Whitney White-Ashley

Earlier this month, Barbie turned 50 years old and I must say she looks great. And what an adaptable girl!

I remember my mother kept an old (Iím not sure it was an original 1959 doll) Barbie and Ken doll behind glass. Barbie had dark, curled hair, tweed overcoat and white gloves.

Very fashionable to be sure, but what would that Barbie think about future Barbies?

Now Barbie is a big sister, a veterinarian, fashion designer, doctor, nurse, babysitter, surfer, princess, butterfly and rock star. The latest Mattel creation allows you to ink up Barbie - she comes with her own tattoos and a few matching tattoos for you.

I never really got into the Barbie craze as a kid. I had the pink cars and the Skipper dolls and several Barbies that I, um, decorated and styled her hair - much to my motherís dismay. I often lost the teeny little shoes and got frustrated trying to squeeze her into those fashionable clothes.

The only doll I really got excited about was the Whitney doll that came out in the 1980s. She was a short-lived friend to Barbie, but I loved her. No longer was I forced to peer on the buxom blue-eyed blonde as the be all in dolls. Whitney had long dark hair and brown eyes just like me. All she was missing was the summer freckles.

As much as I applaud Barbie for remaining viable for 50 years (not an easy task in the fickle toy market) I have to stop and wonder sometimes about what connotations she carries with her that our children pick up on. And not just for girls.

What do boys see when they look at Barbie? Is this were we get the idea of a Super Mom? Someone who can patiently run a business and house, seemingly have it all and still look perfect.

Donít get me wrong - Iím not a Barbie hater. I just wonder if Barbie could use a reality check. After all, even Dora is getting a ďgrown upĒ make over. Is it time for a real 50-year-old Barbie? Hmm, maybe she could look just the same - only add a few fine lines and call her Cougar Barbie. She could still keep Ken and the car and the career.

Well, maybe not.