Barbie is someone we adore and side-eye in equal measure, but most would say one of her strong suits is that she's the consummate career woman. Hearsay is that in her near-60 years on this planet, Barbie's had 130 careers, a similar number to the amount of side-gigs I have to survive. But when you throw back to vintage Barbie commercials, a dark realization clouds this world of hot pink. You realize it in one childhood-crushing blow: Barbie would not be great at these jobs.
A quick note! It's hugely irresponsible to tell children that Barbie can't be whatever she wants to be (partially because of her horrendous deformities), and I would never do that. I'm a feminist and not even a Barbie hater; I had blonde hair and a giraffe neck growing up so I was one of the rare few that looked at her like, "Yeah, this is right." We were chill.
But as an adult (the mature kind who writes and reads nostalgia listicles) it's really hard to look into those glazed-over, non-blinking blue eyes and think, "I would trust her to perform a major surgery on me." The sheer fickleness of her professional record alone suggests she is not trained for most of her jobs-of-the-week.
So without delay, here are a handful of career tracks that, mmm, I'm not really sure would be best for Barbie.
First thing's first: The 1997 Barbie Dentist playset is the tops. I still have mine today. Her voice is down to a Satan's grumble, but her hair remains perfectly coiffed, which is what matters.
Nonetheless it's, I don't know, a little bit daunting watching Barbie wield mouth tools over this little brunette Kelly surrogate. This is a woman with limited arm movement, so I'm a little concerned about how well she's going to handle this child's root canal.
What we're witnessing here is Barbie, Baywatch Barbie, rescuing a dolphin. I'm not completely joyless, if I see a dolphin marooned on a rock I want to call the proper authorities. But Barbie, as a lifeguard and as Barbie, is in no way qualified for this rescue mission. Also if she's running on the beach in slow motion it's not gonna do the dolphin any favors.
This here is a 1995 (good year) doll, so let's not forget that in Barbie canon our girl was saying "Math class is tough!" like three minutes ago. So it should be no shock that when Barbie asks Tommy what's 1 + 2 the poor kid is like, "10?" Like Jesus Christ, this is what happens when you allow Barbie to educate America's youths.
A+ Miss Frizzle dress, though.
I inherited a lot of '80s Barbie accessories from a family friend, and that First Aid Kit was a mainstay. Oh, the medical emergencies Barbie was able to fix with a solitary plastic briefcase. In reality, I feel like being a doctor and the road to becoming a doctor, is a little more complex than that. In fact, while most of my immediate friends are the artist/barista variety, I have some people on the third tier that are tirelessly going through, like, their fourth year of med school. It's a long process, and Barbie, someone who has the attention span of a gnat when it comes to jobs, probably didn't put in the legwork.
Let's also consider that a hard day's work for Doctor Barbie is using a stethoscope on her patient and then immediately changing for a date with Doctor Ken. That not only sounds like a possible issue for HR, but if you're coming off a 28-hour shift you don't have the energy for date night with Doctor Ken. Maybe there's some time to boink him in the on-call room, but that's it.
5. Olympic Figure Skater
Not just any skater, too, an Olympic skater. 1997 was the when Barbie's ice career hit new heights, but she had a long history of figure skating. Maybe it's because ice skating has a history of being gendered a "feminine" sport. It's certainly not because Barbie, her of mutant en pointe feet, would ever be able to gracefully skate. And even if Barbie found the right pair of high-heeled blades, she's not going to reach Tara Lipinski level any time soon.
In 1992 Rappin' Rockin' Barbie hit the streets and...I mean...it's just...it's just maybe not a good look for Barbie to be a rapper, and not only because the crimped hair.
7. Pizza Chef
There's maybe two weirdly specific pizza chef Barbies, and in one iteration she's making some slices out of Play Doh. Barbie, no. Maybe that's how it's done in Malibu, but here on the East Coast we make our pizza with love, care, and respect.
I'm also side-eyeing that Barbie would make pizza in the first place, because that's my primary source of food and trust me, I don't have a waist smaller than my head. No, my conception of Barbie is that she's a vegan, gluten-free girl by day, a drunk McDonald's girl by night, and a skinny grande vanilla soy iced latte girl in between.
GET THE EFF OUT OF HERE WITH BARBIE GOING TO SPACE. Have you watched this vintage Astronaut Barbie commercial? Barbie wastes no time taking off her helmet and moonwalking, like Michael Jackson moonwalking, among the craters. You don't have to be trained at NASA to realize how deeply unwise slash impossible that is.
I want to root for businesswoman — and do note that there's no distinguishers with that title — Barbie. This is the Day-to-Night doll and she's definitely selling me on the whole 80s Career Girl look. She even has an office! But the commercial is quick to say she's doing a 9-to-5 day, something absolutely laughable for any woman in the modern workforce. Oh, the times I've had to lie about my apartment being on fire so I could leave on time. This isn't how you get a promotion, bb.
Moreover, you know why Barbie is leaving at 5? YUP, stupid Ken again. Luckily she has her convertible work dress ready, like a crazy person. It's like this specific Barbie era wasn't fully comfortable with the doll being solely perfectly content with her work. "You can have a job, but don't forget to clock out so you can fit in some sweet, smooth dry-humping with your plastic-haired BF!" Sigh.
10. Construction Worker
To the average six-year-old, Barbie knows her real estate. The appeal of the Barbie dreamhouse may still live on today — and yeah, living in a pink mansion sounds sick — but is it really for everyone? I just get the sense that if Barbie is designing my house she's going to install three elevators, fill it with plastic furniture, and supersaturate the bubblegum hue in a way that even Elle Woods would declare "a bit much."
Ok, the Generation Girl collection was actually pretty cool, you had a collection of diverse, fashion-forward teens pursuing their dreams at International High. I think I'm more open to young creatives developing their craft compared to Barbie all of a sudden wielding like five Ph. Ds and Play-Doh pizza. I refuse to believe that "each one's a star," though. No doubt someone is the Karen Smith of that group.
Young Barbie Roberts was an aspiring filmmaker/actress, and you know what? If Barbie wants to get behind the camera, sure, whatever. I don't actually think she could cause any damage there. But acting? That's sort of reliant on the ability to emote, and lest we forget, Barbie has one dead-eyed expression.
She's actually a pet-sitter here, but I don't know, Barbie, this seems like a health violation.