**Warning: Contains nude dolly bits. Proceed with caution.**
I know, you’re probably thinking “Where did this come from?” I normally post about Pullip and other dolls exclusively aimed at adult collectors. The last time I mentioned Barbie, it was because I’d robbed a (collector!) Barbie of her dress for my factory girl Blythe. But just ’cause I don’t normally post about Barbies doesn’t mean I don’t have oodles of them. Because I do. I probably have more Barbies than any other kind of doll. (Unless my Monster High collection has gotten even bigger than I thought.)
Now, lately, I don’t often buy Barbies anymore, it’s true. But I still buy them occasionally, both collector dolls and play-line dolls that languish about waiting for me to open them. And last night I actually got around to opening one such doll, which I had bought from the Toys R Us that was closing back in, um, when was that? June? Ahem. Anyway. Finally got around to opening her, one of the new Barbies with the more–no, let’s not call it more realistic, let’s call it a less unrealistic body type. This one:
Despite my initial delight on seeing new Barbies with such realistic proportions, I’d been holding off on buying any, because they were swimsuit dolls, but on store-closing-clearance prices, that had made her a good deal. (Swimsuit dolls, plus their reduced body size means they can’t really wear any other Barbie clothes. Though they should be able to wear Stardoll clothes without any trouble, and probably MuseModel clothes, though not quite as well.)
Obviously, one of my first thoughts was “will her clothes fit Pyrrha?”
But those pants had elastic around the ankles, so they were a real bitch to get on and off, and the swimsuit doesn’t fit so hot. But the basic fit is okay, so if this new Barbie size ever puts out any, you know, dresses, I’ll be all over them for Pyrrha. I also learned the very important fact, in the process of taking the pictures for this post, that the Disney Store princess dolls’ dresses fit Pyrrha like a glove. So I need to look through all of those that I’ve gotten and see if any of their dresses would look good on Pyrrha. (The one I tried on her–Cinderella’s pink dress (the one her step-sisters ripped to shreds) was not her color, in that it clashed with her hair something fierce, but the size was just perfect. I’m thinking Rapunzel’s dress might be good, as purple is a good color for her….ooh, there’s Merida’s dress…yeah, there should be a number of good Disney dresses in my collection for her. There may be a whole post to be had from this…)
Uh, anyway, getting back onto what I was supposed to be talking about, I started thinking about the changes Barbie has gone through over her 50+ years. I assembled a line-up representing some of the important stages:
I didn’t want to take my vintage Barbies out of their case, so I’ve used reproductions for the two oldest ones on the line here. So, from left to right:
- Bubble-cut Barbie (reproduction)
- Twist-n-Turn Barbie (reproduction)
- Rocker Diva (late 1980s)
- Generation Girl Tori (mid-1990s)
- My Scene Barbie (1999 or 2000, I believe)
- a fully jointed Barbie
- a MuseModel body Barbie
- Stardoll Barbie
- the new Barbie
Before I move on, a few words about some of the dolls in the middle there. Diva (or was her name Dee?) was one of my favorite Barbies from late in my days of playing with dolls as a girl, when I was actually too old for it, but was doing it anyway, ’cause I had no friends. (I probably shouldn’t admit that…) She had some kind of dancing mechanism, but it doesn’t really work anymore; she clicks when you move her arms, but they don’t move each other, or turning her waist doesn’t make them move, or whatever was supposed to happen. Her clothes are also authentically from the era. She and Sweet Roses PJ–my absolute favorite from my childhood–sit on top of the case with the vintage Barbies in it–at all times. (I couldn’t use PJ for this because one of her legs came off, so she can’t be undressed, as it was repaired with duct tape at the time, and she is now horribly damaged. 😦 )
The Generation Girl line was an attempt to bring Barbie “up to date” in the mid-90s. It featured a new body, and all new faces. It was the first truly new Barbie face–not just the Mackie face being put on play-line dolls, but a genuinely new face–in a very long time, and all her friends had unique faces and personalities. In addition, there were a number of quirks to the initial dolls that were viewed as scandalous and were quickly removed from later dolls, including that Barbie herself had a heart-shaped (or was it a butterfly?) tattoo on her ankle, and Tori here had one ear triple-pierced.
