Saturday, April 26, 2014

How I Would Have Worked the Barbie - Girl Scouts Partnership

I was never a Girl Scout. Sure, I heard and enjoyed the "Be a Girl" song frequently played on television during the 1970s. I even flirted with the idea of uber-urban me going camping. Ah, fresh air, the smell of grass, open skies - now where is my private toilet, running water, and what's with the BUGS? Oh to be one of those hearty, healthy, wholesome girls exercising mind and body and social status. Yeah, right. Like I did not run from the ball in gym. Like I did not loathe team sports. Like I did not have my heart and my head turned against anything conformist. Sigh. While I did sing the theme - sang it off key - I could not live the dream.

So I calmly approach this union of Barbie and the Girls Scouts. Interested? Yes, I am. Heat for or against the connection, no. I collect some Barbies. I have respect for the brand - 50 years and still going? On the other hand, reading the I Can Be Anything Barbie game struck me as silly. Then again, I am not the target age group for that web page.

However, I am surprised how Mattel handled the partnership. Barbie as a Girl Scout? Huh? Isn't Barbie a little ... old to be a Girl Scout? What about her younger siblings: Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea? Wouldn't it have made more sense and been more lucrative to have them as Girls Scouts under Troop Leader Barbie? Or would that have been a bigger investment and taken more time than Mattel or the Girls Scouts wanted?

So I checked out the Girls Scouts website.

There are six levels for Girls Scouts:

Daisies  I would have put Chelsea among the kindergarden or first grade students.

Brownies I don't think any of the girls fit in this 2nd-3rd grade students group. (Go Mrs. Roberts - had a break for a bit.)

Juniors I see Stacie among the grade 4-5 students.

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors  Last, I would place Skipper in the Cadettes and Barbie as an Ambassador.

How would you handle the Barbie and the Girls Scouts partnership? Do you think that the two icons should never have connected? Do you think that Barbie's reputation tarnishes the Girls Scouts?


pattidolls said...

I was a Blue Bird not a Girl Scout. We sold candy, not cookies and I don't even know if they're around anymore. No, I don't think Barbie tarnishes the girl scout image because there are a lot of different variations of Barbie and I guess this is still the teenage Barbie and not the Blonds Blond version that is being represented.

Muff said...

As a former Brownie and a "court martialed" Junior, I have such a disdain for the Girl Scouts that I can barely pass by a real one without sneering. If I saw a doll of one I'd probably back hand the box.

So no, lol, I think this is a horrible partnership. However, if you can get your hands on a Girl Scout Handbook from the 70's that thing was a recipe for life. I was quite enthralled by the Handbook, but being in the actual organization left something to be desired.

Girlscouts... Bah!

Ms. Leo said...

I think they missed the chance to do a really interesting and collectable set of dolls. I work with girl, boy, and cub scouts. I am a merit badge counselor on horticulture. There is an importance with wearing the proper uniform. We now days teach kids to get by with close enough, do overs and an emphasis on style, not substance. This could have been a teachable moment, with a real uniform, multi ethnic kids, a camping set, a series of of goals to accomplish, and cool accessories! Yah Missed It Again Mattel!

D7ana said...

Hi Pattisdolls, Muff, and Ms. Leo!

@Pattisdolls - aAaahhh so you were a Camp Fire Girl? Cool. Yes, looks like the Blue Birds survived ;-)

That's a good point to remember, Patti - that Barbie sometimes is a teenager. (Work that time machine, Barbie!)

@Muff - You were a "court-martialed" Junior? I don't know what that entails, but it sounds fascinating and ominous. Seriously though, what could a kid do to get court-martialed? Oh my. Guess they really take their rules seriously. Hope I did not evoke painful memories - pardon the SNOOP in me ;-P

I see that you could get an older Girl Scout Handbook online on eBay. A related article discusses assessing the value of GS Handbooks.

@Ms. Leo - the sad thing about the lazy way Mattel and the Girls Scouts handled matter is that it could have been not only a teachable moment, but also a PROFITABLE one. I'd have sold separate uniforms so that the kids could set up their own playscale GS troops.

I probably seem colossally arrogant to tell Mattel what they should do. I mean they've been selling dolls for over 50 years. Still, I think sometimes they don't work their products to their own best interests.

We should write them a list of things that could improve their line - and get PAID for our efforts. We as concerned consultants, hey, Ms. Leo ;-)

Someday ... sigh.

Muff said...

I wasn't shot or thrown in jail, but they held a trial, listed a host of charges against me (non participation, tardiness, cursing, thievery - your basic conduct unbecoming), other kids bore witness against me and then when they asked me what was my response to the charges I told them they could all go to hell and kiss my butt. The leader told me to go to the principals office, which was a regular occurrence, actually. But before I could walk off, she stopped me and ripped the badges from my sash and told me I was not worthy of being a Girl Scout. I flipped her the bird and went and got my usual bi-weekly spanking. And thus ended my Girl Scout career.

In retrospect I probably deserved it because I was a bad kid, but still... bleh!

Ms. Leo said...

I think like the blog reviewers, Mattel should talk to folks like us!

Muff, you crack me up!!:-)

AudraBark1 said...

Like Pattidolls, I was a Bluebird/ Camp Fire Girl (the candy was 50 cents a box back then!). I don't think we would have liked being associated with dolls although back then, in the 60s, Barbie was not particularly PINK--that came later.

Muff, that's unbelievable! When you said the leader ripped your badges off, all I could think of was Chuck Connors in the TV series Branded (, I'm still chuckling.

D7ana said...

Hi Muff, Ms. Leo, and AudraBark 1!

@Muff - wow. She ripped off your badges? Not sure whether to laugh or to gasp. I mean you had earned them - however things turned out. I only got whacked twice in school: once for pretending to be an airplane when we were lining up to go inside and the second time for writing on the desk. Slapped my hand down the first time and cracked my knuckles with a ruler the second - and that was PUBLIC school. But your experience ... wow, wow, wow. Flipping the bird to the GS leaders ... I salute Kid Muff. Awesome.

@Ms. Leo - we could help Mattel. Shrug. I mean free advice, too.

@AudraBark 1 - high five. Barbie didn't go heavy pink until around 1975-76. And that was a MARKETING decision - so that Barbie boxes could be distinguished from other doll boxes.

I could understand Bluebirds/Camp Fire Girls not being into Barbie because I imagine that they would be interested in camping and earthy stuff, not so much in fashion and glamour.

Cindi Mortensen said...

Looks like Mattel dropped the ball again. I think we should write them, tell them what we think AND get paid for it. We could all be independent consultants for them. LOL :-)

Studio 126 said...

I see the AT Janes, and other adventuresses [Lara Croft, GRGs & I-Girls] as the logical continuation of the Girl Scout program, into adulthood.

And AT-Joes as uber Boy Scouts...

D7ana said...

Hi Cindi Mortensen and Studio 126!

@Cindi - ha! I knew I had an unanswered comment somewhere. We should definitely get paid by Mattel for the suggestions/improvements we make/would make of their products.

I feel generous about it to the extent that I wouldn't mind being paid in dolls.

@Studio 126 - yes! That is a great connection. The Adventure Team figures even have the NAME to fit the activities. Thanks for sharing that idea ;-)