Barbie as Icon of Femininity

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Texts. Mary F. Rogers,

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Barbie as Icon of Femininity

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1. Barbie as Icon of Femininity

2. Texts Mary F. Rogers, “Hetero Barbie?” (1999) Lynn Spigel, “Barbies without Ken: Femininity, Feminism, and the Art-Culture System” (2001) Ann Ducille, “Dyes and Dolls: Multicultural Barbie and the Merchandising of Difference” (1994) Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour (1998)

3. Questions Does it makes sense to condemn Barbie as a negative role model who embodies… subordinate femininity? compulsory heterosexuality? white, blonde, Aryan culture? corporate dominance? How else might we regard her?

4. Rogers, “Hetero Barbie” In no uncertain terms Barbie demonstrates that femininity is a manufactured reality. It entails a lot of artifice, a lot of clothes, a lot of props such as cuddly poodles and shopping bags, and a lot of effort, however satisfying at times. If Barbie can join drag queens as an exemplar of the constructed character of femininity, she can also be an icon of nonheterosexual femininity. (95)

5. RuPaul, “RuBarbie,” and Drag

6. Spigel, “Barbies without Ken” Barbie, fan culture, and reception analysis [Barbie] continues to be attacked as the embodiment of America’s willfull socialization of rigid gender, racial, and nationalist hierarchies. Yet her critics have also uncovered ample evidence that Barbie has generated a more playful attitude among her many publics. (314)

7. Spigel on Erica Rand, Barbie’s Queer Accessories Remaining critical of Mattell, while nevertheless attempting to explore women’s experiences with popular culture in nondismissive terms, Rand represents current strains within feminist approaches to mass culture that preserve a negative critique of culture industries even while they attempt to understand the possible utopian (and, for some, “resistant”) pleasures that women and girls find in these products. (314)

8. Aspects of Spigel’s analysis Barbie from the perspective of fan culture Barbie Bazaar Barbie’s many publics Barbie as craft (postmodern implications, 340) Collectors represent themselves not simply as consumers of mass culture but as cultural producers who collectively make their own artifacts and create their own stories. (320) Mattell and Barbie’s creation myth (323) Mattell’s engagement with fan culture

9. Barbie Activism Barbie Liberation Organization THE BLO -- BARBIE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION -- STRIKES By BRIGITTE GREENBERG Associated Press Writer SAN DIEGO (AP) When 7-year-old Zachariah Zelin ripped off the Christmas wrapping, he squealed with delight. Santa brought the talking G.I. Joe doll he wanted. Problem was, Joe talked like Barbie. His doll stands at the ready in its Army fatigues, machine gun and hand grenades at its side. But it says things like, "Want to go shopping?" The BLO has claimed responsibility. That's Barbie Liberation Organization. Made up of more than 50 concerned parents, feminists and other activists, the BLO claims to have surreptitiously switched the voice boxes on 300 G.I. Joe and Barbie dolls across the United States this holiday season. "We have operatives all over the country," said one BLO member, who wished to remain anonymous. "Our goal is to reveal and correct the problem of gender- based stereotyping in children's toys." Among the messages the tampered G.I. Joe utters are, "I love school. Don't you?" and "Let's sing with the band tonight." In a deep voice, the altered Barbie says, among other things, "Dead men tell no lies."

10. Ducille, “Dyes and Dolls” (1994) As suggested by my title, I am going to use the figure of multicultural Barbie to talk about the commodification of race and gender difference. More than simple instruments of pleasure and amusement, toys and games play crucial roles in helping children determine what is valuable in and around them. Dolls in particular invite children to replicate them, to imagine themselves in their dolls’ images. What does it mean, then, when little girls are given dolls to play with that in no way resemble them? (p. 2 of 15) Spigel references “Barbie’s historical status as an icon of white, blonde, Aryan culture” whom “many people have attacked as … as a racist symbol.” (330) How does this relate to Ducille’s argument? Spigel references “Barbie’s historical status as an icon of white, blonde, Aryan culture” whom “many people have attacked as … as a racist symbol.” (330) How does this relate to Ducille’s argument?

11. “Dream in their own image?” Regardless of what color dyes the dolls are dipped in or what costumes they are adorned with, the image they present in the same mythically thin, long-legged, luxuriously-haried, buxom beauty, And while Mattell and other toy manufacturers may claim to have the best interests of ethnic audiences in mind in peddling their integrated wares, one does not have to be a cynic to suggest that profit remains the motivating factor behind this merchandising of difference. (p. 4 of 15)

12. I regard Barbie and similar dolls as Louis Althusser might have regarded them: as objects that do the dirty work of patriarchy and capitalism in the most insidious way – in the guise of child’s play. (4 of 15) For me these dolls are at once a symbol and a symptom of what multiculturalism has become at the hands of contemporary commodity culture: an easy and immensely profitable way off the hook of Eurocentrism that gives us the face of cultural diversity without the particulars of cultural difference. (5 of 15)

13. Barbie Wedding Doll Commercial Wedding Doll Commercial

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