When I was a little girl, I loved playing with you. You were who I was going to be when I grew up: you were perfectly coiffed and made up, wore an incredible wardrobe and fabulous shoes, enjoyed the company of your friends and your handsome boyfriends, and always had an interesting job.
As it turned out, I was right on all counts. I even wound up with the busty/leggy combination most women deem impossible, though not anywhere near your unlikely proportions. So imagine my surprise when I wound up working with you. Those were good times; I benefited from your image and accumulated knowledge, and you from my creativity, ambition and management skills. Together, we helped millions of little girls find new ways to play and dream themselves into who they were going to be when they grew up.
You turned 50 on Monday, and I'm writing to wish you a happy birthday and to thank you for being an inspiration. I've seen all the jokes about Divorce Barbie and Menopause Barbie, learned about your pre-Barbie history as a sexy companion for lonely men (we have that in common too) and read the fulminations of angry women about your inappropriateness as a plaything.
I don't care. You taught me that we girls can do anything. And I'll always be grateful to you for that.
P.S. Of course, I always liked you best as a brunette. This is the only version of you I still have, called "Busy Gal":
(Image from the Images Journal article "Rethinking Barbie.")