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By Mary F. Rogers

This e-book makes use of probably the most renowned add-ons of youth, the Barbie doll, to provide an explanation for key features of cultural meaning.

Some readings could see Barbie as reproducing ethnicity and gender in a very coarse and destructive manner - a cultural icon of racism and sexism. Rogers develops a broader, tougher photo. She indicates how the cultural which means of Barbie is extra ambiguous than the slender, appearance-dominated version that's attributed to the doll. For a commence, Barbie's sexual identification isn't really simple. equally her classification state of affairs is ambiguous. yet all interpretations agree that, together with her huge, immense variety of way of life `accessories', Barbie exists to devour. Her physique is the proper metaphor of contemporary occasions: plastic, st

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Extra resources for Barbie Culture

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Barbie," it turns out, is her sixteen-year-old daughter Jannine. In her book on Barbie, Keiko Kimura Shibano describes how she "shivered with excitement" when she first bought a Barbie doll she had long wanted. " When people in their thirties, forties, and beyond report such involvement with Barbie, one can begin to imagine the keen influence she might have on many young girls. To be sure, it is unlikely that they will go to Cynthia Jackson's extremes. Jackson, famous as a Barbie look-alike, has undergone more than a dozen surgical procedures to mold herself into a real-life Barbie.

For now, let us note how her possessions reflect the pay scale for men, not women, and how her lifestyle bespeaks more male privilege than female subordination. At the same time Barbie's lifestyle bespeaks an unusual heterosexuality. Hetero Barbie? As they enter their teenage years, if not before, most hetero­ sexual females begin putting a boy or young man at the center of their lives. Moving through puberty toward adulthood, girls and young women find that their popularity at school, their feminine credibility, and much else hinge on their attractive­ ness to boys and their relationship with one particular boy.

Traveling to Disney World, they discovered that "For little girls meeting Barbie is the prepubescent equivalent of a papal audience. " Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane E. Levin (1990) report that parents often "get into the same kinds of arguments with their daughters about buying Barbie dolls and makeup that they have with their sons over action figures and toy weapons. " Martin Marty (1981) recalls how American Christians "blasted Barbie for hedonism and materialism" when she first carne on the market.

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