I recently came upon a plastic tub of Barbie dolls that belongs to one of my daughters. Not just a couple of Barbie dolls, but Barbie dolls times ten! In every hair and skin shade. And Kens. And Skippers. And little sisters and brother dolls whose names I have long forgotten. A red Barbie convertible. Is it wrong that a doll drives a nicer car than I do? Clothes. Shoes. Oh, the shoes! My daughter had a small obsession with Barbie.
She and one of her friends played with these dolls regularly even in to middle school. Secret playdates hidden behind bedroom doors. What would adolescent minds think of such “foolishness?”
What played out in the scenes of Barbie and Midge and Ken. Dating and marriages? Child-rearing and career planning? Middle school versions of earlier childhood imaginations?
Barbie did not lose her appeal as the middle schooler became the high school photography student. Barbie became the model, playing out scenes as a waitress holding a tray of plastic “glasses” and plates. Wearing a wedding dress. Waving, as she seemingly raced by in that enviable red convertible. Her hair could be imagined flying in the breeze.
But now, Barbie and her friends are relegated to life in a plastic tub, their eyes longing. To be released. To once again feel the freedom of life in the hands of little girls and their imaginations.
The red convertible is gassed and ready.