2016-12-15 / Front Page

Poor Barbie is becoming last toy chosen to meet holiday needs

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


A BEVY of babies and Barbies were available yesterday at the annual holiday needs store in Lake Leelanau. A BEVY of babies and Barbies were available yesterday at the annual holiday needs store in Lake Leelanau. Pack your bags, hop in your glam convertible and head out of town, Barbie.

You’re not the girl you used to be.

Years ago, little girls dreamed of getting a Barbie doll for Christmas.

Now those folks putting together Christmas gifts for county children find they can’t give them away.

“We have boxes and boxes of them, but nobody wants them anymore,” said Mary Stanton, who coordinates the county holiday needs program with Audrey Roman.

A bevy of Barbies and baby dolls occupied the southwest corner of the VFW Post in Lake Leelanau Tuesday in numbers sure to set off any pediophobic.

Pediophobia, known as a fear of dolls, is an anxiety associated with many doll types that, judging from selections made by county youth, just might include Barbie.

Barbie was created by Mattel in 1959. She had everything — a dream house, pool and a good-looking, sharply dressed companion, Ken, who appeared to take direction from Barbie well. Who wouldn’t want to find that dream girl under the tree?

Those little girls, now women, may not be able to resist choosing a Barbie for a Toys for Tots donation. But the iconic doll has fallen out of favor in recent years. Her maker, Mattel, has been chided for its negative influence on women’s body image.

According to the National Retail Federation, Barbie is no longer the most popular girl on the shelf. She lost top billing to Princesses Elsa and Anna, of Disney’s 2013 movie “Frozen.”

Earlier this year, in response to the body image concerns, Mattel revealed plans for 33 new models with curvy, petite and tall Barbies, in a range of skin tones, eye an hair colors.

Barbie may not command the demand she once did, but she holds value in the collector’s market.

“There is value in everything, said a philosophical Phil Thies, owner of Jaffe’s Resale and Consignment in Lake Leelanau. “You just need to find people who perceive that value,” Thies said.

However, he adds, Barbie doesn’t command much of a local following.

“She’s not popular in this area. People come here to lighten their load and simply there lives,” he said.

There is a group on eBay devoted to Barbie and her related collector items. Many go to Craigslist to buy or sell vintage Barbie items.

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