The Stevie Nicks Barbie wears a dress based on the one Nicks wore on the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album. (From Mattel)
Katie Edwards, The Independent
Guess how much a piece of Stevie Nicks’s “soul” will set you back? Only £56! What a bargain! Yes, the toy giant Mattel has released a mini-me doll in the likeness of the iconic Fleetwood Mac singer songwriter, who unveiled her on stage during a show at Madison Square Garden on 1 October. “This little Barbie is so precious and they helped her have my soul,” she said.
Nicks, with her long, svelte plastic legs, iconic outfits and tiny tambourine, now shares the august company of other legendary musicians Tina Turner, Elvis Presley, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett (and even David Bowie) — who’ve all been given the Barbie treatment in celebration of their achievements.
Fans clearly love the new Starbie/Bevie, so much so that it’s already sold out on the Mattel website (because it’s so kitsch? Who can say)... but, it seems, no one could love the Barbie-fied Nicks as wholly as Stevie herself.
“I have been living in my own Barbie Universe since March,” Nicks told Today.com. “And I can honestly say that this little person makes me happy. And that’s the thing I love about her the most. I can be in the worst, worst mood, and I walk in and see her — she’s like my happy pill. I instantly feel better. I have so many reasons to love her.” Now, the doll is gorgeous. She wears Nicks’s signature Rumours cover photo outfit — complete with half-moon tambourine. There’s no doubt: it is a look. And Nicks herself says of her signature style: ‘When I first got that outfit, and I stood back and looked at it in the mirror, and the boots, I just went like, “Damn, that is a great outfit, and that outfit will still look great when you’re sixty.” But here’s exactly where I see a problem with the “Stevie Nicks Barbie”.
Why does it capture the version of Nicks from almost half a century ago, when she was 29? Yes, that’s when Rumours came out. But was Stevie Nicks really any more iconic at 29 than she is at 75? I don’t think so.
So why not celebrate the talented, vibrant woman who’s still touring and performing to thousands — and who (crucially) still wears the same outfit? Is it because of ageism? Nicks may well have thought about this herself, for she has said the doll “is the Rumours me… but she’s also me now. It sounds impossible somehow… maybe that’s the spirit of her — the spirit of Stevie Barbie and the spirit of me, blended together in this little person and it just emanates from her.” Nicks also says about her tiny doppelganger: “She’s the memory and she’s the present — and everything in between.” But to me, that’s a romanticised version of women, and the way we age. Nicks should be holding herself up as she exists right now as the best possible representation of the Stevie of the past and the present — after all, just look at all she’s been through and achieved! She helped Fleetwood Mac to become one of the best-selling music acts of all time, with more than 120 million records sold worldwide. Rumours itself became one of the best-selling albums worldwide. Nicks was named one of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time and one of the 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone. She was the first woman to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and has had eight Grammy award nominations. And so much more.
The issue I have with Barbie is that they take powerful and smooth out any evidence of... well, living. A life lived well, and fiercely, and hard. Just take the Barbie version of Queen Elizabeth II, for example. The doll, which was released for the platinum jubilee, gave the 96-year-old monarch the complexion of a toddler. In the age of airbrushing and Insta-perfection, maybe it’s expected that images must be flawless. But there’s something ridiculous — and insulting — about the refusal to portray maturity, let alone celebrate it.
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