I Am Beautiful…Because I’m a Girly-Girl!

Did you know that March 20th is Barbie Doll Day?  Yep – an entire Tuesday in March devoted to Barbie and friends, celebrating Barbie-type values: Perma-tans, pink convertibles, Barbie mansions, skimpy fashion, things-things-things, and of course, the ever-elusive – utterly unrealistic – hour-glass figure.

As I was researching the theme for this month’s I Am Beautiful campaign, I came across tons of Barbie facts.  Most of them looked like this:

Peaches and Cream Barbie - my FAVORITE growing up.

*Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. She is from Willows, Wisconsin, and went to Willows High School.

*Barbie was named after the daughter of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler. Their son’s name is: Ken.

*The first Barbie doll sold for $3.

*The first Black, and Hispanic Barbie dolls were introduced in 1980.

*Barbie’s first career was as a teenage fashion model. She has since had other careers including astronaut, rock star, paleontologist, presidential candidate, and Olympic ice skater, as well as many others.

*Barbie introduced a rap group in 1990 called “Barbie, and the Beats.”

*More than 105 million yards of fabric have gone into making the fashions of Barbie, and her friends, making Mattel one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world.

*Placed head to toe, Barbie dolls, and her friends sold since 1959 would circle the earth more than seven times.

Then I came across an interesting list at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.  Check this out:

Click here to read Galia Slayen's article about Barbie's dangerous body image in the Huffington Post.

*The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3 – 12 years of age. 

*A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.

* If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39” bust, an 18” waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe!

*Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.

*At 5’9” tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.

*If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

*Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

Those are some pretty rattling, ugly facts.  Not exactly a role model I want my daughters to emulate.  But here’s the thing.  Barbie, for all her faults, does have one thing I totally am on board with: girlie-ness.  What woman doesn’t like to get dressed up, slap some lipstick on, rock some glam eyeliner and go out on the town?  Even the most modest, outdoorsy, or homebody-ish woman likes a reason to pull out the pretty, rarely-worn things gathering dust in the back of the closet from time to time.  The same is true for little girls, too.  My darling SweetZ LOVES to dress up.  She believes tutus go with everything – including jeans and hiking boots – and will gladly take her brothers to the mat wearing a pink princess dress and a tiara.  She’s as rough and tumble and willing to get dirty as any boy her age…and she loves to do it looking as girly as possible.

So out of all Barbie’s blech, the plastic blonde bombshell did tap into that.  A girl’s need to be a girl.

With that in mind, March’s theme for I Am Beautiful… is Because I’m A Girly-Girl.  Now, don’t wag your head at me and say, “But, Myndi.  I’m not a girly-girl.  Never have been.  Never will be.”  Sorry, but I won’t buy what your selling.  I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a girl who’s not girly – it’s just the definition of girly has been skewed by popular culture.  Every girl is girly.  It’s intrinsic.  It’s in our nature.  We are different than guys in oh-so-many blessed, beautiful, awesomesauce ways – and that, in and of itself makes us girly.  NOT whether or not your favorite color is pink, or your favorite hobby is giggling over hot guys while bedazzling your brand-spanking-new pair of skinny jeans.  We are girly because we are girls.

So, here’s your assignment.  Go getchyer girly on.  Girls’ night out, girls’ night in.  Date night with your sweetie.  Cozy night at home.  Mani’s and pedi’s, or shopping at the mall.  Hiking, skiing, shooting guns.  Crafting with your besties.  Wherever and whatever you do when you are at your most girly – I want pictures of it!  Let’s celebrate the part of womanhood Barbie got right – the fun that’s wrapped up in being a girl – and let’s torch the rest of those skewed Barbie-isms, Burning-Man style.  Let’s do it for ourselves, and for our daughters and granddaughters – a celebration that says Womanhood rocks, and not because some freaky-ass plastic doll says so.

Please send your pics to myndishafer [at] rocketmail [dot] com, with the phrase Because I’m A Girly-Girl in the subject line.  I need your submissions by March 18 so I can get your lovely pics up in time for Barbie Doll Day!  Don’t forget to spread the word – the more the merrier!!

Much love to you,


P.S.  In anticipation of Shafer #4’s arrival, there won’t be any I AM BEAUTIFUL posts for April…but there WILL be lots of fabulous guest posts, so be sure to stop by and check ’em out!


40 thoughts on “I Am Beautiful…Because I’m a Girly-Girl!

  1. Gloria Richard Author says:

    SQUEE! I missed the I AM BEAUTIFUL smile photo invitation. NOT missing this one.

    Girly-girl me likes doing silly things with an equally silly pal. MUST search pics.

    Back atcha before the deadline, Myndi. Incredible factoids about Barbie.

