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By Mary F. Rogers

This e-book makes use of the most well known add-ons of adolescence, the Barbie doll, to give an explanation for key elements of cultural meaning.

Some readings could see Barbie as reproducing ethnicity and gender in a very coarse and harmful means - a cultural icon of racism and sexism. Rogers develops a broader, tougher photograph. She exhibits 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 id isn't simple. equally her category state of affairs is ambiguous. yet all interpretations agree that, along with her huge, immense variety of way of life `accessories', Barbie exists to devour. Her physique is the ideal metaphor of recent occasions: plastic, st

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Instead, we see a mid­ life woman proving that the odds can be beaten, the standards can be fulfilled, youthful beauty need not wane as we move through our middle years. Thus, a lot of us may say that Barbie has little effect on how we see ourselves and other women, yet a lot of us behave as if her image is desirable and even attain­ able with the right mix of motivation and money. A lot of us may also say, as we have seen, that cultural icons like Barbie are fairly innocuous when pitted against real-life women who are reed thin, flawlessly turned out, and perpetually youthful (at least on magazine covers and MTV).

Although they have now outgrown . . Barbie and her friends, they will not part with her. A lot of people describe similar experiences. Kiana, a Marsden student, says, "I used to go over to my cousin's house. " So did Michelle, also a Marsden student: "I used to talk to Barbie. I used to dress her up. " Like Hal and his daughters, Brenda (another Marsden student) recalls Barbie's friends alongside all else in her miniature world: When I was younger, I used to play with Barbie dolls. I would do their hair and dress them.

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. In that vein they were scarcely alone in their cultural conservatism. Writing in a scholarly journal in 1977, Don Richard Cox wondered whether Barbie might influence young girls to pass up the duties of marriage and motherhood.

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