The 10 Strangest Barbies Ever Made for National Barbie Day
Barbie, that lovely yet
absurdly, uh, generously proportioned princess of the doll kingdom, was introduced to the world on March 9th, 1959. She has sparked imaginations for more than 50 years, so of course she gets her own day.
March 9th is National Barbie Day. Yes, the molded plastic gal who always seems to have it all now has her own day on the calendar. To celebrate this, we dug up some of the strangest Barbie dolls ever sold.
Barbie was a doll who had it all, so of course she would need to have a family at some point. The folks at Mattel thought it would be best to broach the subject first with their Midge doll. So of course they gave her a magnetic belly with a little plastic baby inside. When little girls felt it was time for Midge to deliver, they could pull the baby out themselves. (Ewww…) Unfortunately, fans argued that Midge was originally marketed as a teenager and having her pregnant wasn’t the best idea. On the plus side, Midge is currently be courted by MTV for the next season of ‘Teen Mom.’
Another odd release the people at Mattel unleashed on the world was Oreo Barbie, a cross promotion with Nabisco. As they usually did, Mattel made an African-American version of the doll. Unfortunately, “Oreo” is sometimes used as a derogatory term to belittle someone for seeming “black on the outside and white on the inside,” which caused an uproar over the doll. Unsurprisingly, they were soon pulled from shelves.
‘Pooper Scooper’ Barbie
It makes sense to give Barbie a dog so she has a companion to spend time with when Ken is, uh, playing tennis with G.I. Joe. But was it absolutely necessary for the dog to come with his own doggie doody that poor Barbie has to make sure she scoops up during their walks? Couldn’t she make Skipper do it?
Always interested in encouraging inclusion, Mattel released Barbie’s friend Becky, who was wheelchair bound, in 1997. This was a great idea until a teenager with cerebral palsy pointed out that Becky and her wheelchair would not fit in Barbie’s Dream House. If Mattel really wanted to be inclusive, they’d release a version of the Dream House with a ramp.)
Barbie seems to be ageless, but she’s got to get old sometime. Mattel realized this and added a Grandma Barbie and Grandpa Ken to their Happy Family collection. Is it us, or does Grandma Barbie look a bit like Diane Keaton?
Hitchcock Barbie (Tippi Hedren in ‘The Birds’)
In 2008, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds,’ Mattel released a commemorative Barbie doll, complete with removable, menacing birds. Barbie is actually a good fit for the Tippi Hedren role — the idea of birds messing with her perfect hair is enough to make Barbie shriek in terror.
Star Trek Barbie
Not the strangest Barbie ever made, but definitely the geekiest. In 1996, Mattel marked the 30th anniversary of Star Trek by releasing Star Trek Barbie and Ken. In 2009, they again paid homage to the grandfather of all science fiction shows by releasing Dr. Spock, Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura dolls. As Trekkies, we should point out that Barbie is wearing the traditional “red shirt ensign” outfit, meaning she will die on her first mission.
Growing Up Skipper
Skipper entered the scene about five years after Barbie as her little sister. In 1975, Mattel thought maybe it was time for Skipper to do some growing up. The Growing Up Skipper doll would gain an inch of height and grow breasts when you turned her arm. (Yes, really.) Of course, this doll was not well-received and had to be pulled from the shelves.
In 2009, a French designer made a Barbie invention of her own. Chloe Ruchon created a table soccer unit and, instead of the little foos men, added pink-clad Barbie dolls to be the players. She’s got those pointed toes, so Barbie’s probably a great foosballer herself. That said, an army of armless Barbie is kind of creepy.
Amy Winehouse Barbie
One creative artist and music fan created her own Amy Winehouse Barbie. We think the Mattel people should look her up. If they can release a Barbie you can C-section, a Skipper who grows breasts and a Barbie who gets attacked by killer birds, why not let the kiddies play with an unstable, smoking, tattooed and now deceased pop star?
Okay, so this doll was actually supposed to be Black Canary from DC Comics. But that didn’t stop the media from dubbing her “streetwalker Barbie” and “S&M Barbie.” To be fair, she could also be “’80s hair metal enthusiast Barbie.”
It seems the strangest Barbie dolls are yet to come. Late in 2011, rumors began to fly that Mattel would be releasing a set of Kardashian Barbies. The company has been tight-lipped about any Barbdashians, so impressionable little girls everywhere are safe for now.