i knew this day would come.
when i was a young girl, gently combing my barbies' hair, taking great care to dress and undress them so as to preserve the fasteners on their itty clothing and fervently trying to maintain control over the contents and accessories that each barbie came with, i knew that one day i'd be grown and i'd either part with them for the great fortunes they'd be worth or hand them down to my own daughter.
how deluded was i?
although i may amass a very small (like tiny) fortune by selling the jem dolls, maxie dolls, happy to be me doll, and a few other rare hasbro or mattel oddities, the majority of what i thought would be so highly sought after is actually worth very little. because i'm the mama to three boys (of which two are surely not going to play with barbies) and because, throughout the years, i have grown to despise almost everything that barbies stand for and wouldn't let any daughter of mine actually "play barbie", if i had one. so. the majority are worth very little, not only in the world of resale, but also to me.
however, it is hard not to go through these toys without imparting some old time sentimentality (especially after seeing toy story 3 just last week). i can't pick one up and not have a fond childhood memory, or an unfond one, from time to time. i can't pick one up and not want to gently comb it's hair or find it's complete outfit, once again. but it is also true that i can't look at all of this stuff without agreeing with those that might suggest barbie imparts a pervasive and distorted image of the perfect
and don't even get me started on how barbie was intended to be a teenager but throughout the years (and especially in the 80s) has looked pretty mature and worn many old lady hats from veterinarian, teacher, astronaut, president, and business executive. even though barbie currently has much more adolescence about her, such toys still do very little to foster a healthy gender or body image in young children.
it is also true that i can't pick one up without worrying about the level of phthalates and other toxic plasticizers i'm releasing into my studio.
all that said, i am keeping a few. not any of the older ones from my childhood, surprisingly, but the ones i purchased as an (young) adult collector. i have a few really cool renaissance barbies that won't fetch more than $10 on ebay because i removed them from the box (i know, the kid rebel in me made me do it. any respectable "adult collector" would know better.) but we'll see what ends up becoming of these dolls. i don't really have the space or desire to display them properly and keeping them boxed up in a closet is just not what i'm about, these days. my goal one day is to be able to do seasonal purges, not major years and years worth of collecting useless garbage types of purges. but still, i think getting rid of 50+ pounds of barbies and barbie stuff, and keeping only a shoebox worth isn't bad.
when i repeated the "out with the old, in with the new" adage to my husband, his brow raised at me like, "whatcha wanna buy now, woman?" and i patiently patted his head and explained that it isn't stuff i want room for in my life.
it's experiences. space to grow. time to spend with those that matter most. time to spend doing what i love.
and i guess keeping three or four barbies will have no effect on any of that.