I have recently being seeing and hearing a lot of things in regards to Barbie dolls being a bad or shallow influence on little girls and I just have to ask:
Why is your little girl a boring-ass lame-o? And whose fault is that really?
Barbie is an inanimate object, she has no real influence, but parents do. Barbie doesn't have much of a back story, she is a doll, and she has a lot of stuff. The rest is up to your child and her imagination, which is most greatly influenced by her parents.
Seriously, Barbie doesn't have a pull string that says, “Make me be a vapid, anorexic, spoiled little rich girl or I'll eat your face.” If that is what she is to your child, then you as a parent haven't been doing much to stimulate your child's mind, because as much as many people would like blame TV, the truth is, parents have the most influence, (and control of the TV so, ya know....).
I had a Barbie and I loved her. I also had some of her stuff because, for a child with imagination, accessories can enhance, not diminish the make believe scenario. It just frees up more brain power for the story line of relaxing with Ken after a hard day working for the FBI if you don't have to actually imagine the hot tub she is sitting in. That's brain power that can be diverted to imagining the werewolves she has to fight off after Ken finishes her foot massage.
My Barbie had a dream house, a Corvette and a Jeep. She also had a toilet that actually flushed if you put water in it. HILARIOUS hours of fun. Anyway, Barbie had the most awesome life any kid could ever dream of. She flipped her Corvette during the Cannonball Stairway Run and still managed to beat the Glamor Girls in their Firebird. It might have had something to do with the fact that the Glamor Girls were Scotch taped to the roof. Not very aerodynamic but, the rules said drivers had to be attached to their cars.
My Barbie often took the Jeep on expeditions to the remote jungles of "the creek" and tackled dangerous monsters and missions. One day, she didn't get there in time to save Ken from the radiation mutated gigantic, German Shepard from Monster Island, named Taffy.
Barbie sustained multiple injuries including puncture wounds and the loss of several fingers. Scars that remain with her to this day in Attic-ville, where she lives a life of luxury retirement. Ken was not so fortunate though. Doctor Dad could only save the head. He was put on life support, (the bulb assembly from an old flashlight inside a Kleenex box), and put in the spare room of the Barbie Dream House. Then Barbie started hanging out with the Kiss doll, He-man and G.I. Joe, cause, ya know, she has needs.
The point is, Barbie is what you make her. If your kid's Barbie Doll is a just a lame and shallow gold digger, who only worries about what to wear, then, you probably are too.