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Barbie Girl

In a Barbie world

In the Barbie world

Is she in "a" Barbie world or "the" Barbie world?

Misheard lyrics could explain many Mass Memory Discrepancy Effects, including the line from the Barbie Girl song where she sings she is in "a/the" Barbie world.

Technical explanations for this include the slight pronunciation differences the band, Aqua, have being from Norway, autotune being used on the vocals and just a straightforward blurring of the words themselves - try repeating "in a" many times and you could be excused for saying "in the".

Misheard lyrics which could go either way when listened to today are completely different from totally changed lyrics, but still there are some who claim this is the case with our cute little doll friend.

Grown-up figure

Few people realise Barbie actually broke the tradition with dolls. Until then, they had always resembled babies or children, but the story is one day Ruth Handler noticed her daughter would often give the dolls she was playing with adult roles, so created the line with exactly that in mind.


The Barbie Girl song was written in 1997 by the four members of the Danish band Aqua after Soren Rasted saw an exhibit featuring Barbie dolls in Denmark. It was a number 1 hit in Europe for 3 weeks. It wasn't without problems, however, since it was not legally approved by Mattel, the owners of the copyright for the Barbie Doll range. The song never mentions the phrase "Barbie Doll". After a protracted series of court trials and appeals, Mattel lost the case. MCA Records, the defendant, persuaded the Court of Appeal to protect the song via classifying it as a parody under the copyright laws.

There's a clear connection with this Mandela Effect with some others which "blur" connecting words when either would be appropriate, in particular the well-known Interview with a/the Vampire one.