Some people are sent to this link after expressing negative opinions and frightening beliefs about the damage Barbie can do to their daughters. Here are two quotes from a 2013 discussion:
"My mom didn't think of herself as pretty. She did that self deprecating thing. I knew that I looked like her, people told me so. I used to be scared of growing up to be ugly. I didn't believe my mother was ugly. I was just a kid though and I figured my mom knew something I didn't about how beauty is perceived. My dad thinks my mother is beautiful and paints her all the time. Even when he's not painting her, there are elements of her in people he paints." —Jenny Cyphers

"Parents are afraid of a plastic doll that is not real, and kids know it—but what really damages a child's self esteem and body image is a parent comparing, critiquing, complaining and dissing their own body (or someone else's body)." —Alex Polikowsky

Barbie in the Lives of Unschoolers


Click for longer accounts, and art:

Investing in the future, by Karen James, with a great photo of a cat among the Barbies

There are Barbie connections to be made out in the larger world, too - everywhere we go, we meet women who have loved their Barbies, young babysitting-age girls, grandmas with collector editions, women at the toy store commenting how they still love to get their Barbies out. Barbie-lovers are everywhere! Who knows when this shared interest will help them connect with someone down the road? (Kelly Shultz' daughters' Barbie adventures)

More from Kelly later: Barbie brought pulleys into our life recently, since the girls wanted to create a Barbie elevator out of a Costco-size Fruitloops box. I can't imagine that learning about pulleys, the weight capacity of string from the hardware store, and the number of Barbies it would take to exceed that weight capacity would somehow be associated with stupidity!! (Reference to some people thinking Barbies are stupid.)

Barbie Action Figures
click photo for more images

Holly explains that they're action figures if their clothes aren't supposed to be taken off, and she has dedicated some of hers to be characters from a mystery movie musical:

Jayn's staging of Romeo and Juliet:

Jayn Coburn at the Barbie Convention
" the present time, Barbies and similar dolls are the conduits of all knowledge for Jayn..."

Holly went to Kirby's birthday, which was a costume party, dressed as Barbie. The scary unnatural eyes don't hurt the effect much. (The gentleman posing with her is Brett Henry, not Ken.)

Holly's Barbies live in the little closet under the stairs which is Barbieland, and maybe I'll ask her to take some photos from inside there. It's a small space, and adults don't fit very well. It kept us from worrying about the loss of Barbie shoes and tinier parts that are so easily lost to vacuuming cleaners, and she could set up rooms and scenes on the shelves in there.


Robin Bentley:

I loved my Barbies. I loved the way they looked (curvy if out of proportion, beautifully-dressed, interesting careers) because my mum was curvy, beautifully-dressed, and worked outside of the home in the 1950's. My sister (also curvy and beautifully-dressed, still in school at the time) knitted clothes for my dolls. I wanted those clothes myself! I created stories for the one special "Wig Barbie." In one, she was an Asian art museum curator. I think I still have the pieces of fabric and fake jewels and drawings, along with an art guide I created.

I also loved, loved, loved the shoes (cork wedges!) and the accessories (pearl earrings and necklaces, envelope-style shiny black purses!), and the tiny combs and brushes and mirrors. Is there something wrong with that? I still love costuming (my daughter cosplays and so do I) and jewelry and accessories and shoes.

For me, Barbie had nothing negative to do with "bodily culture." For my daughter, she just took them in the bathtub, fully-clothed, or cut all their hair off! When we found "Hippy" Barbie, I could tell her I looked just like that when I was a teenager. :-)

Barbie has been a source of connection, one way or another throughout my life and my daughter's. Not a bad thing, at all.

