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

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.


imageWARNING! This has been a shameless excerpt from my book, Humor at the Speed of Life, which is a collection of my most popular columns over the years (as opposed to the kind I usually write) and is available in hardcopy or eBook version at Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble. It makes a great holiday gift! (Note: results may vary). Order yours from Port Hole Publications and let them know you’d like a signed copy. It can even be signed by someonee else!

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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...

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

  1. oh, i read the title a little to quickly and thought it read, ‘……is no match for barbie’s mojito.’ a bit different, but not that far off.

  2. Did you grow up with a sister? Moderate Daddy has one brother and no sisters. I will never forget the first time he saw Middle in one of Oldest princess dresses… Belle… and the sparkly red slippers of Snow White.

    He just looked at me as if I’d allowed the greatest of all atrocities to take place in our home.

    I have an older brother so the mixing of the boy/girl toys was normal.

    I promised my mortified husband that a 2 year old wearing whatever his older sibling is wear was completely normal and that he’d figure out he was a boy soon. And he did! He still likes to play with babies and whatever his sister is playing with… I love it!! But dresses are for sister and mommy.

    Side-note: GI Joe and Barbie were very much in love at my house growing up!!!

  3. Sigh – both my sons are getting “Anna” and “Elsa” dolls for Christmas… at least the follow the current trends 🙂

  4. One of my best friends had Tanning Barbie (child of the 1970s)…you literally left her out on your driveway and she got darker. Wow, times have changed.

    She also had the Barbie dreamhouse and I was super jealous. I have no recollection of any Barbie and Ken (or G.I. Joe) shenanigans, but I’m sure they happened.

    1. I remember tanning Barbie. There was a Mattel recall if I remembeer correctly, then six months later there was the new and exotic “Latina Barbie.”

      As for Barbie and Ken rendezvous, they probably happened in the more descreet Barbie RV. Probably parked under the bed.

      1. Omg a recall? That might explain a few of my issues…toxic barbie?

        Yeah you are right. Barbie wasn’t an exhibitionist and given her lack of dexterity probably wouldn’t want anyone seeing her and Ken needed to…well…you know 🙂

  5. Wow. I was recently remembering Steve Austin strapped to the handle bars and boom. You write this. Very neat!
    Those ‘Big Jim’ motorcycles got some good air and the jeep towed behind a bicycle could make some spectacular curb jumps!
    Thx for the memories! 🙂

    1. Ladies and gentlemen: One of my very best friends and witness to many Big Jim and other action figure shenanigans while we were growing up!

      And you, my bro, were a big part of those memories. Although “The Intruders” were action figures I’d rather forget… 😉

  6. I had Barbies growing up and my daughter has inherited them from me. I wish they were still in their original packaging because some of those things are worth some serious money! Especially like the recall Barbie that “tanned”! No GI Joes in my house though 😦 When you make your millions with your new ahem “action figure”, we can say we “knew you when”… LOL! 😉

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