Barbie’s French Connection

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You’ve come a long way baby … er, Barbie! Mattel’s little plastic doll has found herself embroiled in many a controversy over the years—from some racial miscues to Tokidoki the tattoo-covered Barbie to Happy Family Midge, Barbie’s pregnant best friend with a removable tummy and baby insert, etc., etc. And even if you never spotted any of Barbie’s little “dolly don’ts,” just the fact that this pint-sized clotheshorse has always had such an impossible figure was enough to sour some people’s milk.

Love her or loathe her, though, Barbie is without a doubt the world’s most famous doll. And now on her 57th birthday, she’s out to prove it with her very own special show at the Paris Louvre.

Quelle fille intelligente!

There’s a lavish expo of all things Barbie currently running at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Palais. There you can see the many Barbie versions, Barbie pets and Barbie accessories. Hey, the exhibit even maps out how eternal boyfriend Ken evolved from a skinny teen in a tie to his current hunka-hunka burning plastic form. You can catch a glimpse of the 700-plus Barbies on display in the video clip below.

That fun snippet gives you a sense of all that has transpired during this world-changing doll’s existence. She’s been a teen, a homemaker, a movie star, a doctor, a cabaret singer, an African princess, an astronaut. You name it and Barbie has opened the door for little girls to dream about being it. And that’s really what this retrospective is all about. Plastic though she may be, there’s a lot of American history and culture reflected in the ever-changing look of something that started as nothing more than a dress-me-up toy. And that’s pretty impressive.

Maybe it’ll even earn the Barbs a little more respect from all those grown-up haters, too.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

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