“Why are all of your Barbie Dolls naked?” I asked my six-year old granddaughter the other day.
“I was changing their clothes,” she answered matter-of-factly like I should just know the answer.
“So where are their clothes?” I asked. She hadn’t been playing with the dolls for well over an hour now, having moved on to other—and I suspect more interesting—things.
By the way, there was not a stitch of doll clothing anywhere to be seen.
“I don’t know,” she said as she turned her attention back to playing with some Flarp (you know, the stuff that makes the farting sounds when you play with it).
“Why don’t you know?” I pressed further.
“I just don’t,” was her reply.
Why are ALL the Barbie dolls naked?
This is a question I have asked myself numerous times over the course of my life.
When my sister was little and she played with her dolls, most of them were always naked.
When my girls played with their dolls they were almost always naked. And now, with my granddaughter—naked Barbies everywhere!
I don’t know why the manufacturer sells Barbie or other dolls with clothes on since within the first 24 hours of ownership, the girls have taken off and presumably lost all the dolls’ clothes.
I guess it is to make more money. My granddaughter always wants to buy the “accessories” for her Barbies!
We see an awful lot of Barbie dolls “running around” with no clothes, but they do have on sunglasses and are carrying a purse and have one high-heeled shoe on!
The fascination with the human body
Our natural fascination with the human body is what leads us to scantily clad or naked dolls, in my opinion. We want to see what is underneath the “mask” so to speak. When we are little, the best way to do that is with our dolls. We can do things with our dolls that we can’t do with real people (fortunately)—like take all their clothes off in the middle of the living room…or in public!
For many of our little ones, a naked doll is their first real encounter with nudity other than their own or if they have siblings or live in a nudist colony!
Playing dress up with their dolls is an important part of learning, as well.
As I had mentioned, my granddaughter loves to get accessories for her dolls. Most of the time the accessories disappear, but once in a while, we’ll see her dolls sporting a new outfit or boots or shoes or sunglasses or a purse or something else that we had purchased for her to play with.
At one time, to help her understand the organs and workings of the body, we did purchase her something similar to the image at the right. You can take the organs out and study them as well as follow the fine network of arteries and veins and the central nervous system.
She likes to pretend this educational toy is a zombie and shoot at it with a dart gun!
The Bottom Line
My granddaughter is very curious. She likes to know about things. If having a few naked Barbie dolls around the house helps her understand some basic things, I am okay with that. I remember being curious about things when I was a kid, too. Although I was more of a “Tom-boy” and was more likely to flush the Barbie’s down the toilet than to play dress-up with them!
The bottom line is, don’t get too upset if you find naked dolls around the house. Your grandchildren are going through a normal phase in development and you don’t have to worry about this. (Unless they are 30 years old and have them hanging around the house…but that’s an entirely different thing!)
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 24 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has seven grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the funny story about the naked Barbie dolls. It’s true enough! They always seem to be sans clothes. I intend to check out your site often because you have some good and relative information that would help not only grandparents, but parents and others.
Playing with dolls is certainly a way that children learn about life, roles and fashion!
Thanks for visiting our site. We sure are learning a lot from our granddaughter!
This post was both funny and enlightening. I remember being a young girl with Barbie’s and a lot of times, they were naked. My momma would sew us all sorts of outfits for them so we had a ton of Barbie clothes. I grew up, had two daughters and am finding half dressed, naked Barbie’s everywhere as well. We have a son who enjoys making his sisters mad and he will tear a head off or shove its feet into a half eaten banana LOL, kids can be funny!
As you stated, all these things are normal behaviors and as adults we may sometimes forget that. Thanks for reminding us with your candid post. 🙂
Thank you for your visit to our site. As a grandparent, sometimes it is hard for me to know or remember if things are “normal” or not. It is good to know that what we see with the naked Barbies is a part of growing up! I thank you to for sharing your experience!
Hi Karin. I personally was not opportuned to play with dolls when I was little. Lol
It is really a great way for kids to learn the processes of life. By the way, I think the companies that make dolls made it the way it is to look just like humans, that’s why the clothes can be removed. Making money could one of their motives though.
Kudos. I enjoyed reading through.
LOL! Yes, my brother would have agreed with you! Although, he did play with my sister once in a while and he was always very good about that.
I am glad you enjoyed the article!
Best wishes and visit us again!
I really like your thought provoking article which definitely made me ask questions about myself and my family. I remember when I was little I mainly had Cindy Dolls rather than Barbie and I think it was because the first one I got was a horse rider. I know for a fact I did have lots of accessories for my dolls but I always had them clothed but this might be to do with the fact that I am very clean and tidy and I like things to be complete.
However, when I thought about my sister all her dolls were naked and my nieces are exactly the same with all the accessories thrown all over the place.
I therefore think that you are right with the fact that children are obsessed with the human body and I think that fashion and tv have been detrimental to this as they want to grow up to early. I also agree with you that the manufacturers make a lot of money out of the accessories which is usually what goes onto to the birthday and Christmas lists.
A lovely thought provoking article.
Hey Imelda. We have totes for the accessories because they are never with the doll! 🙂
Life is rough for kids, you are correct, they want to grow up too early. Sometimes I look at my 7 year old granddaughter and wonder who she will become as she grows up. Today she put on lipstick. It made her look older. That was her intention.
She loves her LOL dolls too, but she really doesn’t care that they are anatomically correct, although she is aware of it.
A lot of times, she just loves dolls, but for some reason they all have to be naked!