Apparently, G.I. Joe is no match for Barbie’s mojo

(Do you suffer from unsightly vision? Continual breathing? An itchy bladder? Reptile disfunction? You’re not alone! Join millions others who suffer these afflictions each week during Flashback Sunday, when we dig deep into the archives — back when I thought “Freshly Pressed” was a kinky website for people with a Pillsbury Dough Boy fetish. And while this week’s Flashback won’t cure any of your symptoms, it might help with regularity…)

Apparently, G.I. Joe and Steve Austin use their acute eyesight for more than just scoping out the bad guys.
The act of “playing” is a crucial part of how a child establishes self image and a basic understanding of the world. I know this because, as a progressive father of today, I have read extensively about this very topic — which is why I progressively freaked out when I found my son playing in the shower with a Barbie doll.

It wasn’t the fact that he was playing with a doll that bothered me, it was the fact that it was still completely intact — something I don’t expect from a child who routinely disassembles my office chair and a good portion of my desk in less than four minutes using nothing but a three-piece “Bob the Builder” tool kit.

I decided something needed to be done. It was time to enlist the help of an old friend; it was time for G.I. Joe to break Barbie’s mojo.

Looking back on my childhood, I spent countless hours playing with G.I. Joe, The Six Million Dollar Man and Big Jim. And let me just clarify right now that they were all Action Figures.

Not dolls.

That’s right. Dolls do NOT have muscles, dragon tattoos, and/or weapons. Dolls have “accessories” — things like hair brushes, a change of clothes, and red pumps. Action Figures have bionic powers, or “Karate Chop Action,” or one chrome arm that detaches to become a rocket-fueled pogo stick. I’ve never seen a commercial with Barbie hanging from a helicopter fighting for mankind against Dr. Steel and his deadly eye rays. Although, to her credit, Barbie does have a Winnebago that folds out into a tanning salon, which she uses to avoid harmful UV rays.

I should also clarify that, as a kid, playing with action figures wasn’t always about fighting; It was also about tolerance and acceptance. When G.I. Joe lost part of his head in a tragic Fourth of July sky-rocket explosion in 1972, Big Jim and Six Million Dollar Man just pretended not to notice when he came back wearing Spiderman’s head. I sincerely doubt that Barbie’s friends would be as accepting under the same circumstances.

Along with my decision to purchase a G.I. Joe for my son, I thought it might be helpful to familiarize myself with Barbie so that I might better understand how to exploit her weaknesses. Finding information on Barbie is very easy. That’s because she has at least 40 bazillion people with websites devoted to her.

(Note: Only six of these people are actually young enough to justify being THAT enthusiastic about a plastic doll; the other 994 bazillion should really consider moving their Barbie collection to well-ventilated area.)

I started my search by looking back on Barbie’s history. That’s when I discovered some unsettling “coincidences” between her and G.I. Joe which, if nothing else, might help Ken in the event of a divorce.

For example, In 1974, Barbie’s figure became bustier AND completely bendable for the first time. That same year, G.I. Joe coincidentally developed “Kung Fu grip.” And when Barbie was going through her mini-skirt and halter-top phase?

That’s right: Say hello to “Eagle-Eye” G.I. Joe.

In light of this discovery, it seemed to me that G.I. Joe’s moral standing has been tarnished. I can not, in good conscience, encourage my son to develop his self image with the help of G.I. Gigolo.

And since Six Million Dollar Man and Big Jim have long since retired, I’ve been left with only one choice when it comes to filling that void. It’s going to take a little work, but I’m hoping to have Big Six Dollar Ken ready by Christmas.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore., 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

24 thoughts on “Apparently, G.I. Joe is no match for Barbie’s mojo”

  1. all i know is that barbie and gi joe inevitably end up nude within minutes no matter how many outfits and how much gear they have and no matter who the kids are that are playing with them. also they all have a generic ‘love bump’ in place of where other exciting bits are meant to be. i should know, i’ve checked it out firsthand.

  2. Ned some of these dolls have detachable parts. You should try slowly over time changing out all of Barbies parts with G.I. Joe parts until the transition is complete.

    You can call this transition homemaker to life taker. If there’s ever been a man for this job it’s you. So go in there soldier and do what’s right we’re all counting on you

  3. I have a vintage 1960 ken doll (shirt shorts even the underwear) yeah its a doll if its ken… thats not the weird part though…. well the thing is….(( it has a bustier crotch than I like to admit)) no wonder Saudi Arabia banned barbie its all Kens fault…..BTW I NEVER OWNED A BARBIE. but I played with action figures mostly. I’m weird I know… 🙂

  4. G.I Joe and Barbie: The love that never fully came full circle, LOL. I remember clearly the day I found my Barbie Fold N’ Fun House with it’s white fence broken in two. I knew full well who was the culprit, G.I Joe under the direction of my younger brother who thought the Barbie house and Jeep were “cool”. I am glad that you didn’t go ahead with the gigolo that G.I. Joe turned out to be 🙂 I always new there was something more between Barbie and Joe… and now I do! Thanks Ned 🙂

    1. Hey, that’s what I’m here for: to ferret out the indiscretions of action figures. There is no higher calling, really. Except for maybe cat accessorizer.

  5. Ned, G.I. = Government Issue. Immorality was surprising to you with nomenclature like that? What century are you from? Haven’t we been having presidential extra-marital affairs, lying, spying, cover ups and all sorts of reprobate behavior from our elected officials for the last 50 years? Probably longer?

    Spot on about Barbie never helping to protect mankind from Dr. Steel and his death ray eyes. But then again, speaking of immorality…

      1. I can’t fault you for that. I used to have hopeful respect for our action figure armed forces. I guess I’ve just gotten jaded over the years by my perception of reality.

  6. I have Donny and Marie dolls–complete with frothy satin purple outfits. A boy and girl doll would give him lots of room for exploratory play….at least I found it informational. 🙂

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