There is a lot of hype around the Barbie movie, and between the marketing and women of all backgrounds dressing up as Barbie on social media, I thought I’d weigh in on the debate about Barbie vs. Baby Dolls and who has the bigger career influence:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been into Barbie unless it was to braid her hair. She wasn’t a toy I saw myself in, and it didn’t help that her accessories were so small. I constantly lost them and eventually forgot about the doll. I preferred baby dolls and would ask for a new one every year for Christmas or my birthday. Playing with baby dolls allowed me to care for and love something other than myself and perhaps was the beginning of my desire to want to help others.
Barbie’s career choices inspire some girls, while others enjoy nurturing roles like motherhood and nursing. In this blog, you’ll learn how the iconic toys have influenced future career aspirations in women and some fun facts about Barbie and baby dolls.
Do children’s toys influence their career choices?
What is the purpose of the baby doll?
What career does Barbie have?
Dream House to Dream Job: Ask Barbara Millicent Roberts
Barbara Millicent Roberts, aka Barbie, is the brainchild of Ruth Adler and became part of pop culture on March 9th,1959. Some sources say that Ruth created Barbie because her daughter lost interest in playing with her baby dolls, and there weren’t many toy options for girls. And other sources say that she didn’t want her daughter to think that the only thing she could aspire to be was a mother. Either way, Ruth modeled Barbie after the sexy German cartoon Bild Lilli and envisioned her as a single career girl.
As Barbie’s popularity grew, so did her future career aspirations. Part of Barbie’s appeal to young girls worldwide is that she has had careers that men traditionally dominate. Barbie has had over 250 careers in everything from a Naval Admiral to a gymnast to an Astronaut. All while having Ken as her arm candy.
Barbie’s resume is impressive, but her biggest criticism was that she lacked cultural and body type diversity. Today, Barbie has evolved from being the blonde-haired blue-eyed doll girls didn’t relate to and now comes in 35 skin tones, 97 hairstyles, and nine body types. Mattel has also included representation for kids with Downs syndrome.
Nurture Your Next Career Like a Baby Doll
My favorite baby dolls to play with as a kid were Baby Alive and the Cabbage Patch Kids. I always thought they were cute and genuinely loved caring for them as if they were real babies. I always asked for a brown baby doll because I wanted her to look like me. Experts say that playing with dolls develops empathy in kids and cognitive abilities. Often children playing with dolls mimic how their parents care for them and their siblings.
My desire to help people comes from playing with baby dolls. If I wasn’t so obsessed with Baby Alive, I don’t know that I would have excelled in my 11-year dental career. For me, in the great debate Barbie vs. Baby Doll, the baby dolls always win.
Baby Doll culture has also moved lightyears from the classic Baby Alive. Baby dolls such as Miniland dolls were created for children with disabilities. These popular dolls have been made in Spain since 1998 and encourage inclusivity and development for children with special needs. One of the company’s missions is to help children find acceptance in society and see the possibilities for future career aspirations.
Barbies Silent Influence
In today’s society, women are winning! More women are independent and own businesses. Reports show that women have owned 42% of U.S. businesses since the pandemic. I can’t say it’s because young girls played more with Barbie vs. Baby Dolls, but Barbie has influence. Celebrities like Nicki Minaj made a play on Barbie’s name and referred to her fans as Barbz. And I know you’ve heard about Greta Gerwig killing it at the box office! After three weeks, she was the first female to earn 1.5 billion dollars at the box office.
Even with all of Barbie’s success, I still don’t care for the toy, but I give credit where its do. My hope for the future is that a doll is created to promote a balance between having a career and a family. They both must co-exist for your sanity. Leaning too much one way or the other can make you feel unfulfilled.
Are you team Barbie or team Baby Doll? Your fondest memory of either toy may influence your career path. Remember selecting a career isn’t about whether you want to change diapers or run a Fortune 500 company. It’s about a career path that celebrates uniqueness and aligns with your identity.
For more insight on how to find a career path you’re passionate about, read my blog, What Careers Match My Strength: 5 Things You Should Know.