Let the Truth be Known

Around the same period girls become interested in sex, a time which conveniently coincides with a growing impatience with pulling clothes on and off her svelte body and swallowing her little shoes, Barbie becomes a prop in our adolescent explorations.

We imitate what we see on the daytime soaps. We act out what we believe should occur in Barbies' glamourous Dream House or her beautiful RV.

Usually, this consists of smacking a Barbie and a Ken together horizontally and smooshing their hips together in a most bizarre and unseemly fashion, making "uh-uh, ooh-ooh" noises. My circle of friends hadn't yet discovered same-sex loving: I don't seem to recall a single instance of Lesbian Barbie.

At first, one would ask one's friend "d'you wanna play dirty barbies?". Eventually, however, all Barbies were dirty - to play Barbies was to get Barbie to go down. We'd take her clothes off, not in order to dress her in something else, but so that she could do unspeakable things to Ken.

When I was a child, my mother uttered the Steinemesque declaration that she would not buy her daughters any Barbie- or Barbie-related merchandise, duly missing the chance to blame Mattel for our body-image problems, our inherent, inborn materialism, or as has been my habit, to perceive myself as the chattel of various men. The result of her very public declaration (an editorial in a national newspaper) was to watch her daughters receive nothing but birthday gifts of Barbies from friends and relatives throughout our childhoods. I, the youngest, accumulated twenty-seven Barbies and three Kens (yes, the Kens were very busy).

If I ever have daughters, I too will forbid barbies, not by the grounds of feminist ethics, but because they're too darn hot to be innocent childrens' toys.

The Typical Barbie © Sex Scene

Scene: Barbie's house, preferably a bright pink Dream House, but can be a shoebox or other everyday object. As many Barbie objects (Barbie accessories, Barbie bed, Barbie car, Barbie sauna and pool) scattered around as much as possible. BARBIE is wearing something tight and short (what a surprise) and SKIP (or another Barbie friend of a similar size, such as She-Ra, Jem or a matchbox on a stick) are in the middle of the room.

There is very little walking around, and characters indicate they're talking by jumping up and down.

SKIP: You're so lucky, Barbie! A date with Ken. A boy will never like me...

BARBIE: Don't be silly, Skip. Of course you'll get a boyfriend- I saw Ken's friend looking at you the other day.

SKIP: I don't know... so will you sleep with Ken on your date tonight? *

BARBIE: We'll see, maybe. He is cute.(sits on bed)

Doorbell rings

SKIP: I'll get that... crosses to door Oh, hi Ken. Barbie's ready.

KEN: Hi Skip! Oh, Barbie, you look... beautiful.

SKIP: I'll just be in the kitchen. (crosses the room, exits)

BARBIE: You don't look so bad yourself.

KEN crosses the room to BARBIE. They quickly kiss each other, then start kissing with great passion

BARBIE:Oh, no, Ken, it's our first date! Slow down.

KEN: (panting) But you're so... sexy. I can't help it.

(They kiss again, and lie down on the bed. After a while they moan and grunt, thrusting against each other. Things get quite violent as the bed springs are tested via hard thumping and the sounds of sex increase. Suddenly things are quiet**)

BARBIE: Oh, Ken. That was great. You're good in bed.

KEN: You weren't so bad yourself.

BARBIE: You know, I'm worried about Skip. She thinks no boy will ever like her. Isn't that silly?

KEN: Very silly. I think she's cute... not sexy like you, though (nuzzles head into BARBIE'S shoulder)

(SKIP enters the room and cries out, shocked. KEN jumps out of bed.

KEN: Skip! Don't be embarrassed. Come and lay down with us.

BARBIE: Yes, Skip, come over here.

(Skip crosses and lays on the bed)

KEN: That's better. (Starts rubbing up against SKIP)

BARBIE: I'm just going to the kitchen***... (Crosses room and leaves)

(KEN and SKIP kiss, grunt and moan. They thump against the bed springs until all is quiet. ****BARBIE enters)

BARBIE: Ken, do you want to get something to eat?

KEN: Sure. See you later, Skip.

SKIP: Bye guys, have fun!

(BARBIE and KEN leave and SKIP remains on the bed)

* Notice the smooth segue between innocent boy-talk and sex-talk. This indicates the participants' inexperience in talking about such issues; to them, boys= sex. There's nothing to be ashamed of as sex isn't yet "dirty".

** The couple had sex without removing their clothes. This could be a further indication of sexual inexperience of the participants but is more likely to be related to the fact that Barbie clothes are quite difficult to remove and put back on quickly. Hence, it's just easier for them to "do it" wearing clothes.

*** Both the girls left the room for the "kitchen". This is an indication of the majority of Barbie merchandise available in the 80s, as the most common accessories were the Barbie house, or a Barbie bed and kitchen combination. Early Barbie mentality- a girl should be in bed or in the kitchen.

**** A lack of a variety of male counterparts to the female Barbie meant that Ken got lucky a lot. Occassionally another kind of Barbie was used in his place, if there was a double date scene, and these Barbies didn't always portray a male: girl Barbies got with other girl Barbies. Strangely they had sex in the same thumping, mashing manner as heterosexual sex.

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