Meet Kenbie, or Barben. Either name is fine with shim.

My sister and I had lots of Barbies. I got a Ken one year for Christmas. One Ken, with one outfit – black “leather” pants and a white and black cowboy shirt.

For awhile, Ken was the star of his very own Big Love show. He had his choice of the available ladies and he had his way with all of them, I’m sure. But, eventually, Ken broke (probably because of the strain put on his body by a half a dozen horny, busty, career women).

Personally, I would have always chosen a new Barbie over wasting a “gift spot” on another Ken. My sister must have felt the same way, because we never had another Ken. But, Barbie has needs. What’s a girl to do? There was no more Ken, but his one outfit remained.

Enter Kenbie – an old Barbie given a make-under manly haircut, dressed in Ken’s old outfit, and burdened with the task of being the new sheriff in town. She did a fine job until the outfit eventually disintegrated.

This is the outfit she was found wearing when I opened the old Barbie Doll trunk, a 20 year old time capsule.


After that, Kenbie was free to truly be shimself – living and keeping on keeping on, dressing in whatever clothes suited shim and courting, well, it was still just all Barbies to choose from, and eventually a Jem.

And, I’m proud to say that my other Barbies never hassled Kenbie for his/her lifestyle choices.

This post is brought to you by Staying at My Mom’s House. Staying at My Mom’s House gives you exclusive access to my old Barbie gender bending experiments.

30 thoughts on “Meet Kenbie, or Barben. Either name is fine with shim.”

  1. My kids weren’t ever into Barbies. Althtough I may or may not have toormented my sisters’ collection in the early 80s.

    Btw, when I was in college, the lesbian posse I hung with had a great time making their own barbies modified dolls. I’ll let you use your imagination.

  2. The only reason I had Barbie’s was because my best friend Danny had GI Joe and needed someone to attack. I actually had the whole house, camper, etc. but only because I liked to do the interior decorating. I have no idea why. Anyway, my dolls ended up with their hair cut off. I suppose that’s better than Ken never getting to take off his underwear.

  3. The very most wonderful best thing about Barbies was being able to cut their hair off or dress them in whatever you wanted to, because they were yours. So many days I sit around for hours, just laughing and laughing about what we would do to Barbies.

  4. I had barbies, but I think my brother had more fun playing with them than I did. Surprisingly, he did not end up being gay. He’s a moron, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the barbies.

    I am also impressed at your very early acceptance of trans-gendered dolls at such a young age. Very tolerant of your young self!

  5. The only use I ever had for Ken was as Murder Victim — he was the only one whose head and arms and legs would come off, so I scattered his bits about the DreamHouse (head in the oven, of course!) and had the RedHeaded Girl from “Barbie and the Rockers” be the detective. I was CSI before CSI was cool!

  6. There is a very disturbing internet trend lately of discussing Barbies. It’s starting to freak me out.

    But always fun to rediscover pieces of childhood…

  7. My kids loved their Barbies. All of them had an “updo” due to the fact that they were carried around by their hair.

    I had GI Joes, but I went through a “burning” phase. I used to love to watch the burning plastic drip from their arms.

    I probably shouldn’t be sharing this…

  8. I cut all my sister’s barbies hair into mohawks – she was mad at me for months.

    PS – I saw a lite brite app the other day and thought of you…maybe that’s the way you should go, no messy plastic pegs!

  9. You were unknowingly quite progressive. Have you heard of using ze as a gender-neutral pronoun? I hadn’t until my friend, a Christian anarchist, told me about it. She’s much cooler than me.

  10. When my eldest turned 6 (1000 years ago) the thing she most wanted for her birthday was the “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast barbie which she got. Which her 5 year old sister coveted and promptly gave a butch haircut. Chaos ensued. It got ugly…..

    P.S. I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award. I’m sorry….unless you wanted one and then YOUR WELCOME!

  11. We used to have an Annie doll. She was our…. special doll. The one delegated to being the boy when Ken wasn’t living up to his responsibilities. We gave her a very butch hair cut and she was a little short, but many a Barbie was made happy by Annie…

  12. BRILLIANT!!! I laughed so hard. I mean, not AT you, of course, but um…with you? Were you laughing? Can we pretend you were?

    I still have all of my old Barbies. And no one is allowed to touch them. Ever. Unless they want to die.

  13. This made me laugh right out loud. Cowboy Ken also got lots of action at my house, that is, until Michael Jackson came on board, until my brother melted Jacko’s face off. The irony, I know. Now Cowboy Ken is getting busy with my daughter’s Barbies. I did not make a Kenbie, though I would not have hesitated – Barbie has needs, after all.

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