Review: Race Car Driver Barbie
Posted by Lindsay
Well, this is a red-letter day.
This is the day when I have purchased a Barbie who is not a movie character, or a comic character.
Just a Barbie.
I've finally managed to disappoint my mother, who taught me that Barbies were evil and gave girls poor body image, so I wasn't allowed to have any... and now I have lots... Wait. I may have just figured something out.
Screw it, anyway, I am a grown woman, and I'll buy a Barbie if I damn well please.
But wait, not JUST a Barbie! Part of the “I Can Be...” line, this is Race Car Driver Barbie! I couldn't resist the fact that she exists.
Appearance and Construction: 7/10
I did pick her out because I like her, but I have a few nit-picks as well.
Her face is fine, makeup clear and not overpowering or glittery. Her jumpsuit is brightly colored, but not excessively pink. I like her chunky black boots and the Barbie sponsorship logos on her chest.
I adore her spunky ponytails, but the dark streaks in her hair are uneven. This varies from doll to doll; I have seen more subtle streaks in the store, but I got mine online. Like all play Barbies, her hair is soft and comb-able, her jumpsuit sturdy and well made.
She does lose a little because she is so simple, but she's very well designed for a play doll.
Packaging and Accessories: +1
The package is clear and bright. There's a picture of real life female driver Danica Patrick, and a quote from her on the back. It shows some of the others in the “I Can Be...” line, like Rock Star, Vet, Doctor, and...Bride. Eeesh.
The package tells you to go online to play themed games, and I did check out the site briefly, although not the games. Despite the ubiquitous pink, most of the pages featured a decent short video, for example, an interview with a (normal-looking, not Barbie-ish) woman who is a vet, or a dentist, or a middle school girl in a rock band. No video for the Race Car Driver, but they claim it's “Coming Soon.” Even the game for the Bride doll is trying to be less disappointing: apparently it's about designing a wedding... as a wedding planner. Hey, that IS a career!
As a play Barbie, she was easier to extricate from her packaging than the collector dolls, but it still wasn't simple.
Her accessories are pretty great. She comes with a helmet, a first place trophy, a hairbrush, and, uh, two cardboard flags? I would have thought these were part of the packaging, except they were in their own tiny bag, taped to the inside.
The flags are flimsy and pretty useless, but the helmet fits well and looks great, and she can sort of hold the trophy.
Barbies only sometimes come with play accessories, and these work well, so I'm giving her an extra point.
Play and Display: ---
RCD Barbie has the standard 1999 'bellybutton' body, with ball joints at neck, shoulders and hips, and 3-click joints on the knees. Any more than that would be above and beyond for fashion dolls, so no penalty. Besides which, the spandex costume means that she retains all of her articulation... in pants!
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 8/10
“I Can Be” Barbies should run around 12-14 dollars, which is standard for a fashion doll of medium quality. I bought mine on Amazon, because it was cheaper than at our local Toys'R'Us, which has them marked way up to almost 20! 20 is too much, but 12 feels about right.
Barbie dolls have a long history of interesting and often progressive careers.
Barbie was an astronaut in 1965, and at the time only one woman, a Russian, had been into space, and America wouldn't choose a female astronaut for years. Tell me again how Barbie is only a bad influence on girls?
In iterations of this line in recent years I've seen Sea World Trainer, TV Chef, and many others. They have space on the shelf for princesses and ballerinas, but they are far from the only dolls being made.
At the beginning of this year, Mattel held a poll to determine Barbie's next career. The internet spoke, and the answer, of course, will be Computer Engineer Barbie. The poll winner among young girls is also being released this fall: News Anchor Barbie.
I enjoy my Race Car Driver Barbie, although I am completely aware she isn't to everyone's taste. But did you know only 4 women have ever qualified to race in the Indianapolis 500, and none have yet won?
Barbie leads the way.