girl playing with barbie

Barbie gets a lot of flack for her inhuman measurements, sometimes sexist career choices, and perplexing feminist (or anti-feminist) messages, but the truth is I still love her—and so do lots and lots of little girls, my daughter included. Despite her imperfect perfections, Barbie is just cool. She's fun to dress up and play with, and is sort of like an old friend. Do you agree with everything she does? Maybe not, but you still love her and think she's a good person who, if she could talk back, would be fun to hang out with.

Guess what? Soon she will talk back. This fall, Mattel will start selling Hello Barbie, an Internet-connected version with speech recognition technology that will let her respond to questions. Hello Barbie will be able to tell jokes and play games and, over time, learn about her owner, remembering details of what she's been told and bringing them up in later conversations. She won't just spout out pre-recorded messages; she will actually converse with you. How cool is that?

"Amazingly cool," says my eight-year-old daughter, who was mesmerized by the video from the New York Toy Fair showing what Hello Barbie can do (see below). "I want that."

You know what? Me, too!

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who loved launching Barbie out of the string-pull elevator in the Barbie Dream House she had as a kid. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Image via Shutterstock