The Anthropometry of the Barbie Doll
Social Construction of the Racialized Body and Sexual Preference
Cultural Meanings of Barbie
Barbie dolls are very complex figures that offer complex and contradictory
This article (The Anthropometry of the Barbie Doll) asks: how has Barbie
survived and thrived through history from 1959 to modern day?
Has the meaning of the doll shifted?
*This article is exploring Barbie as a “meaning system”—looking a broad context that
created the Barbie and sustained her popularity
Barbie was a product of the Cold War
Based on the German prototype, the “Lilli doll”
Barbie’s mold was designed by Jack Ryan, who also designed missiles
Hence the “torpedolike” breasts of Barbie
Marketed as the first “teenage doll”
Relevant in the postwar emergence of a “teenage style”
Transitioning from War Economy ▯Domestic Consumption
Needed to maintain demand
Focused on women in the consumer market
Rise of “girl culture”—you don’t just get one Barbie, you
also can (and must) get everything she wants to consume
(cars, dogs, planes, houses, motorcycles, etc.)
Promotes traditional gender rolls and the binary (Barbie/GI Joe)
*Even though Barbie’s work and family roles change, her measurements never do!
Meaning can be appropriated, relocated into different cultural con