IWW: Origins

Today is the first of a series I hope to get many miles out of, my I Write Women (IWW) series. It’s the story of how I came to write adventure stories where women stab the shit out of things.
To help me write about writing women, I’ve enlisted the help of my fav toy of all time, Barbie:

"Happy to be here! Can't wait to stab shit."

I never got the whole, “little girls will grow up with unrealistic expectations of what their bodies should look like.” I remember someone telling me that I shouldn’t expect to look like Barbie someday. No shit. For one thing, my toes aren’t one high-heeled piece.

These are very useful for kicking, however.

She’s freakishly disproportionate. She’s made of hard plastic and wasn’t huggably soft like a real human being. As a child, I wondered if this common sense was hard won for the poor deluded soul who told me I couldn’t look like Barbie. I pictured her horror when she tried to speak to Barbie and realized that Barbie would never ever speak back.

I loved adventure stories, fantasy/sci-fi or otherwise. And even though most of the adults I knew were women, there were very few women in the stories that I loved. And if there was a woman, she was almost always captured and had to wait to be rescued.
But I didn’t see this as a male/female thing. I saw it as an odd-man-out thing. The lesser represented gender gets captured. Got it. Well, I had fifteen Barbies and one Ken.

It just made sense.

Did you notice skewed gender/race/sexuality roles in the stories around you as a kid? Did you change them in your play? Maybe you just preferred matchbox.

7 thoughts on “IWW: Origins


    I’m still not sure what person actually designed Barbie in the first place.

    I recall being a bit of a tomboy so Barbie was played with rarely.

    However, I do remember seeing guys as the rescuers and girls as damsels in distress.

  2. I haven’t had a doll since I was three. He was a boy doll and as big as I was. I used to drag him around by the foot. Evidently, I still do that with husbands today. 🙂

    Once I got into school (and learned English), I gave up toys completely and started putting on plays. I kid you not. I directed and created costumes and backdrops for fairy tales and later Star Trek based stories. For some reason, I never had any interest in acting. But I was wildly popular with the other kids because they wanted to be in my plays.

  3. I actually never had a ken doll, so my barbies had to fill both roles. Huh. The really remarkable thing is how messed up the story lines little 6 year old me came up with. I made up a game called Barbie Suicides. You get the picture.

    Also, love the new look for the site. Your banner is awesome.

  4. Angela, that’s the way I remember it, too. It’s why I have to turn the rescuer/rescuee thing on its head now.

    Maria, I love your doll memory (and the husband one). Those plays sound awesome. You would have been wildly popular with me then, too, kind of like you are now.

    Pattie, I did indeed do the banner. I hope to have more shots next week.

    Erin, I love Barbie suicides. Guest post?

  5. I was more of a my Little Pony fan, but came up with pretty messed up and confused storylines for them, too. Think it’s because the first Little Pony movie had them turning into dragons and chased by a creature that looked like a brown winged devil. Seriously.

    Loved this story about the Barbies – take that, Ken! He doesn’t come off too well in Toy Story 3 either….

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