I was not a Barbie girl (big surprise?) I had one left over from my sister, who I don’t think was a Barbie girl, either. But I had my very own Skipper, the little sister of Barbie. She had a flat chest; this, I remember.
I suppose because Barbie was so curvy, Skipper was so much more relateable to me as a gawky kid.
Contemporary toys fascinate me, especially the ones that have a history. Have you noticed that toys have changed rather drastically? We seemed tougher as kids of the 1970s. This was my Slinky:
And this is the new Slinky:
Notice a difference? The new Slinky is made of plastic. Plastic! Ours was the original, made of metal—cut your fingers when you popped open the last ring. We also had this wonderful outdoor horror, the metal slide:
Do you know what this did to the back of your legs on a sunny day? I think I still carry the skin scars from my childhood. And now, children have this pleasure:
Not only is today’s playground apparatus non-heat inducing but now it comes in bright colors! I am most surprised by the differences in relation to gender. The Easy Bake Oven, for example, looked like this when I was a kid:
And is now produced as this:
In a generation of young foodies due to Top Chef, and an entire cable network geared toward food, I wonder why Hasbro has gendered this product so strongly, limiting cross-gender possibilities. They aren’t the only ones. Here is my Big Wheel from when I was a kid:
And now, we can purchase this for the stylin’ contemporary girl:
I can tell you this: I was a total tomboy when I was a kid. This Big Wheel would have never seen my butt in its seat. Sadly, I destroyed my original Big Wheel jumping ramps in the woods with Chris K, my childhood partner-in-crime. Even the game Cootie (remember?!) has taken a huge turn. This was my cootie, once built:
And this is the new and improved Cootie:
But no toy has made me turn my head as quickly as Barbie. Get this: here was my Barbie camper:
And here is today’s:
And my Barbie case:
This side-by-side comparison offers a fantastic comparison of the Barbie penthouse. If you notice, the contemporary penthouse has a hot tub. A hot tub? Really?
But I think this rattles me more than anything:
I’ll say it again: um…wtf?