Mattel has released thousands of Barbie and friends dolls over the decades. Some of them are classics, like the first Barbies, Malibu Barbie, and Totally Hair Barbie. Others are… well, they just are. Here’s a look back at seven of the strangest dolls Mattel put out for the Barbie line.
7 – Earring Magic Ken, 1992
Let’s face it, Ken doesn’t get too much love in the world of Barbie. The blonde bombshell and her friends get bedazzled, but Ken is more of an afterthought. I guess since the dolls are marketed toward girls that aren’t really interested in boys quite yet, you can’t do too much to make Ken enticing. Or so we thought. In 1993, Mattel pulled out all the stops and remodelled Ken into a stereotypically gay looking man, with earring, purple mesh shirt, and an interesting ring necklace whose purported purpose doesn’t fit the PG-13 theme of this website. The doll flew off the shelves, much to the chagrin of conservative types.
6 – Shaving Fun Ken, 1994
This wasn’t the first, nor was it the last shaving Ken doll. I’m sure you have all sorts of questions, like—why is running a wet sponge over Ken’s face to “shave” him necessary? Well, it isn’t.
5 – Super Hair Barbie, 1987
Nothing like a partial lobotomy to get that perfect hair!
Super Hair Barbie was probably the strangest Barbie I owned. As usual, Barbie had all sorts of long hair to play with. Unlike usual, however, she had a pole jammed into her brain that held a clip on top so you could style Barbie’s hair in a myriad of horrid ways. To make this even more Super, Barbie donned a glamorous jumpsuit that even Elvis would be envious of.
4 – Butterfly Art Barbie, 1998
This Barbie was way too hardcore for some parents, who complained to Mattel about the message it was sending out. I knew quite a few gals sporting butterfly tramp stamps a couple years after this Barbie hit the market, so I could sympathize with their concerns. Rumours abounded that these dolls were pulled from stores, but that wasn’t the case. It did help eBay prices for a while, though.
3 – Oreo Barbie, 1997
Look, I’m just not writing a paragraph on this one.
2 – Barbie and the Rockers, 1985-1987
If you liked Jem and the Holograms, you’ll love the Barbie knock off line, Barbie and the Rockers. Doesn’t sound too totally outrageous, but the line did well enough to crap out a couple direct to video releases. The original line of dolls makes it very obvious that they’re just out to bootleg Jem. Barbie’s outfit especially makes her look like a low-rent version of Jem. The second year line of dolls are calmed down considerably. In the third year, Barbie swaps her Rockers for The Sensations—a less radical Mo-Town cover band.
1 – Dance Club Barbie, 1989
Actually, doing “The Barbie” looks too complicated for me. That, and I lack lime spandex in my wardrobe.
If dance clubs were like this, I’d actually go out on Saturday nights. The added bonus of teaching girls to dance via the Dance Club premium offer at the end (with Paula Abdul!) is noble, but I already dance like that girl. Although, the offer does explain a lot. Barbie: teaching white girls to bust a move since 1989.