In her 54 years as a career woman, Barbie has worn a lot of hats—from sexy girlfriend, to sexy waitress, to sexy convertible driver. But she’s not ready to quit yet: Mattel is introducing Barbie’s Egg Freezing Kit, a fun new accessory that makes it possible for Barbie to do every job on earth before deciding to have children.
Communications Director Bob Mentry says, “Over the years, the company has done a good job keeping up with feminist trends. This seemed like the next logical step.”
Egg freezing, or Oocyte Cryopreservation, has been on the rise since 2008. With the advent of books like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, the idea that women can “have it all” is gaining major traction with old women. With 108 flourishing careers, a dream house, a dream man, and a shiny pink convertible, no one better sums up this philosophy than Barbie herself.
Though sales forecasts are confidently optimistic, many shareholders are wondering whether this new accessory is sending the right message to our nation’s youth. Mattel’s VP of Imagination Lyn Leroux disagrees: “Barbie’s Egg Freezing Kit opens new doors for make-believe play, where girls can begin practice family planning decades before their hesitant avoidance of having children leads to maybe thinking of having an actual family someday.”
Little girls now have a whole different Barbie/Ken narrative to explore. Why does Barbie need to freeze her eggs? Is she planning yet another career switch? Why isn’t the happy couple ready to have kids after 50 years of marriage? Does Ken have fertility problems? Does this have anything to do with his rumored homosexuality? Should they see a therapist? According to Leroux, these are all questions ripe for playtime discovery.
Mattel consents that in addition to the creative storytelling benefits, Barbie’s new product extension serves as an educational tool. As stated in the online product description, “Now your little ones can play more than just Barbies—they can play God!” As one mother in a toyshop said, “It’s a great way to teach my daughter about her options, while still serving her greater interest in responding to the challenges of a demanding career.”
Despite most mothers’ positive reactions, Mattel has received some backlash from women who say the Egg Freezing Kit falsely portrays the realities of cryogenics, as Barbie is technically too old to have healthy, freezable eggs, and more likely to have already gone through menopause.
To that Leroux maintains, “Well, you’ll just have to use your imagination.”