Plastic & Fantastic

Did you celebrate yesterday? It was Barbie's birthday! Launched in 1959, Barbie was controversial from the beginning: She was one of the first dolls for little girls with breasts, and her proportions (36 inch bust, 18 inch waist) were rather unrealistic. (Her waist was widened in 1992.) Author Peggy Orenstein, who's written extensively about issues affecting girls, tells NPR, "You either see her as the embodiment of oppressive, Teutonic standards of beauty, or you see her as all that is good and sweet and innocent about your childhood. But you can't not have a relationship with Barbie." (Like many, we like to torture her.) Still, with Bratz and Strutz and whatnot, Barbie seems downright pretty and old-fashioned these days. And homegirl looks good for 49. [NPR, Babble]