I think the fact that grown women are buying Barbies for themselves (even if they pretend they're actually for the kids) says a lot.
You know how they did a re-release of some previously popular Barbies recently? My mother went and purchased a 60s one because in the 60s, she had one (it had silver go-go boots or some such thing). Hers was ginger, rather than blonde, but she just HAD to buy it. At first I thought she'd got it for DD... but nope. It just stays in its box in her bedroom. For her to relish the memory of a doll she loved as a little girl.
I even feel a bit precious about DD using my old Barbies. She doesn't seem to treat them with the same level of care I did... and it makes me feel funny when she plays with them in case she ruins them.