Playing With Barbies… 25 Years Later #BarbieProject

This is a compensated campaign as part of The Barbie Project. All thoughts and ideas are my own.

I was just about to leave for Philadelphia when my grandparents called me to tell me they had found an old suitcase that had belonged to me. It was a pale yellow, didn’t weigh much but what it carried had once been extremely precious to me. It was my collection of Barbie dolls that I had played with from the time I was 4 years old til my last Barbie was bought at the age of 10. Barbie was a piece of my childhood that I held very near and dear. However, I was 20 yrs old, and couldn’t possibly think of why I would want a suitcase full of Barbies as I ventured into independence, so I told my grandmother to give it to my cousins. Little did I know, Barbie and I would meet again.

When my daughter was born, I had plans! I was going to raise my girl to be a smart, strong, independent girl. There would be no Barbie dolls or pink frills for her. Somehow, on my journey towards independence, I had picked up that being feminine is a equal to being weak, or less than. I hated that I thought that way but I wanted to give my daughter a jump ahead, so for the first couple years of her life I did my best to keep overly “girly” stuff away from her.

That is, until, she found it on her own.

Sofia BarbieProject

My daughter got her first Barbie as a gift from my sister. She was a ballerina, and my daughter fell instantly in love. I saw her eyes light up and her imagination started kicking into overdrive. The next time we walked into a Target, the Barbie aisle became her favorite place…and I tried to say no, but I couldn’t resist her sweet little face. So I bought her a couple more. I couldn’t believe I was buying my girl Barbies. What did this mean? Was I teaching her something bad? Would this kill all my hopes of raising a smart, independent, strong girl?

Not at all.

2014-02-18 18.36.24

Instead what I found is that Barbie allowed my daughter to explore a new world. One minute Barbie was a chef, the next a teacher, and a few days later she was also an astronaut and a rock star. What Barbie did is show me that feminine does not mean weak and that, in fact, Barbie teaches my daughter that she can do anything she wants, all she has to do is dream it.

I have learned so much watching my daughter play with Barbie the past few years that I am now excited to announce that Barbie invited my family to participate in a new project where we are sharing what happens when kids play with Barbie called The Barbie Project. So what does that mean? It means that not only will Sofia get to learn more from Barbie- but I will too, cause I’ll be playing with her too! Well, if Sofia lets me anyway…as I found out, she seems to think “grown ups don’t know how to play.”


Well, I think it’s time I re-learned and I have an awesome teacher…

Sofia BarbieProject 01


  1. says

    Love when our girls play dress up just like Barbie! I die! Your daughter is too funny mom your gonna mess up my dolls. Mine let’s me play but shes very particular at where each Barbie goes.

  2. Missy says

    Though I can agree with you that Barbie has got a much different variety of professional opportunities than she used to, her size and shape are the true problem. If she were a real woman she would fall flat on her face from her ridiculous proportions and just the purchasing of her allows children, boys and girls, to believe that women should look as weak and sickly as she does… with sticks for arms and legs, too perfect skin and facial features, a neck like a swans, and a incredibly thin waist. I think we should give our children realistic toys, especially in this world where girls are constantly faced with advertising that has been photoshopped and airbrushed. There is even an option for school photos to be airbrushed! Here are some interesting articles on Barbie and Real Women:

    And here is a kickstarter campaign for a “normal barbie”:

    As you can, this is something I feel really passionate about. Thanks for letting me vent and I really hope you take a look at those articles.


    • says

      Hi Missy!

      Thanks for your passion. I am a plus size woman myself so let me take a second to address this (my opinion alone). I don’t think we need a “normal” doll to teach our girls to have confidence and love themselves. Barbie is a great doll and great to open conversations but in the end, just by observing my daughter with her doll, she doesn’t see her for her figure…or deem her “better” for her looks. She sees her as a female doll that has a ton of careers, loyal friends and a life of her own. It’s up to me to make sure my daughter grows up knowing she is beautiful…no matter what. I played with Barbie and have no misconception that she is what I am supposed to look like because I had a strong sense of self thanks to my mom, grandmother and other strong females I grew up with.

      I also want to talk about the use of a “real woman” look. What makes a real woman? I have friends that are naturally thin who would love to be curvier, plus size friends that love themselves as is, friends that no matter what they look like, want different. Shouldn’t we stop judging and blaming a doll for our own misconceptions of where beauty lies? Beauty is from within…and nobody but us parents can teach our daughters that.

      Thanks for reading, and commenting and I do hope you follow along. I think we may surprise you!

      – Yolanda

  3. Missy says

    Thanks for responding Yolanda! I am plus-size as well. I did, however go through a couple of years of anorexia when I was a teen and had a sister who was bulimic. I couldn’t ever look in the mirror without seeing myself as grotesque and needing to change. I respectfully disagree with you on that point that having a barbie, here is quote from a study:
    “A total of 162 girls, from age 5 to age 8, were exposed to images of either Barbie dolls, Emme dolls (U.S. size 16), or no dolls (baseline control) and then completed assessments of body image. Girls exposed to Barbie reported lower body esteem and greater desire for a thinner body shape than girlsin the other exposure conditions. However, this immediate negative impact of Barbie doll was no longer evident in the oldest girls. These findings imply that, even if dolls cease to function as aspirational role models for older girls, early exposure to dolls epitomizing an unrealistically thin body ideal may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling.”

    I truly believe the earlier children are exposed to barbie, monster high dolls, and other hyper-sexualized looking toys…. the more they feel the effects of being influenced by them and the desire to change and conform to that look.

    • says

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree :). My experience with the doll is different as is my daughter’s and many of her friends. Again, please always feel free to voice your opinion but I urge that you follow along our journeys. I think my daughter will be a very knowledgeable teacher :).

      – Yolanda

  4. Janet W. says

    That is great that Barbies are opening up the world to your daughter and showing that women can be lots of things!

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