Barbie can grow breasts

Late last night my dear partner (you remember, the city planner?) asked if I remembered the doll called something like Betsy Busty – the doll whose arm you twisted and her breasts grew. I admit, I jeered at him. But since we have a fast Internet connection, he was able to prove his point before I had even gotten a good laugh up and running. I give you: Growing Up Skipper and Growing Up Ginger.
You can kind of see the instructions on the Ginger box, but here’s the easier-to-read version: twist Skipper’s or Ginger’s left arm, and her breasts grow larger and she gets taller (her waist lengthens). Apparently there was some controversy at the time (1975), but Skipper still went into production. Then later came Ginger.

I am, I admit, rather stunned by the outrageousness of this. The body image issues. The inappropriate puberty expectations. The bizarre plastic torso. I could go on.

Did you have a Growing Up Skipper/Ginger doll when you were a child? If you didn’t, you probably did have some toy that you would never buy your child – as times change, so do our perception of the appropriateness of toys. So what toy(s) did you have that would be considered inappropriate by today’s standards, either for safety or body image or some other reason?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. The “growing up Ginger” link made me laugh until I fell out of my chair.

  2. Twisting an arm became code for coworkers who went away for the weekend and came back enhanced.

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