While many kids' toys fade into oblivion as generations pass, one has had continued popularity for decades: Barbie. The physical doll was created in 1959, and she has always set fashion trends over the years. Her movies, YouTube videos, and books have allowed her to adapt to more modern audiences.
Though Barbie has been in a long-term relationship with Ken officially since 1961, a 2017 photo has resurfaced that has some internet users convinced that the doll actually has a girlfriend.
Keep reading for the background on the "Love Wins Barbie" that you may have been seeing on Twitter and to find out why it has gotten people's attention once again.
Here's the background on the "Love Wins Barbie" photo.
Back in November of 2017, the official @BarbieStyle Instagram account (which showcases the doll's outfits and partnerships) launched a campaign with fashion blogger and author Aimee Song.
Aimee wrote on her Song of Style blog that her goal in 2017 was to launch a t-shirt design each month that would benefit a non-profit charity. While she wasn't able to accomplish 12 new designs due to production time constraints, she did put out a shirt design for Pride Month in June of 2017.
The blogger has discussed being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, and half of the proceeds from the shirt went to support The Trevor Project.
This t-shirt she created for Pride Month was the "Love Wins" design. It was the one featured on the @BarbieStyle account a few months later, and it's the one that's now a subject of discussion in 2021.
In the once-again viral photo, Barbie and the Aimee doll are sitting together in what appears to either be a closet or a clothing store. The two are each wearing the "Love Wins" shirt in different colors, and Aimee's hand is petting a dog. Barbie's hand is behind and out of the shot, but some thought that she was potentially touching Aimee's hand. The two dolls are positioned so that they are leaning in toward one another.
Nothing in the caption suggested that the two were a couple, but that hasn't stopped Twitter users from now wondering if there was a deeper meaning to the campaign.
"Proud to wear this 'Love Wins' shirt with @songofstyle! Did you know that her exclusive t-shirts benefit different causes and non-profits?" the caption read. "Such an inspiring initiative and fabulous few days I have spent with Aimee, she's a doll!"
Though this particular picture has reignited a chat online, it wasn't the only one from the Aimee and Barbie partnership.
In another photo from the campaign, which was posted on Aimee's Instagram account, Barbie and the Aimee-lookalike are posed to look like they are walking side by side. They are not wearing the "Love Wins" shirts anymore. Unlike the initial picture, the two dolls are physically distanced from one another.
A third picture shows the two getting a meal together while wearing the t-shirts.
Does Barbie have a girlfriend?
While the initial Aimee Song X Barbie campaign was not meant to be the doll's official coming-out party, users are having a field day on Twitter discussing how she could be an LGBTQ+ icon.
The discussion began when user @KissEvermore tweeted a screenshot from a 2017 article that "announced" Barbie's coming out. The user also shared a screenshot of the Aimee / Barbie campaign, and the caption for the tweet was, "JUST LEARNED BARBIE HAS A GIRLFRIEND."
Since it was first posted on Jan. 11, the tweet has gotten more than 140,000 likes, and it's been retweeted 21,000 times.
In the replies section, users have been sharing their "proof" about Barbie's sexuality. Naturally, one popular thread in the replies was a discussion about how Barbie's longtime beau, Ken, would fit into this narrative. Others shared screenshots and clips from Barbie movies that they believe corroborate her potential interest in women.
One notable reply came from Aimee herself.
She posted a photo on Twitter of her holding her doll from the partnership. Both Aimee and the doll are wearing the "Love Wins" T-shirt in the picture.
She further fueled the speculation by commenting, "I am the girlfriend," along with a heart emoji and the smiling heart emoji.
Barbie has never officially come out and she is, for all intents and purposes, still with Ken.