the all-american girl

So, you have all the attributes of conspicuous consumption and idealized femininity that is degrading to women. Barbie dolls essentially peddled on the identical marketing template as McDonald’s – I’m Loving it- and Coca Cola- Within an arm’s reach of desire- the worst aspects of objectified secular culture, that of advertising and fashion, the reinforcing of male patriarchy, the deepening and widening of artificially created gender differences and establishing the basis of a racist identification process.

---Street Couch recently interviewed Mariel about these photographs. When she was asked why she did this to Barbie, her response was, “Because I hate Barbie. You can’t get to be Barbie without an ocean’s worth of peroxide, 27 plastic surgeries and a complete lack of intelligence, so it irritates me immensely that this is the toy of choice women give to their daughters to emulate.” I agree, but dang girl, a Barbie psychopath? And what about all the anger it seems she has towards men? Mariel says she’s not angry at all, she just thinks it’s funny. Well, I think it’s funny too.--- Read More:

Yet, if we de-idealize the approach to female representation, the results may even be more misogynist. When Picasso broke with figurative representation, at least almost entirely, this broke, with cubism, the dam bringing the concept of woman and death, lust, desire and disillusion to new realms where idealization was collapsed into mechanistic monsters. The male castration complex. Willem de Kooning is another misogynist who could hide under the coded language of abstract expressionism. And is Barbie any different than say Andy Warhol art and most of the pop culture syndrome from which it gave birth, though its a coin flip as to whether Barbie is corrupted romanticism, the idealization of desire, or corrupted pop-art. After all, Warhol saw art as a business, an industry and Barbie is pretty much a ready-made for all varieties of rage and hysterical fear.

---Looking to simultaneously spoil your children and teach them sociopathic tendencies all in one overpriced toy? This limited-edition Mattel foosball table has impaled Barbie dolls as players and is sold for $25,000 at FAO Schwartz. Only 10 of them exist, presumably to keep the serial killer population from getting unmanageable. --- Read More:

The fear of woman, the ghost in Picasso’s machine, made him distort women into the grotesque and dangerous.  Even if Picasso portrayed woman as the object of tender love,- notice she remained an object- instead of simply sex object, the vision is still pathological in nature based on fear and represented by distortion and pursued by all the emotions lust can muster. Where a barbie Doll is kitsch the Picasso view is also through a deconstruction and banalizing perhaps even more dangerous in its overtones.  The women in Picasso’s Les Demoiselles are all whores, and the male, including ourselves as voyeurs are making decisions, much as in Manet’s Olympia.  The women in  Les Demoiselles are insane and monstrous  apparently  an allegorical symbol of sexual disease, which for centuries caused madness and death. So, is the toy Barbie more sexually benign than than a Picasso version?

---Levenson:Barbie dolls have been widely derided by feminists since they first appeared 50 years ago, accused of objectifying women and portraying an unrealistic view of the female form. And yet, given how many personas manufacturers Mattel have given Barbie over the years, would it be possible to make a "feminist Barbie"? If so, what she would wear? Hold the dungaree and body hair jokes. For just as women come in all shapes and sizes – despite Barbie's improbable vital statistics – feminists come in all different outfits too. Barbie has outfits for dancing and outfits for watching TV, outfits for the boardroom and outfits for cleaning the loo, and perhaps it is wrong to consider making a specifically feminist Barbie because feminism is not about one single look, identity or set of rules, and all of these outfits could potentially be feminist Barbie. Read More: image:



I hate the Barbie industry. I loathe the fact that its creators and manufacturers are so proud of the doll that even more ludicrous versions will soon be on the shelf to coincide with its 50th anniversary. I am sick to my stomach that Barbie is modelled on a German “porn doll” called Lillie, who was in turn based on a comic strip character marketed to lecherous men. But, most of all I deplore the fact that these daft dolls are seen as so harmless and cute that even my feminist mother bought one for me when I was growing up in the 1960s….

---In very sharp contrast, Picasso, intent of making a name for himself (rather like the young Manet and David), has radically compressed the space of his canvas and replaced sensual eroticism with a kind of aggressively crude pornography (note, for example, the squatting figure at the lower right). His space is interior, closed, and almost claustrophobic. Like Matisse’s later Blue Nude (itself a response to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon), the women fill the entire space and seem trapped within it. No longer set in a classical past, Picasso’s image is clearly of our time. Here are five prostitutes from an actual brothel, located on a street named Avignon in the red-light district in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in northern Spain—a street, by the way, which Picasso had frequented. --- Read More:

…Yes, reader, I played with Barbie. Not only that but I used to sit at a Barbie dressing table, brushing Barbie’s hair with a Barbie brush and dressing her in assorted Barbie outfits. My mother tells me my favourite wa

e air hostess Barbie, and that I declared I wanted to be a trolley dolly when I grew up.

How grossly inappropriate that Barbie is aimed at the primary school age bracket, and is so popular that the Barbie brand has pulled in more money than the doll’s doppelganger, Madonna. The comic character that Barbie is based on is described as a “gold digging prostitute”, and when the toy first came on the market it was an early symbol of an emerging sex industry – now out of control – in which women are called “doll” and “dolly”. The phrase “Barbie and Ken” (Ken being Barbie’s boyfriend) is often used as shorthand for men and women who behave as per their prescribed, polarised gender roles, and it is no wonder. While Barbie looks like a drag queen with a shoe fetish, Ken resembles Uncle Bryn in Gavin and Stacey. There are many different Barbies, and they often represent negative stereotypes. There is the French maid Barbie, and the Black Canary Barbie – in full black leather and fishnet hooker chic. Then there is the Barbie who simpers in a wedding dress, and, of course, a nurse Barbie outfit for toddlers. Barbie as Medusa tops the list off nicely….

---"Falling in love" is generally recognized as being a common state of mind, and, in spite of Freud’s diagnostic label, is not considered abnormal. Its opposite, "falling in hate" is not so widely acknowledged. Yet I believe it to be about as common, and a great deal more dangerous. -- Anthony Storr, Human Destructiveness--- Read More:

…There is even a syndrome named after the doll. Someone afflicted with “Barbie syndrome” strives for an unrealistic body type. If Barbie was life-size, she’d measure 36-18-33, stand 5ft 9in and weigh 7st 12lb – 35lbs underweight for a woman that height. A group of scholars once worked out that the likelihood of having Barbie’s body shape is one in 100,000….

…Then again, maybe girls themselves are the answer. The academic Agnes Nairn has carried out research into how brands are perceived by seven- to 11-year-old schoolchildren, and found that many of the girls see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity – and think nothing of pulling off her limbs and putting her in the microwave. No other toy provoked such a negative response. “Barbies are obviously viewed as disposable. That is why they are destroyed and thrown away,” says Nairn. Long may the trend continue – until Barbie is wiped off the face of the earth. Read More:

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