July 24th, 2024

Barbie party celebrates female friendships


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on January 31, 2024.

Herald photos by Justin Seward Melanie Molnar gets a Barbie-themed sparkly dice flash tattoo from artist Ally Lewis at Intuition Tattoo during the Build Your Own Barbie party.

A downstown gift shop in Lethbridge held a unique event on the weekend to celebrate friendship and fun.

Taylor Swanby, owner of UgliStuffs, hosted a Build Your Own Barbie party as a way to celebrate being a girl.

“That’s pretty much what it’s about,” said Swanby, “just having a fun day and not worrying about anything else. Just stupid fun, that’s what we do here.” A big part of the day was celebration of girl friendships and growing up, with a bit of Barbie nostalgia thrown in, she said.

“That’s pretty much what it’s about, just having a fun day and not worrying about anything else. Just stupid fun, that’s what we do here.”

Attendees had the opportunity  to build a Barbie, look at and perhaps purchase Barbie-themed merchandise, take a picture in the Barbie booth and walk next door and get a Barbie flash tattoo from Intuition Tattoo.

“I know a lot of us, when we were younger, we couldn’t find Barbies that look like us,” said Swanby.

“Now they have curvy Barbies and they have different skin colours and races. So I think now people that didn’t get to experience that before get to do that now. It’s really important because here we do a lot about inclusivity.”

Swanby said she was excited about the positive messages the new Barbie movie makes.

“It was about feminism, and women relationships and being a girl today,” said Swanby.

Building a Barbie brought participant Karleen Burns back to her childhood.

“And letting me do things that I wasn’t allowed to do as a child,” Burns said.

“Really exploring different things, cutting my Barbie’s hair or cutting the clothes up, things that I always wanted to do, but thought that I might get in trouble for doing or just didn’t have the resources to do. So it’s been really healing to come back and get to experience that as an adult.”

Burns added it’s becoming more acceptable to be a girl and it’s okay to express that.

“I think that’s really important to do things like this to get in touch with that,” said Burns.

Her sentiments were echoed by participant Holly Kletke.

“It’s very important to maintain a sense of feminism and pride for being a woman, and being inclusive and everything that Barbie stands for,” said Kletke.

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