young girls in front of school

Make room for Barbie

Above: First grade girls after school with Barbie, Charles Barrett Elementary School, Alexandria, Virginia, c.1967

When I was very little, I thought the female world was divided into two groups–girls who loved dolls and girls who loved stuffed animals. My mom was firmly in the doll camp, but I was a stuffed animal loyalist. My introduction to Mattel’s Barbie rocked my small world. I loved her. Mom thought Barbie was okay, but initially she was exiled from my bed at night. She feared those delicate hard plastic extremities might poke me in the eye. Something a stuffed animal wouldn’t dream of doing.