    AWESOMESAUCE! I love that new word.

  2. Natalie Hartford says:

    LOVE this!!! WHAT FUN!!
    I agree, Barbie did bring a lot of girlie girl to the table. No matter how tomboy I was (and I WAS), I always loved playing dress up with my Barbie and to this day, I can down and dirty with the best of them but I’ll do it wearing something pink and fabulous! 🙂 LOL!
    I can’t WAIT to take part in this next round of Photo FUN!!!

  3. Emma Burcart says:

    Oh, fun! I love being girly, especially dressing up! The funny thing is, I only had one real Barbie and I never really played with her. I got bored when I realized that their hair doesn’t grow back. This will be a fun assignment.

  4. Tameri Etherton says:

    Oooooh, so much fun! March 18th? Yikes! I have to get this thing going. You know I’m a total girly-girl, so this will be a blast to do. I just have to figure out what it is I want to do… there are so many choices. When I’m at my most girlie… okay, I think I’ve got this.

    By the way, I am so in love with your Sweet Z!! She’s totally the coolest little girl around. Tutus DO go with everything.

  5. Ginger Calem says:

    Woo hoo … I’m in again! And I’m going to try to not use an existing photo but make it a point to do something girly and fun this week for my picture.

    Yay for Girl-Power!

  6. Angela Orlowski-Peart says:

    Fabulous post – such a hilarious list of Barbie facts. Goodness, if she was a real girl like in the photo, her head would be way too small for her body. Hmm, I don’t think that’s attractive, haha.

    Amazing how much these things have changed since 1965. I’m glad the Slumber Party Barbie is nowhere to be found in the stores – what a crazy idea.

    My six-year-old daughter has four Barbies and likes to play with them from time to time (I even made her a cool Barbie house). Fortunately enough she doesn’t seem to be in awe the Barbie body type. We eat healthy and exercise a lot in our family but I would never want my children to strive to be bone-skinny. That’s just unhealthy, both physically and mentally.

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      (1) You MADE a Barbie house? That’s. So. Cool.

      (2) Yeah, the Slumber Party Barbie sounds terrible. Blech.

      I played with Barbies a lot growing up, too. Really, I think the image issues I struggled with came a lot more from the world around me than from Barbie herself…and there are LOTS of other dolls that emulate a crappy body image and values (Bratz, anybody?). It’s definitely a mixed bag with Barbie.

  7. Patricia says:

    Poor Barbie. That top-heavy, empty-headed girl.

    I actually remember loving my Barbies. I had my first one when I was about 7 I think. I used to make my own Barbie doll clothes. My mom taught me how to sew just so I could design my own Barbie fashions. I guess that’s one good thing that came from being a Barbie lover.

    Thanks for the fun post and interesting Barbie facts. Who knew?

    Now let’s celebrate that girliness! Cheers!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Aw, my mom used to sew clothes for my Barbie doll. I loved her handmade wardrobe so much!

      Just like with anything, there’s more than one side for Barbie. I played with her growing up, too, and never put much thought into her figure. Now, though, when I see such pressure on young girls to focus on their external…it feels like a caution, you know?

      But I do love the intrinsic girlie-ness that comes along with Barbie.

  8. David N. Walker says:

    Since Barbie is over 50 years old, that 39″ would be bruising her knees by now. LOL.

    When are we going to have “Handsome Guy Month?” Never mind, they wouldn’t let anyone approaching 70 enter anyway.

  9. Karen Rought says:

    Is that slumber party barbie for real? I mean, seriously? Why would they EVER think that was okay? Do you know why they would do something like that? Like, what were they trying to accomplish there?

    I grew up playing with Barbies…and playing with cars in the dirt. (I had a lot of boy cousins to keep up with.) I never once put any thought into Barbie’s size or thought that I should strive to look that way (and I’ve always been a stocky girl). But I also think times have changed (and that’s just in the last, oh, 15 years or so). There’s a lot more crap on TV now, and it’s hard to watch any of the commercials. Half of the advertisements during a single commercial break are about how to make yourself “better” with makeup or pills or this or that. I can see how that would affect a little girl and then cause her to make the connection between that and Barbie.

    I’m definitely a tom-boy, but I love dressing up. I’ll have to see if I can dig a picture out for this. 🙂

  10. alicamckennajohnson says:

    Part of me wants to be a girly girl, I like looking at pictures of shoes and make-up- so many colors. But I hate high heels and I wear make up maybe once a year, yet I’m still attracted to it.

  11. Sheila Seabrook says:

    I received my first Barbie when I was 40. So you’re never too old. Lol! I played the ultimate girly-girl today. Broke the vacuum, then waited. For my manly-man to come home and fix it for me. Love that!

