The book begins with the creation of the Mattel company, and some biographical information about its founder, Ruth Handler. It then goes into the material on how Barbie has influenced materialism, body-image, multiculturalism, nudity, and even art. A clever aspect of the book is how Stone interspersed quotes from average and famous people as they reflected on Barbie's influence on their own lives. It also had many photos, both color and black./white, to show us the evolution of the doll. The funniest chapter included descriptions of the things people did to Barbie after they outgrew playing with their dolls. Many people found ways to torture her, including the person who took the Marie Antoinette Barbie and cut off her head, even adding ketchup as fake blood (p. 88).
Margaux Lange, an artist who makes wearable art with a Barbie theme:
...admits that she spent a childhood obsessed with Barbie and her miniature world. Her pursuit helped her explore a 'love-hate relationship: fond childhood memories balanced against adult discomfort with the doll as a problematic role model' (p. 99).Lange's quote really gets to the crux of the book. Adults are uncomfortable with Barbie, as if she is a real person, and children view her as a toy; a doll with which they want to play. Since I'm a Barbie fan I was a bit taken aback by all the Barbie-bashing in the book. But as the author, who admits to not liking Barbie as a child, said about herself and Barbie:
...that how ever many people there were out in the world who knew me, there would be that many different perspectives of who I am. We all impose our own ideas and perceptions on the world, and Barbie may just be the ultimate scapegoat (p.109).Whether you love Barbie or hate her, this book is a gem. Plus, at only 109 pages, it is an easy, fast read. I recommend that you take a look at the book. And, while you are thinking about it, let me know some of your Barbie memories. I'd love to hear from you.
|My personal Barbie collection. The Barbie in pink skirt/blouse is my original doll.|