I’m a Barbie girl

It wasn’t only bad news for oil on the Stock Markets this week, it was also very bad news for Barbie. Apparently retailers are still clearing out dusty Barbies from last year’s Christmas season, leading to a 21% drop in global sales this quarter, which is the fourth straight double-digit decline. And of course as Barbie goes, so does the fortunes of Mattel, which had a corresponding 22% drop in profit and a stock price decline of 38% so far this year.

Barbie has been under the cloud of controversy several times, but I am prepared to cut her some slack since at 55 it would be more alarming if she hadn’t ruffled some feathers in the course of her relentless fame. As far as I know there is no definitive (or any) Barbie biography or autobiography out there. Perhaps since she appears poised on the edge of doll retirement it might be time to publish one. Here are some of the facts that are likely to be revealed in a Barbie tell-all.

1. Although she has been referred to by one name much longer than either Cher or Madonna, her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. She quite wisely quickly ditched the Millicent part (I’m not sure a Milly doll would have caught on quite so quickly).

2. Barbie apparently did attend High School but the details are rather sketchy. Was it Willows High in Willows, Wisconsin or Manhattan International High School in New York City? Some investigative reporting is clearly required here.

3. Despite her dubious educational qualifications, Barbie has about 150 jobs on her resume, spanning from registered nurse to rock star, veterinarian to aerobics instructor, and pilot to police officer. This works out to about 4 jobs per year if we assume she started working as a model at age 17 and means her resume falls far short of being able to be contained on 2 pages. It also begs the question of who keeps hiring her knowing her half-life will be 3 months on average.

4. Barbie has run (unsuccessfully) for President of the United States six times since 1992. I guess this shows perseverance if nothing else. She could probably also claim to be Sarah Palin’s role model in more ways than one.

5. Barbie also claims to have gone to the moon as an astronaut four years before Neil Armstrong (see Sarah Palin). Although she does hold a pilot’s license and spent some time (I would guess three months) as a flight attendant, this is clearly such a fabricated claim that I hope it has been purged from her current resume.

6. In her most recent grandstanding effort, Barbie said she was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue this year. In fact, her PR people struck some kind of deal to feature her on an ‘overwrap’ of the real cover, which presumably had girls inside who were at least somewhat less plastic. Good try Barbie.

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