If you’re a queer woman with a Twitter account, then I don’t have to explain the giddy, childlike excitement I experienced upon noticing that “Barbie has a girlfriend” was trending this morning.
JUST LEARNED BARBIE HAS A GIRLFRIEND pic.twitter.com/xBZ6U2hdOL
— sarah (biggest ferris fan) (@kissevermore) January 11, 2021
Granted, that rush of joy took a nosedive after I did some digging. Turns out, the images that launched the convo are from 2017, when the world’s most famous doll was photographed next to a brunette Barbie in a “Love Wins” t-shirt on the official @BarbieStyle Instagram page. (NewNowNext covered the buzzy moment back then, too.)
Despite the inclusive slogan tee and damning bisexual bob, the brunette was never intended to be Barbie’s new GF. She’s actually the plastic likeness of fashion blogger Aimee Song, a.k.a. @SongOfStyle, who collaborated with Mattel over three years ago.
The dearth of expressly queer Barbies is surprising coming from Mattel, a brand that has promoted effeminate “fashionista” Ken dolls and even debuted a gender-neutral doll. It’s 2021; no matter what the über-conservative Christians of One Million Moms insist, the world is ready for LGBTQ dolls. And Lesbian Twitter™️ is nothing if not determined to spread the gospel of femme representation. Queer users across the platform took the rumors and ran with them, proudly sharing photos of Barbie and her apparent GF with commentary celebrating their coming out:
barbie and her girlfriend pic.twitter.com/QHpEjInIz1
— ً (@sapphicfiles) January 12, 2021
how barbie get a girlfriend before me? this is so .. i’m so jealous but happy for my girl pic.twitter.com/kpltwgVNEd
— fran ⚢ (@kaIIuto) January 12, 2021
barbie has a girlfriend too??? it’s a good day
— Tessa Violet (@TessaViolet) January 12, 2021
— ʀᴇᴅᴀᴄᴛᴇᴅ “Dany” ʟᴀꜱᴛ ɴᴀᴍᴇ ᴜɴᴋɴᴏᴡɴ (@dananucha) January 12, 2021
Song, the aforementioned fashion blogger, even chimed in, tweeting, “I am the girlfriend.”
— Aimee [Ah-Mee] Song (@AIMEESONG) January 12, 2021
As far as we know, Barbie doesn’t canonically have a girlfriend, nor is she queer. It’s disappointing, sure, but the reality is that imagination has no age limit or sexuality confines. In fact, I’d argue that reimagining Barbie as a lesbian or queer/bi woman is in line with the playful spirit that has helped the brand endure for so long.
All I’m saying is that if my Barbie kicks Ken to the curb in favor of a hot femme, then that’s between me and Lesbian Jesus…and maybe Twitter.