It seems like every girl, from Boomers to Gen Z, played with Barbies at some point.
I had three, and for all the complaints about unrealistic body image, my 90s Barbie barely fit into my mom’s doll’s clothes.
Mattel has done a lot over the years to stay relevant and woke, so it’s little wonder that an Instagram post featuring a Love Wins t-shirt got a lot of attention on social media.
Just like she has her own dream house, corvette, and camper van, Barbie has her own @barbiestyle Instagram account.
Here she is with the K-Pop group BTS.
Back in 2017, the account posted two pictures featuring a collaboration with fashion and interior design blogger Aimee Song.
Barbie and the new Song doll were shown hanging out in matching t-shirts.
Later they enjoyed avocado toast together in a trendy LA restaurant.
Although the photos were first posted years ago, they were recently rediscovered, and they took the Twitter world by storm.
And the question was this… does Barbie have a girlfriend?
JUST LEARNED BARBIE HAS A GIRLFRIEND pic.twitter.com/xBZ6U2hdOL
— sarah ↯ biggest ferris fan (@kissevermore) January 11, 2021
The next day, commenters lined up to take sides.
Reactions ranged from excited and supportive to outraged and annoyed.
Many users claimed that they had known all along, thanks to the media-rich Barbie world.
Whether it was the movies…
I watched barbie dolphin magic with my straight friends at a hangout once and even they were like “…. Bruh this is hella gay”
— 🌲 Zeen 🌲 (@ZeenBeans) March 11, 2021
And I’m not saying it was…
why are people surprised that barbie is gay as if this scene doesn't exist pic.twitter.com/t3XqPkXaqJ
— boobs (@Iebsianss) January 12, 2021
Or because of the video games…
I am convinced that the characters from Barbie and the Diamond Castle are girlfriends 😁🙌
— cassandra (@AdlerAhAh) March 17, 2021
People are still talking about it.
Not only that, but it turns out Barbie and Ken broke up a really long time ago:
barbie and ken breaking up and then barbie getting a girlfriend is the greatest plot twist of all time💀 pic.twitter.com/KuFWLVBsmO
— emily🏳️🌈(she/they) (@__EmilylimE__) January 12, 2021
The thing is, none of that matters, because Barbie is whatever you want her to be.
The sheer number of people who tweeted that they had made their Barbies kiss, using this gif of Bong Joon Ho at the 2020 Oscars, proves the point.
Barbie has been gay for exactly as long as she’s been straight.
7 year old me sitting in my room making my barbies kiss pic.twitter.com/Hm5jkDKGnT
— Shay Mitchell (@shaymitch) February 10, 2020
Not all of the feedback on Twitter was positive, however.
One user even posted official-looking screenshots claiming definitively that Barbie was not bisexual.
Stop spreading false information please pic.twitter.com/tWwtm16H1g
— mwansa.aaa🌻 (@MwansaMwimba) January 12, 2021
But the fact is, Mattel has gone out of their way to make Barbie more inclusive.
She’s meant to represent all girls.
Like the sign says, “She is me.” In a way, Barbie is all of us.
And actually, Mattel doesn’t appear to have made a statement either way.
Like The Guardian reported when the original LGBTQ Youth support initiative kicked off in 2017:
Barbie manufacturer, Mattel did not commented on the doll’s sexuality but told the Guardian on Wednesday that Barbie was an “inclusive brand that celebrates diversity, kindness and acceptance”.
Mattel has increasingly aligned the Barbie brand with progressive causes.
They say gender is a spectrum, and by not not saying it, the truth could go either way.
Maybe the doll in the Love Wins photo isn’t her girlfriend, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have one.
Food for thought…