In 1975 Mattel rocked our world by introducing “Growing up Skipper” to throngs of eager little girls and curious little boys everywhere. This was a Barbie Doll that went from a child to a teenager in the blink of an eye.
By twisting her arm, her waist lengthened, her height increased, and she instantly grew boobs. The under forty woke crowd may hardly believe this even happened in America, but I kid you not, it happened back in the day.
Increasing bust size was an obsession in the 70’s. In 1970, the classic Judy Blume book, “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret,” was published. Almost every girl that grew up in the 1970’s knows that book and that it inspired flat-chested girls everywhere to chant, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.”
Of course that didn’t work, and to add salt to the wound, a Barbie doll came out a few years later that swung her arm around and magically increased her bust size.
Young boys everywhere were mesmerized when the magical transformation took place. Girls who hadn’t gone through puberty themselves yet were just as captivated. Eventually, there were millions of Skipper dolls across the country with broken arms. If you had one doll and several people in your family, that arm got twisted about 400 times a day.
My sisters and I were all Barbie kind of girls. We had them all. My favorite was the Malibu Barbie. As a girl growing up in Indiana with skin as pale as paste, I was intrigued with the beautiful Malibu Barbie and her sun-kissed California skin. We also had all of Barb’s suntanned friends. There was PJ, Francie, and that nasty little Skipper.
They even went as far as bringing out a Growing up Ginger, which many people may never have heard of. She was the brunette version of the chest-growing adolescent and was only offered in 1976.
We had at least one Ken doll, too. Could you imagine if there had been a growing up Kenny? You’d lift his leg up, and well, you know. Since we’re now living in a politically correct era, making everything as equal as possible should be Mattel’s number one priority. Every morning I’m scanning the internet for the Growing up Kenny doll. But I won’t hold my breath.
Growing up dolls, Skipper or otherwise, are just one more thing that belongs back in the day.