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I hate it when things change. I tend to like things just the same as they always were. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for changes that enhance my life, like indoor plumbing and the Internet. Electric lights are a good change and I change my clothes every day. Right now the big deal in our area is the Pax River expansion, which will certainly cause some major change. But I can't even concentrate on that right now, I'm so bent out of shape about the most senseless change I've ever heard of. BARBIE!!

Oh, the sacrilege! Reducing Barbie's extraordinary bosom, thickening her graceful waist, and enlarging her dainty hips! What is Mattel thinking? We love Barbie just the way she is. We don't want her to look like a real woman any more than we want Heather Locklear to suddenly get fat and ugly. What's next? "Beer Gut Ken"? "Severe Acne Skipper"? If I want realism I'll look around me. I want fantasy, darn it, and Barbie is everything we ladies would like to be. She's tall, slim, popular, has great clothes, a pink townhouse, a Corvette...what's not to like?

Of course, that's just why they want to change our beloved Barbie. Apparently there are some demented young women out there who have developed eating disorders while trying to emulate Barbie's slender bosomy perfection. They complain that they became sick and almost died because they were traumatized into starving themselves, all in the name of the Princess of Pink. I can hear them now, thinking to themselves, "Gosh, would Barbie have gravy on her mashed potatoes? I think not!" Now, I've had dozens of Barbies in the course of my 34 years. I used to pretend to have all kinds of adventures with her, including a tryst with G.I. Joe while Ken was having a passing fling with Quick Curl Kelly. But never once did I think of Barbie as anything other than a plastic doll (with great hair). Barbie never caused me to starve myself into a size 4. That was Amy Hanson in the 10th grade. But I notice that no one tried to resculpt her figure to suit my neuroses.

While they're changing dolls to be more like real people ("Botched Perm Midge"), why don't they make those body function babies more realistic? Maybe little girls would have more respect for motherhood if they realized that baby doody doesn't really look like jelly. Make a baby doll that gets colic and cries all night. Give it diapers that leak out the side in the middle of the grocery store. I'll bet the teen pregnancy rate would drop like a lead weight. I'm just waiting for some 16 year old mother to sue the Baby Alive people for false advertising - "You said she was just like a real baby!"

What it all boils down to once again is that people don't want to take responsibility for their actions. They want to place blame instead. Joe Camel makes them smoke, Archie Bunker makes them racist, Murphy Brown makes them become unwed mothers, Beavis and Butthead make them burn down the house, and Barbie makes them bulimic. They want to blame their problems on imaginary characters! How can something that was dreamed up in a studio somewhere have so much influence over us?

Barbie just can't do anything right. Her talking version exclaimed, "Math is tough!" and made headlines. Obviously Barbie is playing into that old stereotype that girls can't do math! Never mind that Barbie has been a doctor, a teacher, an airline pilot, and an officer in the Air Force. She's also skinny and gorgeous in her Calvin Kleins, so she is obviously a detriment to young womanhood. The talking Madeline Albright doll could say anything she wanted ( "Ooh, Saddam, you're such a hunk") and get away with it because she's plump and dowdy in her boring business suit.

Listen up, Mattel: Don't play into that stupid victim game that everyone seems to be into these days. Leave Barbie just the way she is - a slim, buxom looker with long blonde hair. Reality is so boring and we need our perfect little make-believe princesses. Besides, how's New Barbie going to feel when she can't fit into Old Barbie's clothes?   It'll probably give her an eating disorder!

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