Barbie Birthday Special




When left alone in a room with Barbie - 50 this weekend! - the first thing any self-respecting young boy does is remove her clothes.

The bitter disappointment of the featureless below-waist area helps explain a lot of men's troubles with the opposite sex later in life and is perhaps behind the call of US Congressman Jeff Eldridge for the doll to be banned.

Drat, he's wise to such jibes.

"I knew a lot of people were going to joke about it and poke fun at me," Eldridge said, explaining that it's the unrealistic idea of beauty sold by Barbie that's his beef.

You don't get many women with Barbie's astonishing proportions, so he has a point. But probably he's a bit late to be making it. Sales are way down, her place in the hearts of young girls has been taken by raunchier rivals like Bratz and now she's been handed the final indignity of becoming a camp hero.

Such is the kitschy nostalgia for Barbie-ness, that Hamleys are throwing a huge birthday party for her on Sunday 8 March and they promise a visit from the real-life Barbie. For the record, the last thing boys should do is remove her clothes.