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drag queen barbie
a doll pretending to be a drag queen pretending to, um, well
by robert a. melos
pop culture

Okay we knew it was bound to happen eventually. After all, she couldn’t have all those fabulous careers, the dream house, the dream car, the ski chalet, the beach house, and the sadly empty life while Ken runs around behind her back with GI Joe and Gay Bob, and several other plastic paramours without repercussions. We understand the “real housewife” of Mattel has being having a rough few years.

First was the much publicized split from Ken, her boyfriend of 43 years, back in 2004. Then a few years later the rumored reconciliation of the two most popular dolls in the history of dolldom, with the exception of the Betsy Wetsy doll that was all the rag back in the day. No one can go through those kinds of relationship status changes without some sort of repercussions. Okay, I do know some people who change their relationship statue on Facebook daily, but they aren’t rock stars, movie stars, doctors, astronauts, race car drivers, and super dolls like Barbie, although they are pretty fabulous.

It was bound to happen. She was bound to have a complete breakdown. Well, today Mattel announced the impossibly thin, perfect plastic bodied babe is going “Drag Queen”.

Now for those of you who might not know what a traditional “drag queen” is, the term usually refers to a man who dresses as a woman for the purposes of entertainment. Many famous men, going back to Milton Berle, and including Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, Flip Wilson, and Charles Busch to name a few, have incorporated gender illusion into their acts, some more successfully then others. The point being, it usually refers to someone dressing in what would be considered clothing of the opposite gender from them.

If this were true the new “drag queen Barbie” would be wearing a tuxedo, such as Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria, however, more true to the theme of that film Barbie will be pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman dressed as a woman rather than, well, hopefully you get the idea.

Basically the doll will be wearing a sparkly mini dress, and faux diamonds, much like most actual drag queens, so it isn’t all that far off from the way Barbie dressed for most of her fabulous careers. I know my former doctor/astronaut/nuclear physicist always wore a sequined mini dress when he was attending to me. Um, that aside, design team The Blonds, Phillipe Blond and David Blond have given her “the Blond” treatment.

VP of Marketing Cathy Cline, of Mattel, is quoted as saying “Barbie doesn’t worry about what other people think.” Okay, we’ll forget the fact she is a doll, Barbie not Cathy, and plastic, again Barbie not Cathy, so Barbie doesn’t really worry about anything. Just focus on the fact “Blond Diamond Barbie” in her own way is pushing the envelope on gender identity.

I applaud her, and Mattel, for the effort of cashing in on a niche market. Somewhere out there in Middle America is a little farm boy who will want to buy this doll, or at least dress like her and who might grow up to be one day be president. If Barbie can do it, everyone can.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

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