How is Barbie influencing girls around the world? How many girls grown up playing with Barbie dolls? A lot. Statistics show that two Barbie's are sold every second somewhere in the world. In fact, the average American girl from ages 3 to 11 owns 10. Whenever I hear the song named “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, I think of my niece. My niece was the type of person that loved to play with Barbie. She wanted to become like Barbie and looked like her. She could spend hours and hours playing with these dolls. I don't remember exactly when she started playing with Barbie, but it must have been when she was old enough not to swallow the shoes. When she was 13, she still played with Barbie. OK, she did it in secret, in the basement, where no one in her neighborhood could see her playing with Barbie, but play she did, and it was with great reluctance that she packed up her Barbie dolls in the doll trunk for the last time at 14. Back in Barbie's early heyday, her story wasn't unusual--girls often played with Barbie until their early teens. But today, girls are retiring their Barbie to the "outgrown toy" pile at earlier and earlier ages. As I remember, Newsweek reported that little girls are outgrowing Barbie as early as 8, and that Mattel has been so worried about this that they keep trying to produce "hip" and "cool" dolls like the My Scene Barbie dolls and the new Flava dolls to keep the interest of "teen" girls (girls 9-12 years old). According to her, if Barbie was all frilly, cotton-candy pink, when she was 13, she can assure she wouldn't have wanted to play with Barbie. Barbie dolls were more sophisticated. They had real clothes - the clothes were perfect replicas of career outfits (nurses, business people) or glamorous copies of real-life evening and day wear. The accessories were realistic too - real telephones and realistic food. The clothing and accessories were quality miniatures, and fascinating for older girls. When she had Barbie as a child, Barbie was just...
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