Barbie: Independent Woman or Damaging American Icon?

analytical Essay
2457 words
2457 words

Barbie: Independent Woman or Damaging American Icon? She's the classic American beauty, the woman we all dreamed of being at one point in our lives. She has long, tanned legs, cascades of blonde curls and has such perky breasts that she doesn't even need a bra. Although this character does not need air to breathe and is made of plastic, she has been one of America's most potent icons for more than 40 years and has affected girls in ways even human models aren't capable of. With 250 million Barbies in existence in the United States alone, there are more Barbies than there are people in the United States (Green 339). Barbie is adored by 8-year-old girls, collected by baby-boomer moms, and despised by feminists. No one can deny Barbie's unmistakable popularity. I myself am still the owner of 10-12 well-worn Barbie dolls. They are the outcome of much begging and pleading with my parents and their many unsuccessful attempts at getting me to stop sucking my thumb. Barbie was fascinating to me because she was a woman, not a baby like my other dolls. My sister and I spent hours creating complex "grown-up" scenarios with Barbie and her counterparts. Although I have fond memories of those afternoons of make-believe, I am now a more consciences adult aware of Barbie's shortcomings as such a powerful cultural icon. Although some people would call Barbie a feminist due to her multiple careers and her independent, fun-loving personality, I now see that Barbie’s unrealistic body size, her association with consumerism, and her potent sexuality make her a negative and harmful American icon. Barbie was conceived in 1959 by Ruth Handler (Green, A. 1/2). While on vacation in Germany, Ruth found a novelty d... ... middle of paper ... ...rth Island Journal 11:4 (1996). Academic Search Elite. Palni SiteSearch. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Mar. 2001. Matheny, Krista. "Many Women Believe Barbie Damages Society." Murray State News U-Wire 18 Feb. 2000. McConnell, Tandy, ed. American Decades: 1990-1999. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2001. Prager, Emily. "Our Barbies, Ourselves." Signs of Life in the U.S.A.: Readings on Popular Culture For Writers. 3rd Ed. Maasik, Sonia and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford, 2000. 706-709. Robertson, Virginia. "Special Report on Reaching Girls: What Barbie Says About Girls." Aug. 1997. Kidscreen: About Reaching Children Through Entertainment "The Culture of Beauty." Diabetes Forcast Jul 1995. Academic Search Elite. Palni SiteSearch. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Mar. 2001.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that barbie is a positive and harmful american icon, with 250 million dolls in existence in the united states alone.
  • Cites best, joel, borger, gloria, and cross, gary. the barbie chronicles: a living doll turns forty.
  • Describes the barbie chronicles: a living doll turns forty, by yona zeldis mcdonough and john kehoe.
  • Analyzes how ledbetter, james, and matheny, krista, believe barbie damages society.
  • Cites prager, emily, and robertson, virginia. "special report on reaching girls: what barbie says about girls."
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