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PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 150: Barbie!

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As has so often happened with PopStuff, Holly’s a lot more into Barbie than I am. After hearing Stuff You Should Know’s episode on Barbie, we thought we should talk more about the culture of these dolls and whether there’s any truth to the idea that Barbie is causing body image problems.

  • Peaches and Cream and Kissing Barbies, and Skipper
  • Earring Magic Ken
  • Ruth Handler and the invention of Barbie
  • Aspirational play in girls
  • Studies on body image and Barbie: largely opinion and conjecture, unfortunately
  • Some real studies that talked to children about their perceptions of Barbie
  • “Torture play” with Barbies
  • The inhuman bodies of Barbie and GI Joe, and some reasons for them
  • Career Barbies and the outfits that come in the box, and other points on Barbie and careers
  • Trends in gender and playing with Barbies
  • Some of the problems with Barbies of various ethnicities
  • Our verdict: You can’t really pin all the world’s gender and body image issues on Barbie.
  • Listener mail! On our Parenthood Wars episode from Justyna
  • Who invented the Barbie doll and why?
  • Episode link: Barbie

Tracy’s research:

  • Brownell, Kelly D. “Distorting Reality for Children: Body Size Proportions of Barbie and Ken Dolls.” International Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol. 18, No. 3, 295-298 (1995).
  • Cox, Don Richard. “Barbie and Her Playmates.” Journal of Popular Culture. Vol. 11, Issue 2. 1977.
  • Ducille, Ann. “Dyes and Dolls: Multicultural Barbie and the Merchandising of Difference.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. 1994.
  • Hall, Karen J. “A Soldier’s Body: GI Joe, Hasbro’s Great American Hero, and the Symptoms of Empire.” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2004.
  • Kuther, Tara and Erin McDonald. “Early Adolescents’ Experiences With, and Views Of, Barbie.” Adolescence. Vol. 39, No. 153, Spring 2004.
  • Macdougall, J. Paige. “Transnational Commodities as Local Cultural Icons: Barbie Dolls in Mexico.” Journal of Popular Culture. Vol. 37, No. 2. 2003.
  • Van der Hoort, Bjorn et al. “Being Barbie: The Size of One’s Own Body Determines the Perceived Size of the World.” PLoS One. March 2, 2011.

Holly’s research:

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