Is Barbie Pregnant? The Story of Pregnant Barbie

Updated on September 11, 2018
Pregnant Midge, Barbie's friend in her purple flowered dress. Just look at that tummy!
Pregnant Midge, Barbie's friend in her purple flowered dress. Just look at that tummy! | Source

What's more controversial, a pregnant teenager or a pregnant doll?

Many people would say that teenage pregnancy is a larger issue. But in 2002, Mattel introduced a doll that made the purchasers of toys for their children (i.e., human mothers) gasp in the toy stores.

A pregnant Barbie! Yikes! What a scandal!

Or was it a scandal at all? Was it even Barbie?

No, Barbie Has Never Been Pregnant

Also, Barbie has always been single. The wedding dresses that were designed for her were only “fantasy” weddings to her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ken.

But that doesn't mean her friends didn't start a family!

Barbie and Midge

Barbie has had lots of friends in her lifetime, and in 1991, two of them married each other. Their names were Midge Hadley and Allan Sherwood. Later, Mattel produced their "son" Ryan, who was three years old at the time of Midge's "pregnancy" with Ryan's sister Nikki in 2002.

But lest we move too quickly through her controversy-laded life, here is some background.

Get Your "Happy Family" Here!

Various members of the Happy Family clan are still available on eBay. Here are some examples:

Barbie Wedding Day Set Fashion, #972

Sadly, as lovely as this wedding dress is, the wedding itself would never come to be.
Sadly, as lovely as this wedding dress is, the wedding itself would never come to be. | Source

"This is my favorite picture of Alan and me on our wedding day. That was the start of our wonderful family."

— Midge Hadley, Barbie's best friend, back of box

Ken Doll, 1961

Can't you see the desperation on his face? (I thought it was dirt, but I was wrong.) He has been pining for Barbie all these years, but to no avail. Maybe he should have dated Midge instead!
Can't you see the desperation on his face? (I thought it was dirt, but I was wrong.) He has been pining for Barbie all these years, but to no avail. Maybe he should have dated Midge instead! | Source

Barbie Background

When Barbie was introduced in 1959 at the New York Toy Fair, she was touted as a Teenage Fashion Model, despite her knowing sidelong glance and outrageously proportioned body. In fact, her body was not designed as “pneumatic” as it ended up – though she was designed to look like a full-grown woman clothed in impeccably tailored duds, a thicker waistline would have ruined the way the fashions hung on the doll... and result in disproportionate-looking outfits. So Mattel went with a disproportionate figure instead!

Since Ruth Handler, the "Mother of Barbie" had dreamed of creating a true fashion doll, a schlumpy-looking one would not do. (The fashions were meant to be the true bread and butter of Mattel.)

Midge and Alan Get Hitched

After Mattel changed the spelling of Allan's name to Alan-with-a-single-L, he and Midge married in 1991. It is clear from the back of the 2002 Happy Family box that Midge is part of a happy family, and so there is no reason that she should not become pregnant.

Although, how dolls get pregnant without specialized body parts is certainly beyond my comprehension.

Barbie Becomes Lonely

And so after a rocky debut, Barbie became very popular. Young girls clamored for friends of Barbie with which to act out real-life scenes. So in 1961, Mattel gave Barbie non-sexually-threatening boyfriend Ken Carson; in 1963, redheaded befreckled best friend Midge; and in 1964 they saddled Barbie with tag-along, moon-faced younger sister Skipper.

That year, Midge also got a boyfriend and Ken got a buddy... whose name was Allan.

Together, they had a grand time on double dates -- snorkeling, playing tennis, going to prom, and drinking orange juice. Until...

Midge's tummy, and the baby hidden inside

Who knows what lurks in the depths of dolls?
Who knows what lurks in the depths of dolls? | Source
Oh.  It's a baby!
Oh. It's a baby! | Source

The Birth of Nikki

It was an easy birth.

All Midge had to do was remove her tanned, egg-like tummy to reveal the baby within. Her stomach was shaped uncannily like the red housing that Silly Putty came in. (It was a little unnerving.) There was no pushing, sweating, or anatomical issues to deal with, just an easy-to-wipe-down hard plastic shell.

The name of Midge and Alan's daughter was Nikki, and she popped out already swaddled in a diaper, clean, and smiling! (If only births were that easy for everyone.)

About a year later, the Happy Family line came out with Midge's parents (older-looking, but still attractive) and Midge became pregnant again. This time, owners could name the baby, and it was a surprise as to what sex the baby would be.

Unconcerned with public opinion, Midge can be pregnant whenever the owner wishes.
Unconcerned with public opinion, Midge can be pregnant whenever the owner wishes. | Source

Pregnancy happens.

Deal with it.

Personally, I have nothing against "Pregnant Midge," except that with the belly she requires different clothes (that I'm not willing to buy). I imagine she could wear Alan's clothes, but that would probably spark even more controversy.

To me, the real issue here is not the detachable belly or even the strange little baby inside. Those are laughable. It's that Midge and Alan somehow got together without the proper body parts to "make" a baby. If this is supposed to be a learning toy to introduce pregnancy to little girls, then at least take Alan's shorts off! (Mattel's male dolls have always worn permanent swimsuits.)

As I look at her, Midge appears self-satisfied and complacent, smugly eyeing me as I inspect her full, metallic belly. "Ha!" she smirks prettily. "I have a baby and you don't!"

