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Barbie: Prickly in pink Add to ...

I have been through so much more than you can imagine. Little girls have sawn off my head. My hair has been shorn to stubble with kitchen scissors. I have been dismembered, drawn on, punctured, strung up by one foot. I have been left to float for hours in bathtubs and forgotten for months in toy chests. It's true that I have never married - which some of my newly divorced friends say is torture (no one holds back on the truth at this age) - and never had kids and bratty rug rats to deal with, but I have been tested.

For years, feminists got their granny knickers in a twist over my unrealistic body shape of 36-18-38 (if I were life-sized). Last week, even, a Barbie ban bill was proposed in West Virginia on the notion that I encourage girls to place too much emphasis on physical beauty and not on their emotional development.

To which I say: Just can it, already. Get out of my ponytail and find a life. I have put on a few pounds, if you must know. In 1997, my waist thickened, which I did partly to please all of you. (I also blame it on the Harley-Davidson lifestyle I took up that year: Too much sitting around.) I work hard to look this good. I don't have a closet full of gym gear for nothing. When things are going well, I can generate about $3.6-billion (U.S.) in annual sales, thank you very much, which statistically means that every second at least three of me are purchased somewhere in the world.

All I can say is that it's a good thing my head is precast. Otherwise, it would be very, very swollen.

There have been would-be usurpers. Most recently this Bratz chick. When she came on the scene in 2001, I think she figured she could bump me off my pedestal, being years younger and all. And for a while, she was doing well, what with her lollipop head, kiss-me lips, cascade of long hair and skinny body. (Between you and me, I think she came off as a little desperate for attention.) But my people look after me: Last year, we won $100-million in damages for copyright infringement. Ha! Stuff the sisterhood, I say. It's every babe for herself.

Before I start primping for my many birthday parties, I do have a few more things to put out there. Could someone please find a new pink for me? I need something more serene than the Pepto-Bismol hue.

And let me clear the air about Ken. We did break up for a while in 2004, after 43 years together. No, it wasn't that he was questioning his sexuality. It was just ... well, simple things. His hair troubled me. And I'd had it with the scuba gear he was always toting around. I kept thinking about this guy, Derek, who played in my Barbie and the Rockers band back in the eighties. I had a crush on him then but never acted on it, partly because Ken muscled in on our gigs the next year.

I had a bit of a midlife crisis. Who hasn't? I sought out Derek, who had disappeared from my life decades ago, but I couldn't find him, not even on Facebook. Which is why I took up with Blaine, a surfer dude from Australia. He was sweet; the perfect fling.

But then Ken came crawling back. He was looking good after consulting a stylist and hitting the gym a lot. I think he always took his boyfriend role for granted, and I was touched that he cared about me so much to work on himself. We're back together, and I like that he has no inclination to get down on bendable knee to propose. Why would I want that now? I have a lot going on. I've even started modelling again - for Karl Lagerfeld, at that. I grow restless at times, but my loyal boyfriend is happy in my orbit, which is just where I like him.

Things couldn't be better.

1959

Barbie Millicent Roberts is born. The #1 Ponytail Barbie sold for $3

1961

The first Ken doll is introduced

1965

Barbie joins the space program two years after the first female astronaut

1968

Barbie's African- American friend Christie is introduced

1971

Shortly after Woodstock, Barbie dons flower power bell-bottoms

1975

Barbie becomes an Olympic gold medalist in numerous sports

1980

Hispanic and African-American Barbie are introduced

1988

Canadian Barbie makes her entrance

1989

Barbie joins the Army and goes on to serve in the various armed forces in the early '90s

1997

Barbie becomes a Harley- Davidson biker babe

2009

Present-day Barbie

THE GLOBE AND MAIL SOURCE/IMAGES: BARBIEMEDIA.COM

In pictures

See Barbie's look change

over the years. globeandmail.com/life

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