Mothers in the 1990s were not going to put up with that, and Mattel quickly changed it. Later Tori dolls had only single-pierced ears, and Barbies did not have tattoos. (These days, I doubt the mothers would care.) One of the other girls in the line–whose name I don’t remember, sadly–had a set of rainbow stripes on the cuff of her jeans, which I always took to mean she was secretly a lesbian, and that no one had dared to include that information in her profile because they knew Mattel would never okay it. I don’t know if the designers intended that when they put the rainbow on her jeans or not, but it’s an interesting thought. Incidentally, I believe I read somewhere that the Generation Girl line was the brain child of the person who later left Mattel to create Bratz; however, I’m not positive about that, so please don’t quote me on it.
Speaking of Bratz, it was in order to compete with Bratz that the My Scene Barbie was created. Seeing that Barbie was losing ground to MGA’s huge-headed Bratz, Mattel put the My Scene Barbies on the market. My Scene had a larger head, and a slightly more slender body–actually very similar to Generation Girl’s body–so it was expected to compete well with Bratz. It, uh, didn’t. My Scene didn’t last very long. Now, for my money, I prefer the My Scene Barbie to Bratz, but I’ve never been a Bratz fan. (Though I do really like Bratzillaz…) Some years later, the My Scene Barbie head would be scaled up ever so slightly to be the original basis of the Monster High heads, btw.
Okay, now we can move on to a comparison of the bodies beneath the clothes, which was actually supposed to be my point. (Though I’m sure it was hard to tell through all the gobbledy-gook.)
Aaaaand there’s so many that what was really clear to me in person isn’t very obvious. Ugh. Sorry. Well, the point is that, actually, there’s been a slow, general trend towards the less exaggerated physique for some time now. The first three all have the same proportions, right? More or less identically. Then Generation Girl is a little smaller, My Scene is a little smaller than that (in fact, I had safety-pinned her dress shut because it was a standard-sized Barbie dress), the jointed one is more or less Generation Girl size, the MuseModel one is actually really hard to compare because of the funky pose (but you can’t help loving the MuseModel body with its high-end department store mannequin shape) but seems about My Scene size, and then you have Stardoll and the new one, which are both really very small hipped, small chested, and yet no longer so tiny in the waist. They’re still promoting an anorexic body shape, of course, but they’re fashion dolls, what else would they be promoting? It is at least one that can, in theory, be found on a human body. (Apart from the legs being too long and the head still being larger than on a human being, but…compared to the size of a Pullip or a Blythe head… :p )
But I had some more I wanted to say about the Stardoll. I’d never undressed her, and she’s the only Stardoll I’d opened. (I have the one other, which I had bought exclusively to compare to her clone, but mostly Stardoll did not speak to me.) So I was a little surprised by what I saw when I undressed her, and I want to talk about that.
(Sorry about the deep shadow around her face; bad angle from the lamp.) So, first and foremost, kudos to Mattel for the printed on underwear. If they have to print on undergarments, better to actually make them look like undergarments, instead of just weird patterns, like on several of the other dolls in the line-up, or on Monster High dolls. (Or on poor Tori above, who just had a white abdomen, which looks even weirder.) However, I can certainly see why the Stardoll line failed. Talk about a line of dolls you can’t play with! Her head can move. Her arms can move at the shoulders.
Her legs can’t even move. Not even at the hip. Never seen anything quite like it. I mean, this one is a good-looking doll–I love her face and especially her hair–but many of the others had rather a mean look to them, and they’re immobile? Who were these dolls aimed at? They were more expensive than regular Barbies, too, and yet they had a web tie-in site that seemed to be aimed at children. I don’t get it.
Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, this doll’s body shape is largely that of the Stardoll, but with flat feet instead of the arched feet of the Stardoll. And, thankfully, she can sit down, unlike the Stardoll. But, like the Stardoll, her legs are made of hard plastic, without any ability to bend her knees. Not a smart move, Mattel. Either give her full knee joints, like the elbow joints, or go back to clicky joints like the old days. Because this? This is bad. It’s hard to play with a doll whose legs don’t bend at the knees.
I do like this new face, though.
Oh, hey, I was gonna open that new Midge–the one connected to some kind of hideous-looking CG thing they’re doing online or something–and put her in this post, too. Dang. I’m not even sure where I put that. Rats. She looked pretty good; the face was based on my favorite face (#s 6 and 7 above have that face) so it was updating a classic, y’know? Hmm…I gotta figure out where I stashed that box…ugh…or clean my house….