Today, on Barbie's 56th birthday, it's easy to focus on what's so wrong with Mattel's signature hunk of plastic. She's impossibly proportioned, not a stellar role model, and, let's face it, starting to seem somewhat thirsty in her middle age.
But, as Fusion's Molly Fitzpatrick wrote, it's kind of hard to dislike Barbie. After all, she went through a lot. When I was a kid, I dyed my Little Mermaid Barbie's bright red hair green by soaking it overnight in a cup of peppermint tea. In my defense, I didn't know that's what would happen. I thought I would just rid her of that plastic smell and replace it with something more organic. So when I think of Barbie, I think of waking up in the morning to see my sad little doll, her head submerged in a cup of cold tea, looking, probably, the way a real mermaid would.
Turns out, I'm not the only one who could have treated Barbie better:
Barbie doll broken….in broken Britain …. pic.twitter.com/Bu4S1ruzyq
— Tim A Roberts (@Tim_A_Roberts) September 5, 2014
Here Fusion's Barbie (and some Ken) Doll confessions. We're so sorry.
We made a Sinead O'Connor Barbie ("shaved" head and punk clothes). —Margarita Noriega
My precocious next door neighbor ran a "brothel" out of the Barbie Dreamhouse. We were 6, I think? —Kent Hernandez
Militant Feminist Barbie
When I was younger I was pissed that one of my Kens was being rude to my Barbie, so I took his head off. I then changed his name to "sincabeza" which means "without a head" in Spanish. My Barbies spoke English. So I'd say it with an American accent, and that's what my (real + living) friends would call him, as well as what my inanimate barbies would call him. Don't mess with the ladies, huh. —Myrna Perez
I used to rip all my Barbie's heads off…clearly my parents have not forgotten. —Elena Scotti
I yanked off her head. I think I wanted to see how it was that she was able to move her head around so smoothly. (There was a little ball in there, as I recall.) I'd like to say that I was practicing for my days of studying the brain in the lab. I was sad when I couldn't put her head back. A valuable lesson learned. —Daniela Hernandez
I know I had Barbies of my own but I remember very little about them — what I DO remember is repeatedly beheading and burying my little sister’s favorite Barbie, which for some reason she’d named Cool Girl. I think I may also have drawn on her face with marker. I’m not proud of this. —Molly Fitzpatrick
Decapitated Baby Barbie
I remember one '90s Christmas we got that Barbie that comes with the baby that will drink water and then pee in a diaper and cry (similar to this updated one). Anywho, you put water in a bottle, and it drinks and water leaks from it's eyes and pee hole. Technically it was my sister's Barbie, and when she decided to take a nap, me and my brother played with it. He was 5 years older so it's mostly his fault. God, I'm so embarrassed. He accidentally dropped a chair right on the baby Barbie's neck. The chair just fell backwards and landed that way. When we lifted the chair, Baby Barbie had been decapitated. Since we had only just received the gift, we panicked. We couldn't find any glue, so Bo (my brother) found some White out and expertly stuck the head back on. It wasn't until 10 minutes later when Lanie (my sister) came back down and started screaming that we saw it. There was White Out coming out of her eyes. And pee hole. It was HORRIFYING. —Akilah Hughes
Too-Tall For Sex Barbie
This brought back memories of trying to, uh, "pair" one of my Ninja Turtle action figures with my sister's Barbie doll so they could do it. But Barbie was so much taller than the Turtles, it would piss me off! Ah, childhood was good. —Pendarvis Harshaw
I seem to remember making my GI Joe action figure Gung-Ho press up against Barbie a few times. But ultimately, they weren't compatible. Barbie was too tall for him, and Gung-Ho, it turns out, likes boys. —Tim Rogers
My younger sister used to turn her Barbies into trolls. She would undress them completely, cut their hair very short until it stood up and paint it with markers. As a final touch she would use a stick-on-earring and put it on her belly button. —Ana Stadthagen
I used to try to shave the breasts down with scissors because i thought they were too big. —Carol Schaeffer
Identity Crisis Barbie
I grew up with three brothers in a little country town in Australia. My mum's one and only attempt at making me a 'girl' was to buy me a Barbie. The boys got Masters of the Universe figurines. As soon as she gave the doll to me, I cut her hair off, dressed her up in "armor" (tin foil) and prepared her with warpaint (vegemite) to take on He-Man. Suffice to say, mother never bought me another Barbie. It's been Wonder Woman ever since. —Alice Brennan
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.