I don’t know about you, but this Barbie drives a no-nonsense Subaru Outback while casually pondering the evolution of her sexual orientation in between running the kids all over town. As one does in their 40s.
A few decades ago, though, when it was time to choose a vehicle for my first Barbie, I had to have that Pepto pink Corvette from the mid-’80s. My childhood Barbie time focused on escaping the norm, and sending Barbie, Skipper and and sometimes Ken off to the beach in a sexy convertible was the exact opposite of summers in landlocked Southern Ohio.
So far, there isn’t a Barbie Outback on the market (I’d still pay too much money for that, if you’re paying attention Subaru and Mattel), but over the years, the list of Barbie vehicles has greatly expanded from the first model, a classic 1962 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk II. Today, in addition to sleek sports cars and trusty Jeeps, Barbie can hit the town on a bike, hop aboard a boat, set up for the weekend in a camper (or glamper), hit the warehouse store in her minivan or fly her own plane. It’s all up to your big, beautiful imagination.
Thanks to the new movie, imagining what Barbie and Ken might be like in real life (or what you might be like as a Barbie or Ken) has never been more enticing. When Ken came down that spiral slide, it was 1987 all over again for all kinds of grownup kids. What if you could walk into the Barbie dealership and pick out a real-life version of your favorite vehicle today? Tap into your Barbiecore aesthetic and go shopping with me.
The Barbie Bike: Mackinac Island, Anyone?
Maybe you’re the kind of Barbie who prefers a quiet, car-free vacation that is Pure Michigan all the way. The Barbie bicycles, especially the ones complete with flower basket and safety helmet, have your number. You’re into the simple pleasures of good company and fresh air, and your calf muscles are reaping the benefits.
The Barbie Scooter: Oo, La La
Picture it. Sicily. 1981. Your Barbie locks streaming behind you as you cruise through the public square, a hint of salt air and warm basil in the wind. Maybe you’ll get Ken a sidecar, but ultimately, you’re a self-possessed Barbie in Charge who knows about fashion and being effortlessly cool.
The Barbie Boat: Sexy Babies Only
The Barbie floating vehicle lineup is surprisingly representative, including everything from a kayak to an enormous cruise ship, but it’s the party boat options that truly encapsulate what daily Barbieland life feels like. There’s plenty of room for a select, exclusive clique and their tiny, tiny swimwear. Add some tunes and good lighting, and what else do you really need? Does this boat even leave the dock? Does it matter? As long as the photos look hot on Instagram, you’re in.
The Barbie Camper: Go on, Get Dirty
Barbie camping options are some of the more hilariously unrealistic versions of the “Barbie does stuff you might do in real life” concept, but they are among the cutest. So what if it’s hard to imagine Barbie actually fishing up her own trout, gutting it on the checkerboard tablecloth and roasting dinner over an open flame? Barbie camping is for those of us who like the idea of camping — maybe we’d love to tell everyone we “went camping” last weekend even though “camping” really meant sleeping under an air conditioning vent in an RV versus sleeping under the stars. And hey, that’s OK. It takes all kinds of Barbies.
The Barbie Van: A Place for Everything
Among the more sensible offerings in the Barbie vehicle catalog are the Barbie vans. Maybe you’re old school cool with a touch of pragmatism — if so, the 2002 VW Microbus would fit the bill nicely. Strap in the kid, pump up some ironically cool alt-indie pop and do the monthly grocery trip. This vehicle surely comes equipped with a natural homing device aimed directly at the nearest Costco, right?
The Barbie Sports Car: Kid-Free Classic
Whether you’ve emptied the nest or never filled the nest to begin with, it’s hard to go wrong with a classic Barbie sports car. If it’s fast and sporty, there’s a good chance Mattel has created a Barbie version of your favorite, from Maseratis to Thunderbirds to Corvettes to Ferraris. It’s the quintessential Barbie mover: stylish, impractical, fun and always ready to follow the road wherever it leads.