This was an interesting read. I can’t relate to it in some ways (being that Ken was only interesting to me when I wanted him to date Barbie and am a heterosexual woman), but it was still intriguing to read from another perspective. I had damn near everything from the three-foot mansion to all the cars and freaking loved Barbie’s whole line. There is one area where I “get” you though — trying to find a connection.

My mother went way out of her way to make sure I had black Barbies. She had to do some digging and definitely had to visit a few stores because they were either “out of stock,” never ordered or “unavailable,” but she knew she’d eventually find some. And I had an even amount, including black Ken dolls — a relief to me and helped me escape the “black dolls are ugly” belief (i.e. psychology study from Kenneth and Mamie Clark) I learned so much about later in life. So I can’t imagine what it’d be like for a parent who just flat-out didn’t even have the option of finding a doll that is more like his/her child. I came up in a time when black Barbies were eventually right next to the white ones, and I almost always chose the black ones.

But a different story came to mind when you started talking about the soccer players. I didn’t really grow up thinking that Barbie was a “girl” toy, mainly because I was a hardcore negotiator with my brother. He really wanted to play G.I. Joe, and I had zip zero interest. But if I was willing to humor his imaginary wars and fights and whatever the hell He-Man was doing at Castle Grayskull, he’d play Ken with my Barbies. He always found a reason why the two were breaking up or preferred to create guys’ night out with the Kens, but by default, he was playing Barbie as much as I was playing with G.I. Joe/He-Man.

And if I really wanted to piss him off, I called G.I. Joe a “doll.” I still do it now at 38 if he gets on my nerves. I know it’ll set him off every single time, and I think it’s hilarious. But he’ll admit as quickly as I will the negotiation process we had with G.I. Joe and Barbie. The only time I stood my ground was when he tried to make G.I. Joe date her. I’d kick him out of my room at that point!

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store