I've never really tried to analyze the influence of Barbie on my self-perceptions and notions of body image. I do think society bombards women with unattainable images that are destructive.
I only recently began thinking about issues of gendered toys when helping a friend buy Christmas gifts for his six neices and nephews. There is one little girl who is incredibly timid and shy, though clearly precocious, who my friend says reminds him of how he imagines I would have been at that age.
Well, the girl's mom said she loves to play kitchen, use her toy vacuum, play dress up and anything Strawberry Shortcake. My friend is a very liberal and sensitive guy and he really didn't want to buy anything that was "girlie". I found myself in the toy store admiring the Strawberry Shortcake items and Hello Kitty-- I began to wonder how I would handle all these issues when I have children someday. . .