This week's "I Can Be a Computer Engineer Barbie Doll" debacle inspired us go old school on this mess and liberate our Barbies from male, white, corporate oppression by relaunching the Barbie Liberation Organization. The '90s are all the rage these days — hell, even the seminal riot grrrl band Babes in Toyland are getting back together for a reunion. It's just like Miley sharing iconic pics of Kathleen Hanna: What goes around, comes around.
In 1993, the B.L.O. bought a whole slew of "Teen Talk" Barbies and G.I. Joes and performed "surgery" on the dolls to switch out their voice boxes before sneaking them back onto shelves just in time for Christmas. Suddenly, Barbie was all about fighting wars, and G.I. Joe and his pals just wanted to go shopping and talk about makeup. Parents were horrified, as were the amazingly coiffed talking heads on shows like A Current Affair, who referred to the altered Barbie as a "bleached-blonde she-man."
In this clip from A Current Affair, toy expert Joanne Oppenheim refers to the B.L.O.'s prank as "a sort of terrorist act directed against children." Kids, on the other hand, seemed pretty cool with it. One little dude with soldier in hand tells the TV anchor that G.I. Joe is cool, because "he fights… but I also like [that] this kind is not as violent." As usual, kids are far more open-minded than their parents.
Sure, these days we have the more-realistically-proportioned Lammily doll, plus tons of gender-neutral toys and books out there that would make great presents for our future feminists. But, doesn't it all seem a bit too easy? With actual programmers and cultural crusaders on our side, rebooting B.L.O. just in time for a holiday reunion tour would be a cinch. Look, we're just saying you can find instructions to do anything on YouTube.