980s, you can now buy the vintage Barbie Western Gift Set with High Stepper Horse for $289 from Amazon.com

In 2010, Barbie has a variety of glamorous modes of transportation. This year, she can ride around in a very sporty pink coupe with zebra skin covered seats. On warm summer days, Barbie can leave the car at home and ride around on her scooter.

Some men may want to know what girls do with Barbies anyway. The answer is that basically, you dress them, undress them, brush their hair and if you have enough of them, stage epic romances.

Western Barbie: “Oh Kenny”. Ken doll: “Oh Western Barbie can I kiss you?” Western Barbie: “No, I'm too young, and I'd rather ride my horse.”

The best thing was to get a group of other girls together with their Barbie dolls. Barbie was the glue that bound little girls together. Its not unusual for a woman to say wistfully, “I remember that girl, we use to play Barbies together”.

But in this day and age, if you intend to buy Barbie or any other fashionista doll this Christmas, better check with the mother of the child first, as they can be controversial. Some people object to Barbie's measurements, too busty and too skinny. Some object to her passion for fashion. The other day there was a thread on a parenting website. The problem was that the grandmother insisted on buying Bratz dolls (another fashion doll) for her grandchild, even though the mother didn't want them in the house. There was a rumour that some of these dolls wore thongs. I had a look at them in the toystore through the boxes. I couldn't tell if they were wearing thongs. If anything they were over-dressed.

Kids make what they want out of their toys. I certainly didn't grow up to own 20 pairs of impossibly high high-heels, or sadly, even a pink coupe with zebra skin seat covers. Maybe I would have if my mother had bought me that sixth Barbie I wanted. There's a story about a politically correct parent who bought their son a Barbie doll. He was very happy to receive it. He took it home and took the heads off and used them as slingshot material.

n Have you got a Barbie story to tell? Email jmoniz[AT]royalgazette.bm

The Grace and Courtney Barbie dolls

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Published December 21, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 21, 2010 at 7:26 am)

Barbie still a hot item after all these years

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