To Barbie or Not to Barbie, that’s an interesting question

I recently made it known I am very much into a lot of girly things, including my struggles with discovering my own possible trans gender identity. I’ve come to terms with the fact I enjoy hanging with girls, listening to female singers, dancing, dressing up with make up and other feminine activities. I’ve kept a lot of this to myself over the years but now that I am no longer bothering with letting other people dictate to me what I am doing with my life I decided to explore some other areas of my interests that have remained dormant.

I’ve been an on again, off again toy collector since I was a kid. I’ve never been ashamed of liking toys. I mostly buy action figures because even as an adult our society has been fairly acceptable of grown adults collecting action figures. The one area I’ve strayed away from, however, is the more obviously stereotypical girl stuff. Oh sure when I was a kid my sisters had their own Barbie dolls that I quite often entertained myself with in a non perverted way. In fact I was very much into the Barbie, Care Bars, Popples and Rainbow Bright as I was Transformers, TMNT and Star Wars. In fact I resisted He-Man on the basis it felt sexist to me to say boys have to like muscle bound barbarians in nothing but underwear for clothes. It always I guess bothered me.

Recently I contemplated whether or not I wanted to begin throwing all that out the window and buy every toy I desire to own, not just the supposedly gender appropriate ones. I’ve walked down a Barbie doll toy aisle many times thinking I wish I could buy some of these without judgement or fear of being attacked in some fashion.

Telling my family I am an action figure collector, or even toy collector wasn’t that difficult. I justified the Transformers because they were metallic toys with rubber wheels, nothing different than say collecting die cast cars which even my dad did. It does seem weird for me to consider purchasing a Barbie because I know it will raise eyebrows as well as questions. I kind of wish I could push past that stigma and say hey, look if I determine I won’t or choose not to dress up in women’s clothing for my own mental health then maybe I can live vicariously through Barbie. I know I put a little too much thought into the things I buy. Believe me I do this with everything. I worry every DVD or video game I pick up will someone accuse me of being gay? Trans? Feminine? Or something else? I decided since I don’t let it bother me any more well as much as I can, fear is still very real but I’ve lived with fear my whole life. It’s time I stop letting it dictate my own enjoyment and do what makes me happy.

Much like little Ben on Friends, I would have been very happy to sport my very own Barbie doll growing up. I am now at a point where if I can justify owning plastic figures of mutant ninja reptiles that live in the sewers, why can’t I justify buying a Barbie and Stacie doll and some accessories? I know some would question my desires to own any toys while others will certain fixate more on the feminine stuff. I am getting to the point where if my hobbies will deter people from associating with me, maybe I’m better off without those people anyways, family excluded of course.

We’ll see how or where this goes.

Rise of the TMNT basic figures initial thoughts

As part of my new found return to the world of toy collecting I decided to pick up a couple of the Nickelodeon Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. I have a few thoughts I wanted to jot down.

I first fell in love with Ninja Turtles as a property sometime in 1989 or so when I discovered the 4-player arcade machine. This was my first exposure to the radical reptiles. Once I learned there were toys and a cartoon related to this exciting new world to explore.

I bought two basic figures, Trickster Leonardo and Wild Card Michelangelo. The figures are pretty solid, great looking and fully represent the character from the show. I have no complaints there.

I really only want to address a couple minor gripes. The first is the accessories. Both turtles come with a pair of throwing stars, except neither of them have any peg or pouch that I can find indicating they can hold those stars. This wouldn’t be a major issue but the next gripe I have could be. There is no instruction booklet or anything included. There is a fold out pamphlet advertising the other toys in the line, but that doesn’t help with determining what to do with those stickers which is my third gripe. Why include stickers and no instructions on where to apply them? It seems odd to me. I wonder if they assume anyone purchasing the toy would be familiar with the show and should have a clue? I don’t know as I have never seen an episode of the show so I don’t even know if that would help or not.

I find it annoying when any product, especially a toy, comes packaged minus instructions on how to utilize all its features. This is particularly frustrating with a sheet of stickers and a pair of accessories which appear to be interactive but aren’t completely clear if or how they would do so. I consider it a flaw in the toy maker or at the very least a glaring oversight to omit something that would require a purchaser of the product to Google how to use it. I suspect without an easy way to hold the item they will fall into the black hole all toy accessories inevitably do.

Over all it is a small complaint of an otherwise great pair of toys. The figures are well designed, very articulate and I actually like the art style of the turtles. I can’t say the same for Splinter but that’s another story. At the very least I can be happy to have two new and completely unique Leonardo and Michelangelo figures in my collection.

I would rate the figures a 4.5 out of 5. The minor issue of not including clear instructions, especially with a figure having stickers included, brings the score down from an almost perfect toy. I love the molds, the weapons and the character bios on the back of the packaging.