• Campy Couture: Barbie's '70s Rivals Flaunted the Fashions We'd Love to Forget The words "authentic" and "Barbie" are not typically used in the same sentence, Barbie being one of the most famous symbols of fake femininity, and one of the main reasons why millions of little girls grow up to be women waging a constant battle to achieve a physically impossible body type. Compared, though, to the Barbie knockoffs in "Doll Junk: Collectible & Crazy Fashions from the '70s &…
  • Jem, the Truly Outrageous, Triple-Platinum '80s Rocker Who Nearly Took Down Barbie We got cable TV in the 1983, the same year I discovered what I called “rock” music, thanks to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Since the “Thriller” video gave me nightmares, I wasn’t supposed to watch MTV, the all music-video channel that launched in 1981, but I did. Pretty much every kid I knew had it on in the background all the time. Why would an 8-year-old girl play with “babyish” toys when this c…
  • The Zen of Ken, or Life as Barbie's Boyfriend I always wondered if starting a hobby in my free time was a good idea, and then I remembered Ken. He was a gift to my older sister Brenda in Christmas of 1970 when I was living in Independence, Missouri. I was only 6 years old at that time, but I remember so many details about it. I was fascinated by it. The name of the doll was “New Good Lookin’ Ken.” I just vividly remember everything about that…
  • Antique Dolls, from Wood and Wax to Kewpie We have a very small team here at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, so we all have to do lots of different things. I don’t look after all the dolls, but I oversee the collections. I do the waxes and the woodens. I’ve got colleagues who are in charge of the cloth ones and the plastic ones and the porcelain ones and so on. I used to do all of it. When Caroline Goodfellow took early retire…