I’m Sorry

“You are feminist moron…” one email read. The next cheerful message read, “You’re a woman hater…” Another message said, “Why don’t you take a new Barbie doll, remove it from the box, and wedge it in your…”

I won’t finish the previous sentence because this is a family column. I will, however, say that Matel would not be thrilled about what the author suggested.

These messages were in response to a column I recently wrote about seeing the movie “Barbie.” At the time I wrote the column, I had no idea mentioning one movie would stir up such consternation.

So I would like to apologize.

I also want to say that I am actually a Barbie doll fan. Not a huge fan, mind you. But Barbie dolls have been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

As a boy, my sister played with Barbie dolls. My mother had an old collection of vintage Barbies from her own childhood. Flight Attendant Barbie (1961), Career Graduate Barbie (1962), Astronaut Barbie (1965).

So there were lots of Barbies in our house. And we neighborhood boys were very curious about these dolls. Which is why we boys performed all sorts of experiments with our sisters’ Barbies.

You must understand, of course, that we were guys. Guys are naturally curious. We boys, for example, learned that the limbs of Olympic Skier Barbie (1975) do not bend unless they are first prepared in an oven preheated to “broil.”

We also discovered that Aerobics Instructor Barbie (1984) hair is highly flammable. My cousin Ed Lee also stumbled on the amazing possibilities of combining Barbie dolls with over-the-counter bottle rockets.

My sister even had Shaving Ken; you could actually shave Ken’s five o’clock shadow with a sponge-tipped razor. Although Shaving Ken was not true to life. At least not in my experience, inasmuch as men in my family had hair on their backs, not just their faces.

Whereas Ken had no hair on his back. Neither did Ken have hair on other bodily regions famous for sprouting hair. Such as armpits, legs, ears, eyebrows, nose, etc.

So my cousin and I corrected Matel’s slight design oversight by supergluing hair salvaged from our own heads to Ken’s little armpits, chest, and buttocks. My sister did not care for our anatomical enhancements, and this is how I fractured my right ulnar.

But anyway, yesterday I was at the supermarket when angry responses to my column started rolling in. There I was, pushing a buggy when my phone started dinging.

“Hey, idiot…” one message began, “why would you spread cultural sewage by writing about that movie?”

Another message called me a “[cussword] who plays with dolls.” Which is totally untrue. I also play with matches.

So I feel badly about what I’ve written. I am man enough to admit that I made a grand mistake.

I also want to state, in print, that I am not a political writer. I have no interest in discussing politics. Not in this column. Not anywhere. Not ever. I hope you, the reader, will respect this.

So I am sorry. If you were offended by my column, I hope you can forgive my faux pas. And if my sister is reading this, I hope she will forgive what my cousin and I once did to her Malibu Barbie (1977).

Although in our defense, girls have body hair, too.


  1. Emily - August 21, 2023 7:13 am

    I’m sorry, Sean I don’t quite understand what the apology is for. There wasn’t anything offensive in your previous article…. there wasn’t anything political either. If folks want to be that sensitive about a movie about a plastic doll come to life then I guess they don’t have enough to do with their time. From an honest and personal point of view I never related to barbie as a young girl….I would’ve rather caught crawdads or tromp around somewhere where I would probably end up with poison ivy. Maybe, and this is only my opinion, the offended people should go outside and get a breath of air. There is no reason to sit behind a keyboard to scream at someone who is just making observations. Stagnant and stale thinking that causes such anger about something that in the grand scheme of life doesn’t matter is all the more reason to let go of our devices and take a breath of air or two. We are all connected in this odd thing called life and our daily struggle to keep on with it. So why not be nicer.

  2. Melika - August 21, 2023 11:29 am

    Sean, I’m sure sorry you feel you have to apologize for your thoughts and opinions about the Barbie movie. Everyone has their own opinion about something, but there’s no right or wrong involved. For you to apologize says your opinion was wrong while all the people criticizing you was then right. But there’s no right or wrong! Just because a person doesn’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You write from the heart and please don’t stop just to please others. You can never ever please everyone all the time.

  3. Timothy Wood - August 21, 2023 11:49 am

    Freedom of speech, man!!

  4. John - August 21, 2023 11:58 am

    Nothing to be sorry for. The only ‘faux pas’ you committed was daring to say you didn’t like the movie. That there was such a childishly visceral reaction to that simple statement speaks to the state of other people’s hearts, not your intent. There was no apology needed.

  5. Maggie K - August 21, 2023 1:32 pm

    And I am sorry you even have to apologize about writing your personal experience. Seeing a movie, no less. All bc a vocal minority of the population felt the need to politicize a movie. Please don’t stop doing you AND NEVER apologize for being you or loving your life. Honestly, I’d hoped this post would be more like, “I’m sorry those of you who are triggered by Barbie were raised to be such sensitive titty babies.” But I understand why you took the high road. You’re a bigger man that every one of those yahoos who can’t stomach the color pink.

  6. Lynn - August 21, 2023 2:45 pm

    Oh, well played, Young Man. Well played, indeed. If you can’t report your honest, personal experience and reaction without getting attacked, then show folks what you’ve really thought of Barbie all your life. Again I say, well played. caveat : I write with honest admiration for your adroit skill.

  7. Dee Thompson - August 21, 2023 6:00 pm

    You have nothing to apologize for. Your column was funny. Expressing an opinion that goes against the majority really gets some folks’ dander up. It’s a sad sign of the times. I’ve experienced the same thing. I said on Facebook that I hated reading To Kill A Mockingbird in high school and I was accused of being a racist. I won’t apologize for my opinion. Our Founding Fathers wanted this country to be a place where we could express opinions others didn’t like and not get punished for it. On behalf of my ancestors who fled France rather than be tortured or killed for their political or religious opinions, I applaud you for always telling the truth in your column, despite the condemnation of idiots who cannot disagree respectfully…

  8. Cathy Moss - August 21, 2023 8:49 pm

    Much fuss abt. nothing. I mean, you have got to be kidding.! What all that is going on in our upside down world, who cares abt. Barbie and the movie. Who would be offended by your comments? We have bigger fish to fry and I feel sorry for anyone who made a negative comment abt. Your column. Get a life people and go out out and do something good to help someone in need. God help us all


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