Barbie Is a Boomer?

Barbie swimsWho would have thunk it? She looks so young and stylish. And the body, oh my God, the body. Word is that she has never been touched by a plastic surgeon’s knife, but can anyone look that way at age 50?

Barbie showed up at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959 and the hair color and style has changed about one hundred times, and she’s had that many careers as well (fashion model, tennis pro, ice skater, astronaut, flight attendant, ballerina, nurse, gymnast, Miss America, TV reporter, teacher, rock star, doctor, Army officer, pilot, rap musician, presidential candidate, police officer, baseball player, Barbie AfroRockette, diver, lifeguard, chef, photographer, producer, racecar driver, and zoologist, to name a few). Talent and looks --- the complete package. Word is that she was modeled on Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe.

The thing is, I never stopped to realize that she’s a boomer. Maybe it’s the whole eternally young thing and the way she has reinvented herself time and time again. But baby boomers have done that as well. For every stage of life, we have morphed into what we needed to become. The difference is that Barbie still looks like she’s 17 or 18 years old, while the rest of us are definitely showing our age.

Barbie hippieI was startled to see her dump Ken back in 2004. You expect aging men to cast off the mate in search of the younger model, but Barbie? And Ken hadn’t aged any more than Barbie. Word is that she dumped him for the Australian surfer dude, Blaine. Ken and Barbie had been an item for 43 years, so you wonder if Ken even saw it coming or just turned into the headlights of the bus as it ran him over. Sure, Barbie says they’re still friends, they needed space, they had grown apart – all the usual clichés but they add up to the same thing. Ken was toast. Nothing more than another accessory for Barbie to play with.

Now she’s turned 50 and will need to face a life without a significant other. Can she go it alone? Does she turn to eharmony? Sure, she still has the hard body (plastic is great that way), but what’s going on in the cute noggin of hers? As her maker says, Barbie’s more than a doll, but will she need to become even more than that for the second half of her life?

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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