Born in 1986, this '80s baby and '90s kid remembers the colorful and naughty side of millennial youth.
The Roberts Family
If you are a parent to a girl beneath the age of 13, odds are good that you are familiar with Barbie's current family, consisting of eldest child Barbara Millicent Roberts, (Barbie) Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea. But unless you grew up collecting them, you may not realize that these are not Barbie's only siblings.
Full disclosure, while they do have their own doll line, her siblings from the CGI film Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses will not be brought up, nor will any of her other CGI siblings, because each CGI production clearly states that this is Barbie playing a part, not Barbie's actual life nor her actual siblings.
While we rarely ever see Barbie's parents George and Margaret - who do appear in books and in Barbie: Dreamhouse Adventures but as of this writing, still do not have their own dolls - they should be applauded for having produced ten, technically 11 sons and daughters - even if it's really only Barbie raising the younger ones.
Wait, Barbie has a brother?
Actually, Barbie has two little brothers, and they're both named Todd.
While some collectors swear that these two little boys are the same in the same way that older sister Skipper is available in multiple sizes, one look at these dolls will confirm they have nothing in common.
The first Todd debuted in 1965 alongside his twin sister Tutti. He had red, sometimes blonde hair and hazel eyes and was meant to be somewhere between 5 and 7 years old, but still somewhat younger than Chelsea. Tutti and Todd had their own friends and their own playsets and were wildly popular with late Boomer and early Gen X children, but mysteriously vanished around 1971.
The second Todd debuted in 1990 alongside Kelly (we will get to her) and then he was quickly paired off with his twin sister Stacie, confusing collectors for over 30 years. Unlike the 1965 Todd, this Todd was clearly a tween, had black hair and giant, anime inspired blue eyes like Skipper's at the time 14 year old design. But despite being just as cool as Ken and Skipper's then boyfriend Kevin, Todd only appeared off and on until 1996.
There's another Kelly
While Skipper and Stacie have fought countless discontinuations in order to remain in Barbie's family, some of their other sisters were not so lucky.
The trouble starts with the aforementioned Tutti, who delighted kids but vanished from store shelves in 1971. With her bold, blue eyes and long, mod hair, Tutti didn't need to copy her older sisters to get attention.
Then in 1990 we are briefly introduced to Kelly, a sweet little tween who looked like a slightly younger Skipper of the day. She was quickly replaced with Stacie, but looking at the two, you get the sensation that she's slightly older than Todd and Stacie.
Then there was a second Kelly doll in 1995, proving that George and Martha do not believe in baby name books. Kelly was originally a toddler with a line of questionable clothes meant to match Barbie (but sometimes came off creepy) and then just before getting the family boot in 2010, she grew just a little, almost looking like a regular child, giving collectors flashbacks to poor Tutti. In a rather funny twist, there is a moment in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse where Raquelle mistakes Chelsea for Kelly - who is never seen.
In Europe however, there was Shelly, who for the most part was identical to Kelly, but in some areas, was sold right next to Kelly as if they were not in fact, the same doll, making Shelly Kelly's unofficial, but sort of official after all, twin.
Finally, there was Kristine "Krissy" Roberts, Barbie's baby sister who appeared off and on from 1999 to 2003. She was supposed to be a playmate for Midge and Allen's baby girls Nikki and Cassandra (younger sisters of Ryan) but all of the babies were discontinued before anyone had the chance to buy more playsets.
The chosen few
The overall image of Barbie's siblings may play a factor into when each sibling is abandoned. After all, Skipper has been the most consistently groomed as Barbie's successor, right down to her own enduring line of Teen Mom worthy "babysitting" dolls and play sets, while most of Barbie's sisters have been treated as just new accessories to Barbie's cute fashions. Each of the girls have enjoyed a limited run of friends and boyfriends, but these dolls are rarely in production for as long as Barbie's friends, and that's unusually cruel compared to Barbie's sweet nature.
Considering Barbie's girl-positive image and insistence on love and friendship, it seems completely bizarre to think that her siblings could just be kicked out of the family without any fanfare at all - or that Barbie's own parents would remain just as absent from the toy line today as they were in 1959.
Excuses for the ever changing family have ranged from Barbie needing to be seen as more mature, like how she raises her siblings alone, or Barbie needing to be seen as much younger, like when Skipper reverted back from being seen as a 16 year old to being short and 14 again, but then most of the excuses Mattel comes up with never seem to stick. Even when they try to say a certain doll doesn't sell well, rabid doll collectors come out of the woodwork to prove such a thing wrong.
Doll collectors are a powerful group indeed. They got Mattel to expand Barbie's line to be ethnically diverse, gender neutral and they got Mattel to normalize dolls with disabilities, so it is possible that if enough of them got together, we could see a comeback for Barbie's lost siblings, and maybe a doll debut for Barbie's parents. Until then, here's a look at the ages for all of Barbie's siblings:
Barbie (Somewhere between 18 and 22, originally 16)
Skipper (Originally 8, then 12, then 14, then 16, now 14 again)
Stacie, Kelly and Todd (Tweens, around 10-12 years old)
Tutti, Todd and Chelsea ( between 5 and 7 years old)
Kelly and Shelly (3-4 years old)
Krissy (Newborn to 1 year old)
George and Margaret Roberts deserve a lot of respect for spending 20 years having kind and lovable children - even if they never raised them after Barbie.
© 2021 Koriander Bullard