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  1. #1
    ilfaith is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default They don't make Barbies like they used to

    My nieces are coming for a visit next week, so I decided to pick up a few Barbie dolls for them to play with while they were down here. As a mom to three boys I was excited to have them in my house. Knowing what a pain it is to remove toys from their packaging (and somewhat unable to resist the urge to play with them a little myself) I opened the boxes (cut through the bullet-proof plastic and snipped all the little tabs that attached the dolls to the cardboard.)

    I was quite disappointed to discover how much Barbies have changed since I played with them back in the 70s. Sure there is more diversity (when I was a kid there was blond Barbie, her black friend Christie, and absolutely nothing in between.) But today's Barbies are made like the cheap knock-offs available when I was a kid. Their legs are no longer soft vinyl covering jointed knees. Their entire bodies are now hard molded plastic. Their legs don't bend (and if they do, there are visible joints) and they no longer twist at the waist. I also found their hair felt flossier...as if it would knot more easily than the glossy poker-straight nylon strands of my childhood.

    The Barbies of my childhood were limber. They were gymnasts (in spite of their enormous bosoms) turning somersaults and using the bottom rungs of the clothes drying rack as uneven bars. They were "fully poseable" back then. Now they are mere mannequins. Stiff and straight. Or rather not straight. One of the dolls I bought was posed in such a way that her hips are uneven, as if she's in a permanent catwalk strut, or has severe scoliosis.

    I still have one of my old Barbie dolls. A "quick curl" Barbie who I made the mistake of bringing into the swimming pool only to have the little metal wires in her hair (which was how it curled) rust. I didn't bring her to my friends house the day I brought all my other dolls...only to accidentally leave them behind and have them chewed up by her two big dogs. This doll lives in my girlhood bedroom. She was naked for many years until I finally bought her a new dress last summer when I went to visit my parents.

    And that brings me to today's Barbie clothes. Poor Barbie has little to choose from in the way of wardrobe these days. Either she's in a pink sparkly swimsuit or a pink shimmery minidress. I know the Barbies of my childhood were not exactly dressed as though they shopped at Talbots, but in their maxi-dresses and bell-bottoms we could at least pretend they were something other than streetwalkers. When I was in high school I babysat for a family where tmid-he mom had kept her early 1960s Barbies and all of their fabulous outfits. Each ensemble had a name like "garden party" or "afternoon tea" and came complete with gloves, hat, shoes, purse. Who knows, she might have felt the same way about her daughter's 1980s Barbies as I felt about the ones I bought last week.

  2. #2
    kellyd is offline Silver level (200+ posts)
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    This disappoints me... and makes me VERY glad that I still have all of my barbies and their clothes from the 80's!
    Mom to DS born June 2008 and twin DD's August 2010

  3. #3
    mom2binsd is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    My DD plays with my old Barbie's from the 70's but remember how car seat plastic degrades...well Barbie degrades over time too, we've had a number of accidental amputations and decaptitations but overall the old gals are still fun to play with!

  4. #4
    inmypjs is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I can't speak personally to the quality difference between old and new Barbies, but did want to say that if you are looking for modest clothing for Barbie, my DD received a large set for Christmas that some relatives purchased on ebay. I too had complained about today's Barbie clothes, and the ones they gave her are very modest! Tons of pants, jeans, sweaters, higher cut tops and even turtlenecks.

  5. #5
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    Did you buy the $5 target barbies? The $10 barbies are much nicer and have the rubbery limbs. DD has some of each. I am disappointed none of the arms bend.

    I loved my western barbie...you pushed her back and her eye winked.
    Mama to DD (3/06), DS1 (7/09), and DS2 (8/13)

  6. #6
    TxCat is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiegirl View Post
    Did you buy the $5 target barbies? The $10 barbies are much nicer and have the rubbery limbs. DD has some of each. I am disappointed none of the arms bend.

    I loved my western barbie...you pushed her back and her eye winked.
    I had the western barbie too! Boy, does that bring back some memories!
    DD1 10/2010
    DD2 8/2013

  7. #7
    ilfaith is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiegirl View Post
    Did you buy the $5 target barbies? The $10 barbies are much nicer and have the rubbery limbs. DD has some of each. I am disappointed none of the arms bend.

    I loved my western barbie...you pushed her back and her eye winked.
    Two were the $5 Barbies, one was more expensive (around $8 marked down from around $12) and I also bought one of the "Barbie Basics" collectible dolls for myself (for $19.95). All had the same hard molded plastic bodies. None bent at the knee. The mid-priced Barbie could spread her legs...and also had what appear to be molded plastic "panties" imprinted on the body (which I suppose is good since her dress barely covers her tush.)

    I am amused by the Barbies where you are supposed to swap heads...although I did have a Tuesday Taylor doll, where you twisted her scalp around and flipped her hair back to go from blonde to brunette.

  8. #8
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    I have noticed that some of DD's Barbies are the cheaper plastic and others are the rubbery bodies I remember. I really dislike the stiff plastic.
    DS 10, 5th grade
    DD 8, 3rd grade

  9. #9
    lilycat88 is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilfaith View Post

    I am amused by the Barbies where you are supposed to swap heads...although I did have a Tuesday Taylor doll, where you twisted her scalp around and flipped her hair back to go from blonde to brunette.
    I still have my Tuesday Taylor doll. And, I still have my "Cher" doll. I've also got my rad bright orange camaro
    Susanna 6/29/04
    James 6/15/10

  10. #10
    mom2binsd is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I had a grow up Barbie, she had a flat mushy chest and you wound her arm in a circle and she grew boobs....my mom wondered why I was walking around circling my arms all the time..

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