Three Generations of Playing Barbie

Kerry Kramer
5 min readJan 20, 2024
Photo by Sandra Gabriel on Unsplash

It was 1959 and I was 10 years old when I first saw a Barbie doll. She was given to me on my birthday. As soon as I laid eyes on this beautiful blue-eyed, blonde, bomb-shell, wearing pastel pink lipstick, I was star-struck.

If only I could look like her someday I thought.

I was a prepubescent girl, in a 4th-grade sex ed class learning the details of how my body will soon change from a little girl’s to a woman’s. I prayed that my tiny, little breast buds would eventually change into Barbie’s big boobs — they fascinated me.

My neighborhood friend, Gwen, got a doll too and we would rush home from school get out our brand-new Barbie dolls, and play for hours in the corner of her basement. Although we had a lot of fun dressing them up in beautiful sparkly clothes and mile-high heels, we missed playing with our baby dolls.

We played baby dolls in the neighborhood for as long as I knew Gwen, at least 5 years. We’d put our babies in their strollers and take them for walks. We’d dress them, change their diapers, and stop to give them bottles and pretend baby food.

We were not ready to give up our Babies for Barbies.

We wanted to be Barbie, not take care of her.

Gwen and I were now almost 12, some of our friends were already wearing bras and talking about boys! We felt stupid and kids began making fun of us, so we put our toys away for good and that was the end of that.

Until my daughter was born in 1973.

I was thrilled to have a baby girl.

I’d have another chance to play Barbies!

So thrilled in fact that I bought her the “Superstar Barbie”, the most popular doll in 1977, along with her partner Ken, clad in velvet-and-satin for her 4th birthday,

I know, she was kind of young for a sexy couple of teenage dolls, but I just had to have them. I had so much fun playing.

As she grew older, so did her Barbie collection. I think she had every Barbie doll that was ever made, along with the dream house and pink convertible car. She had outfits and accessories for every occasion.

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Kerry Kramer

I am every woman. I write about the irony of life, friendship, authenticity, aging, and life experiences with humor and honesty. My Motto: Be Your Own Anchor!