Mandy remembers:
When I was young, we didn't have a lot of money, but I had a Malibu Barbie and a PJ (I think she was called, and she was a teen Barbie). I still actually have them today. I used to play with them out in the front yard with my little friends from across the street. I remember being jealous because they had a lot of store bought Barbie clothes and my mom made all of my Barbie clothes, some sewn, some crocheted. I still have many of those also. I also had a Barbie car and a pop up camper. We used to make a Barbie house out of cardboard boxes, and their beds would be made out of egg cartons. I had all of this stuff packed away in the attic and recently got them down for my 3 and 7 yr old daughters. My 3 yr old loves playing with the car. My daughter has so many of her own Barbies, that she doesn't really play with mine. Maybe I waited too long to get them down. Anyway, yesterday my 7yr old was looking for a craft on the web and found this craft to make a castle out of a cardboard box. The girls spent hours playing with this cardboard castle. Much doesn't change, huh...

I treasure those home made clothes now, and will keep them forever. My daughter is more into Bratz dolls now. I thought I'd never buy her one of those, but I guess it's the same argument that was made for the Barbies. I see no harm.

Kerrin Taylor:
My daughter and I had some great fun yesterday perming one of her Barbie's hair. We had a book out of the library on doll makeovers, and I was fascinated by the amazing stuff those enthusiasts do!

It was fairly easy and very successful. I was just as thrilled as Vivi! We started off with a barbie with long straight hair. Her hair wasn't in very good condition, it was quite fluffy and a bit matted. We coated the hair in gel, divided into small sections and then rolled them onto bits of drinking straws, secured by pipe cleaners, pinning them to her head to secure. Next was dunking her head in boiling water for 18 seconds, then icy water for a few seconds. We left her to dry and then took the rollers out. She now has beautiful spiral curls.

We went to rock'n'roll dancing last night (a homeschool group thing) and took the barbie to show her off. The main response from the other homeschooling parents was that it was a rather bizzare idea and pretty pointless (the kids thought it was real cool). There was a bit of eye rolling, especially at me being so excited about it. I thought it was sad that they couldn't see the value in my sharing the experience with my daughter, the love and joy that it had brought us.


Photographing your Doll Suggestions on lighting, backgrounds, etc.

Plastic Princess: BARBIE® as ART

Dana Ashby's links on maintaining and restoring heads:

Braiding Instructions (archived copy)
Place to buy hair:
Face (Lashes 'a' Stuff) from different people: (archived)
Robyn Coburn's list of doll-related links, not all Barbie: - the home page for Barbie, My Scene, Kelly and others by Mattel - includes many interactive games, movie previews and sample versions of the games for computers and gaming systems. this has replaced the above link as Jayn's favorite website. [That was owned by Mattell, and though there are some archived copies at the Wayback Machine site, images are missing and pages don't always sit still. Nowadays, the URL redirects to Mattel's site directly. - currently still talking about the one just closed of course, but will probably change to reflect the next one soon.

Other collectible fashion dolls: - Fashion dolls the size of Barbie but with more pose capabilities. Mattel had a line out directly to compete with these, the Modern Circle collection. - the retro fashion movie star doll. (Archived copy; put the url that shows here in at the wayback machine, to see other dates/years.)

[an archived copy of:] - another favorite place for Jayn to browse - a source for dolls (including visuals of many of the vintage Barbie dolls) and for magazine subscriptions to the doll collectors magazines (Barbie collector magazine now defunct and absorbed into Haute Doll magazine).

Angelicdreamz has a screen that shows them to be closed, in 2020, with a link to Jamie Show - doll haute couture and accessories - this guy was at the convention - his knitwear for 11.5 inch dolls is remarkable. - for specialized doll restoration products.
2020 note: This book might be all they have now, but maybe the cleaning materials they have are good for vinyl dolls. - incredibly beautiful Japanese ball jointed dolls with almost infinite capacity for modification and individuality - mind bogglingly expensive - Jayn's dream is to own a couple. Visually based on Manga/Amime.

[They were...]About $300 each, not counting shipping and extra accessories such as the $35 wigs, but it's interesting to know they exist. They're very different. —Sandra-note

P.S. in 2020 the site is gone, so I changed the link to an archived page with several images still showing. You can navigate the site, still, there.

Hope this helps. Only scratches the surface of the collectors' and dealers' websites out there. Lots about doll collecting on too. —Robyn Coburn

Connections Focus, Hobbies, Passions Strewing

More by Robyn Coburn Holly Dodd