Barbie Culture

The fantasy and reality behind today’s most prevalent cultural icon.

This paper provides an explanation of the history behind the development of the Barbie doll. It discusses how, from the beginning, the doll was controversial and how it has been ever since. This paper argues that the Barbie culture is harmful not only to young women and girls, but also to young men. It states that women are not Barbie dolls, nor should they be.
The year: 1991. The occasion: My eighth birthday. My house was full of giggling third grade girls, and the pile of gifts was looming high near the cake. My parents eyed the mountain warily, knowing full well what the majority of the rectangular 13-inch boxes contained. They were inevitable gifts at that age. In fact, they were expected gifts at that age. I tore into them one by one, the bright bubble gum pink flooding my senses, as Barbie reared her perfectly coiffed head. For a female child in America, or a female child, period, Barbie is an unavoidable influence on development, both physically and mentally. I was to become a statistic by the year 1996, it was reported that 99 percent of girls between ages eight and ten had at least one Barbie, while the average girl had eight (Rogers 13). Though the Barbie doll was created with good intentions, and though proponents today continue to fight for her rights, today Barbie does more harm than good for her followers.