Body Like Barbie

Since there are so many workout tapes to choose from, I decided a while ago I'd only buy videos that feature people I actually want to resemble. Like Denise Austin or Cindy Crawford. They're toned, but not in an over-muscled female bodybuilder way. With that selection process in mind, imagine my joy when I found out that Barbie had a workout video. Who wouldn't want to look like Barbie?

Photo of Barbie video
Shakin' what Mattel gave her.
Torn between thinking the Barbie workout was spreading an impossible body image ideal to little girls around the world, and the possibility that I had finally found a workout video that would also keep me entertained, I popped the tape into my VCR.

A warning scrolled up the screen. "It may take some time to 'catch on' to all the dances in the beginning. That's normal." It's a good thing they warned me, because the warm up was a bit hard to follow. I had expected a very simple routine, since the video was aimed at ages five and up, but apparently I'm less coordinated than the typical five-year-old.

At least my fears that Barbie would set unreachable goals for her young viewers proved unfounded. Don't forget -- she's plastic! And there's a limit to what stop-motion photography can do. Barbie even had trouble with the "Barbie Basic," a move that consists of jogging in place while doing some simple arm motions. She always seemed just a little off the beat, which did wonders for my self-confidence.

Photo of Barbie video
Giant hands should appear to help her dance.
Since Barbie can't move very well, the routines are lead by her perky, blond (human) friend Kim. Kim kept my attention for the entire 25-minute video simply by repeatedly pronouncing the word "push" so it sounded like "poosh." When I wasn't puzzling over her curious accent, I was smiling idiotically at such inspirational exclamations as "Let's paint this town!"

Barbie wisely stayed off camera during much of the video, only chiming in occasionally with a soothing voiceover ("You'll be moving like a pro in no time!"), so I found myself competing instead with her preteen backup dancers, including the ultra-bouncy Love Hewitt. (That's what Jennifer called herself back then.) Love had all the moves, and enough energy left over to add a personal flair. As if that weren't enough to make me jealous, she also provides all the dance music for the video -- some pretty catchy tunes!

Barbie helps her viewers remember the moves by giving each new step a cute name. After a few workouts, I have the "Sidewalk Strut" and the "Hot Foot" down. I'm better at the "Barbie Basic" than the plastic woman herself, but the "Attitude" and the "Broadway Barbie" are still just out of reach. I'm not going to give up though. Not until I've got Love Hewitt's bubbly pep -- and of course, Barbie's body.
--Lisa Beebe

Want more Barbie fun?
Get your own Dance! Workout With Barbie at
Check out Barbie's official website.
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