Today I am privileged to take part in the awesome-ness of Ninja Mom’s Character Assassination Carousel. Each month a blogger chooses a children’s story to rip to shreds. What’s not to love? Last month the hilarious Pat and Christian of Point Counter-point Point Point took a shot at Curious George, this month it is my turn: may I present Fifty Shades of Barbie.

Of course we are all well-acquainted with Barbie and her perky expression, lovely blond hair, and grossly unrealistic physical proportions. We may be familiar with her Dream House, her car, her metro-sexual boyf Ken, and all her fabulous wardrobe options.

But here’s something I wasn’t expecting: there is an entire series of books dedicated to the enterprising Barbie and all her pals. In case you were, as I was, blissfully unaware of this literary atrocity up until now, you have my deepest apologies. One hates to be the bearer of bad news.

And in case your wide-eyed, innocent offspring should return happily from school one day toting one of these gems in her backpack, as mine did not long ago, you should pour yourself a generous glass of wine before settling down to read it with her. You’re going to need it. Trust me.

FYI- I’m not talking about the newfangled nonsense books pictured below. Though they may be stupid, they are much less objectionable (and shorter) than the books I will feature here today.

Ridiculous, but tolerable.

I’m talking about these old school treasures. From the 90’s.

God only knows how many there are…

Here’s the thing: these books are long as fuck, y’all. As in, over fifty agonizing pages long! Apiece!

And the dialogue, the inane, life-sucking dialogue! A year ago when our daughter was five and not yet reading along, we could get away with skipping large portions of text. Or even better, altering the words when she was zoning out, as she did often. One night my husband read solemnly, while our daughter was dicking around with disinterest, “Barbie and Judy were exhausted. And wasted.” (This exchange is the only fond memory I have of this series.)

I realize that the Character Assassination Carousel generally features a single book. Since I am a nonconformist, (this is a lie- I live to follow rules. Conformity is my middle name) I am going to eviscerate the series as a whole. Hope ya don’t mind.

So, back on this fateful day in which we lost our Barbie book virginity, we struggled through the selection that our then-kindergartner checked out of the school library; the tale that popped our Barbie cherry was a story that featured Barbie as an ambitious journalist on a trip to Norway.

Imagine my surprise when the next Barbie book we had the pleasure of reading depicted her as a pediatrician. Say what? I was filled with outrage at the assumption of the reader’s lack of intelligence and observation. We remember her as a reporter, dumbass! Reporters can’t also be doctors! How stupid do you think these kids are? (Also, between this delightful series and the books I referenced in Bedtime Stories That Suck, it seems my daughter’s school library is in need of a major overhaul.)

Now, there really is no excuse for me being surprised by the many faces of Barbie; our next door neighbor who apparently hates us  generously gave us his daughter’s outgrown collection of Barbie DVDs, and I had already suffered through viewing Barbie as a princess, popstar, pauper, and mermaid.

It got worse: soon we had read books where Barbie was a 5th grade teacher, an art counselor at a camp,  a proctologist, (OK, fine, I made that up) the list went on. Who the hell do you think you’re fooling, Barbie? Here’s the thing: in each book, the supporting cast is the same: Stacy, Skipper, and Kelly as the apparently parent-less sisters, Judy and Midge as her dowdy seconds-in-command, and Ken as the idiotic, ahem, “boyfriend”. The only variable fact was Barbie’s illustrious career path.

Each time our daughter came home from school with another book, I would gleefully discover what “profession” Barbie had assumed and dissolve into hysterics. Between all these disguises, there is just too much material to cover, so I will sum up the highlights below:

This is where it all began for us…Judy and Barbie  are not only photojournalists, but they solve a crime in this story, too! Just like Scooby Doo! (Also the book where the good husband ad libbed that they were “wasted.”)
To further illustrate Barbie’s superior skills, she drew this helpful map in an effort to help solve the mystery! She sure depicted downtown Lillehammer to a tee!


In this book, Barbie is a bit nervous on her first day as a new teacher, but quickly wows readers with her dazzling interpersonal skills

With riveting dialogue, Barbie wins over the slacker in the back of the room and the soon-to-be party girl who hates science within the first thirty seconds of her employment as a teacher. What a pro!


Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, it got even better- the last book my daughter brought home was called, Shooting for the Stars. Get ready for it- she’s a frickin’ astronaut now!
Once again Barbie amazes us with her many talents for handling tough dilemmas.

The book jumps right into the action with Barbie as the pilot! She proves to be an excellent astronaut, based on her recollection that it pays to stay calm in a crisis- truly, she is wise beyond her years.

Ken, always the charmer, woos Barbie with this classic line, “Let’s work together on eating these sandwiches! I’m starving!” What a douche.

Okay, okay, perhaps the object of these adventures starring our versatile heroine is to teach girls that they can do whatever they want, be whomever they would like to be. Noble, I suppose. And maybe I am taking things a touch too far, but I have a hard time finding value in teaching girls that they can be a teacher, a doctor, a counselor, an astronaut, and a journalist, all the while serving as parent to three insipid sisters who seem to require constant assistance. Seriously- where the hell are the parents in all these books/TV shows/movies? Max and Ruby, I’m looking at you.

If I have failed to do anything else, I hope I have at least given you a heads-up so that you might steer your well-intentioned reader to another section of the library. Happy reading- stay safe out there!
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