The one thing I do love about this Midge is the nonchalance with which she greeted all the hoopla. "So you want to pull me from shelves?" she seems to say, with her blue eyes and turned-up nose, gesturing toward her snap-on stomach. "You can try, but little girls will love me even more..."

Without the belly, she is just a standard flat-bellied Barbie with painted-on panties, cast in the 1997 body mold.
Without the belly, she is just a standard flat-bellied Barbie with painted-on panties, cast in the 1997 body mold. | Source

What do you think?

Was a pregnant doll too controversial for 2002?

See results

Own the infamous doll!

The Happy Family Midge doll may have gotten yanked from shelves years ago, but you can still find them if you really want to own one.

If you're lucky enough to find the African-American set, snatch it up! (It's more rarely seen than the Caucasian version.)

Sources

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2002-12-24-pregnant-doll_x.htm : USATODAY.com - Customers complain, pregnant doll pulled from Wal-Mart.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • samanthamjordan profile image

        samanthamjordan 

        3 years ago

        I remember when the Happy Family line came out, and quite frankly, at the time I did not see what all the fuss was about nor did I know it was "controversial." I was eight years old at the time and did not want anything to do with motherhood. I never cared for baby dolls either. The only dolls I played with were Barbies and American Girls, which represented girls my age and teenagers. Now that I am older, I collect dolls that are from my childhood, as well as being considered controversial. I have come to realize how sought-after this character is.. and wished I had gotten a copy while it was still a reasonable price. Oh well.

      • profile image

        princesse 

        4 years ago

        I Can not imagine That a toy could give birth

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi, Rebecca! Oh yes, Midge certainly caused a ruckus with her babies. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 

        6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Wow! How interesting. I never knew there was a Madge baby. How cut!

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Oh I LOVE your Barbie stories! I'm hysterical laughing at the thought of you two cashing in Midge for makeup and candy. Very entrepreneurial of you! :-)

      • Shanna11 profile image

        Shanna 

        6 years ago from Utah

        Haha, I was just 9 when this barbie came out-- I remember my friend got her, but I had a history of mutilating my barbies, so my mom refused to spend any more money on them. I was obsessed with the whole mom-baby thing with toys, so I spent hours at my friends house as we made Midge (who we still called Barbie) give birth over and over and over again.

        And then they pulled her from the shelves and suddenly she was a hot-ticket collector item and my friend and I had gotten quite bored with Midge and her endless birthing process, so we had our parents sell Midge and baby and divided the cash on peppermint patties and costume makeup.

        Good times.... Haha, awesome hubs! I seriously love your barbie hubs-- they bring back such good memories!

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Haha! Thanks, Brainy Bunny! Nope, not Hobo Ken. That's the original Ken, looking sexually nonthreatening. (I don't have very many clothes for him so I went with the closest thing I had to a suit, stained and disreputable-looking as it was.)

        It is very funny about the diaper. That makes me laugh every time!

      • Brainy Bunny profile image

        Brainy Bunny 

        6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

        What is that, Hobo Ken in that top photo? The hideous stains and lack of shirt are pretty disturbing. But I love preggers Midge. My favorite part is that the baby already has its diaper on inside her tummy!

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, Prasetio! I appreciate the comments.

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 

        6 years ago from malang-indonesia

        This was nice information about barbie. This is the first time for me to know about the barbie pregnant. They looks so cute and beautiful, especially the babies inside. Thanks for writing and share with us. Good job and rated up!

        Prasetio

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi, lightmotifs! Midge's bio was probably very difficult to complete. Ha!

      • lightmotifs profile image

        lightmotifs 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        I vaguely remember an unremarkable bulge on my Ken. No memory of any "Allan" or "Alan." My Midge had to go on Match.com, har.

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hmm. I will have to see if I can scrounge him up.

        In one of my research texts, they did go back and forth quite a bit between the men and women of production debating how pronounced any bulges should be. Too little and it looked strange; too big and his pants wouldn't fit!

      • profile image

        Edenza 

        6 years ago

        My Malibu Ken had some definition, not a built in swimsuit or underpants. That could be am essay in & of itself.

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Easiest. Birth. EVER!

        Hey, flashmakeit, great to see you and thanks for commenting!

      • flashmakeit profile image

        flashmakeit 

        6 years ago from usa

        I never thought anyone would make a pregnant doll. The baby was born with a diaper on, unreal.

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, Alissa! Thanks for stopping by.

        Yes, it really was a scandal, and still remains. When I first saw it in stores I thought it was pretty silly, but hey, I wasn't an eight year old girl! Anyway, my opinion has not changed. :-)

      • alissaroberts profile image

        Alissa Roberts 

        6 years ago from Normandy, TN

        Oh such a Barbie scandal! Darn Midge and her easy peasy pregnancy ;) This hub was very entertaining - I love all your Barbie knowledge! Great job - voted up, awesome and interesting!

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Always nice to see you and thank you so much for your kind words and votes, ishwaryaa22! With such am interesting subject, it's difficult got me to not get carried away writing. :-)

      • ishwaryaa22 profile image

        Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

        6 years ago from Chennai, India

        Oh my! I am very much surprised on learning about the pregnant Barbie doll(Midge)in this engaging hub! This is beyond my imagination! You have an intelligent way of writing these amazing hubs on one of the most popular dolls in the world. Well-done.

        Thanks for SHARING. Interesting. Voted up.

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