  12. Author Kristen Lamb says:

    What an AWESOME idea. LOVE the blog!!! I loved Barbies and you know what? Barbie didn’t skew how I felt about my body. Why would I compare myself with a DOLL? If we want the root of anorexia, go look in every fashion magazine, catalogue, and TV show. The FASHION industry is what has jacked up the notion of beauty. I felt pretty until I became a teenager who read 17 magazine and no one looked like me. Every little girl with a Barbie and a tutu feels beautiful, even the little pudgy girls.

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Yep. The fashion industry is seriously whacked. As a healthy plus-sized hottie, I can totally attest to that. 😀

      I totally dug Barbie as a little girl, and didn’t really relate her body type to mine when I was little. I was pretty much oblivious to body type until junior high (although I can’t say I ever felt pretty growing up. That was an upbringing thing, though – def. not Barbie’s fault). THAT SAID, I think that when we get into those wicked tough tween/teen years where the images thrown at us are super vivid and nearly unattainable (for most of us, anyway), the message there can be re-inforced by the innocent things we held in our hands as young children. I see this often in my own kiddos – they pick up values from the toys/games they play. For SweetZ, when she wears a dress, she says she’s pretty; when she wears jeans, she says she’s cool. I’ve never taught her that – she picked it up from the world around her. It’s my job as her momma to teach her to balance those ideas, but a value caught on to so young is one that will most likely stick around for the long haul, and have some affect on what she’s apt to believe or buy into when she gets older. I think that’s where Barbie’s body image can become dangerous – the way it sort of sneaks into a girl’s psyche.

      Absolutely agree, though – EVERY little girl with a Barbie and a tutu feels beautiful. Period. 🙂

  13. Molly Pendlebury says:

    I missed the last one as life got crazy and blog reading and writing got kicked to the curb for a bit. I’m excited to take part in this one. Maybe Ginger and I can workout out girly together 😉

    Loving your blog Myndi! Sometimes, I get the chance to read posts on my phone in the school pick up line but, I can’t comment on it from there 😦

  14. Jess Witkins says:

    OMG! Between my sister and I we had so many barbie dolls, but we also played with Cabbage Patch Dolls so I don’t think Barbie skewed my body image. Like you and Kristen were voicing, fashion magazines and TV/movie models had more to do with that.

    The cool thing I loved about my Barbie dolls was having a variety, and I even had a knock off version of the dolls that were all Native American. Of course as a kid, I didn’t think anything of it, but now I think back and realize how lucky I was that I had parents who encouraged getting to learn about and play with other cultures. Those dolls were the ones that taught all the others how to horseback ride! LOL

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      That’s so cool – my sister and I had more Barbie’s than we could count, but my favorites were the Peaches and Cream Barbie, and we had one with red hair that I always pretended was Red Sonja (you know, the female counterpart to Conan the Barbarian?). Weird, but it was my favorite movie for a lonnnnnng time growing up. Your Native American dolls sound awesome!

  15. Amber West says:

    My mom bought us the black, Mexican, and red-headed Barbies. She didn’t like the idea of us only having blonde white girls to play with. We were not allowed to have Ken dolls, though. That’s a recipe for trouble! 🙂

    Myndi, as much as I hate photos with me in them, I will see what I can dig up, since I love your idea. 🙂

  16. Diane Capri (@DianeCapri) says:

    Myndi, Thanks for Barbie. I’d kind of forgotten about her. I had only one Barbie and one Midge and much later, a Ken. The girls had clothes and shoes and all sorts of stuff, but poor Ken was wardrobe challenged. Maybe because my mom couldn’t make boy clothes as well as she did for the girls!

  17. August McLaughlin says:

    Thank you for addressing the dark and bright sides of Barbie, Myndi! She certainly can fit within a healthy child’s play life. I love your girly-girl fervor! Can’t wait for the followup post. 🙂

  18. Lena Corazon (@LenaCorazon) says:

    Myndi, I LOVE your definition of what it means to be a girly-girl! SweetZ definitely reminds me of myself when I was in kindergarten: I insisted on wearing dresses to school every day (because I was a princess, and princesses didn’t wear pants), but all of my friends were boys, and we ran around and played “Power Rangers” and “X-Men” and other nerdy things.

    I’ll admit, I was a bit of a Barbie skeptic as a kid. I had a couple of “ethnic” Barbies, but I thought they looked just like the white Barbie with a little paint thrown on. :/ When I was 10 or 11 I got a “Miss Philippine Islands Barbie” that I loved to death, mostly because she was dressed in a traditional Filipino dress. Still, I’d rather get all dolled up and DANCE to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” 😀

    I’ll definitely see what pictures I can dig up! Girly-girl is something that I try to do every day!

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