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Barbie Now Comes With ... Tattoos!
We’ve had Malibu Barbie. We’ve had Ballet Barbie. We’ve even had Trailer Trash Barbie (although I’m pretty sure she wasn’t an official Mattel version).
And now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce...
Tramp Stamp Barbie! Who IS an official Mattel version.
That’s not her official name, however. It’s Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Barbie. Because, you know, like, a Barbie with a tattoo is, like, stylin’. Totally.
Here’s the boilerplate from Amazon.com:
“Over 40 easy, no mess tattoos to design and decorate Barbie doll's fashions. Customize the fashions and apply the fun temporary tattoos on you too. Choose from Barbie or Nikki dolls, both include additional fashions, tattoo stamper and tattoos.”
Wow. Barbie with a tattoo stamper. Are we through the looking glass or what?
My older sister Vicky was one of the original Barbie girls, the first generation to get sucked into the vortex of racks and racks of Keen Barbie Fashions and Nifty Barbie Accessories and Lost Barbie Shoes. She had two, as I recall – a blonde and a brunette who came attired in matching zebra stripe bathing suits.
Later she added a blond Ken doll to the family. I think he came wearing swim togs. I do know that he had a pair of pajamas that came with a tiny little alarm clock, a tiny little glass of milk and a tiny little cinnamon bun.
(It’s the cinnamon bun I remember best. Ken was kind of a drip, a big blond Gosharoonie Frat Boy to begin with, so my brother P.D. and I decided to color his hair with Testor’s model paint. Gloss black. Well, it seems that the plastic of Ken’s head wasn’t a good match for the paint. That stuff refused to dry past the tacky stage, and somehow that tiny little cinnamon bun became stuck to Ken’s head, where it bonded permanently. Vicky took one look and ran shrieking to Mom. Boy, did we catch it for that one.)
Over the years I have been acquainted with enough little girls to get a pretty good idea of how Barbie was being transformed, from the Campus Queen Hanging Out With Her Friends At The Record Hop, to the Career Girl With Dream House and Car, to the Sunny California Beach Babe, to the Fashion Maven, to the You Can Be Anything Professional.
And now we come to Sportin’ Ink Barbie.
Now, I’m not against tattoos, having a few myself. I’m not even against Barbie having a couple. I’ve seen some tattoos on women that were absolutely striking.
But the winged heart in the small of the back, with the word “Ken” in the middle, just sort of raised my hackles. You know, there’s a reason they call those tattoos “Tramp Stamps.” All they need now is a stool for her to sit on, with a tiny little Long Island Iced Tea in one hand and a tiny little Marlboro Light in the other, and you’ve got the next doll in the series: Totally Stylin’ Tramp Stamp Barfly Barbie.
Which actually would be kind of appropriate, considering the old girl has just turned 50. The early Barbie’s heavy-lidded, pouty, sex-kitten look was no accident. The doll who inspired her was modeled after a German cartoon hooker. True. Barbie’s beginnings were somewhat on the ... um ... disreputable side. Hey, she had to pay for that Dream House some way.
I wonder if Ken knew.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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