By Becky

Barbie Dolls

The Barbie doll is a perfect representation of the kind of Popular Culture that I was exposed to as a child.  Growing up, every girl had Barbie dolls and every girl wanted to be Barbie.  Even more than just a play doll, Barbie represented the ideal life.  She lived in a dream house, drove dream cars and had a dream boyfriend.  Not only did Barbie live the lifestyle that a young girl fantasizes about, she also had the body of a supermodel.  From her long legs to her tiny waist and curvy chest, Barbie was the ultimate package.  If you were a girl between the ages of 4 and 12 and you didn’t have a Barbie collection than you weren’t playing with the rest of us.

Barbie is a good representation of popular culture when I was a child and she still represents popular culture to this day.  All my friends had Barbie collections, I had a Barbie collection, my daycare and babysitters had Barbie collections.  Looking back I do not remember a time when playing Barbie was not a significant part of my day.  Now days, Barbie’s have diversified from African Americans to wheelchair Barbie’s.  Mattel Incorporated, primarily located in El Segundo, California, is the producer and distributer of the Barbie Brand.  Barbie now makes movies, television shows, Magazines, and there are many different types of products in many different countries.  Barbie is well known in the United States as well as many other countries around the world. 

            I like the Barbie Brand; I think that at the base of everything they are simply dolls.  The one thing I can say about them though is the image they give our children and specifically our girls.  Nobody is blessed with a Barbie kind of life, and I think Barbie disillusions young females.  In some ways, Barbie sells sex to young girls who have not gotten the chance to experience the reality of being a woman.  Personally, I remember thinking I was weird or unlucky because I did not develop the same type of body that I had always been shown was expected. 

Popular Culture is always selling us something, whether we are aware of it or not.  At a young age we start playing with Barbie’s and Bratz Dolls, young boys start playing with toy soldiers and toy guns.  These are very influential ages and I think that toy companies are a substantial representation of how Popular Culture works not only for us who are old enough to see the advertisements but also for those who cannot decipher for themselves what is real and what is not.  Teaching us from a young age that cars, money, mansions, vacation homes, cute boyfriends and being popular is the key to having the perfect Barbie kind of life.  When I got to thinking about how much the Barbie image has affected myself and many of the children that I am in contact with, I started noticing the sub conscious kind of messaging that companies put out there.  Should Barbie be pulled off the shelves and seize to manufacture? No, but children need to be reminded on a daily bases what it is to be real in this Barbie world. 



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