Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: The Good, the Bad and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone

Her full name is Barbra Millicent Roberts. She's had over 100 careers from astronaut to zoo keeper. She's had the same boyfriend for over 50 years, and she's still considered to be a teenage model. She originally went to high school in Willows Wisconsin, but was later relocated to New York. She's a model, but not always a role model. Love her or hate her, you know her as Barbie.

Ruth Handler, the inventor of Barbie, wanted a doll for her daughter to play with. She noticed that her daughter and her friends did not want to always play with the baby dolls that were available. Also, the paper dolls that they favored were flimsy, but they were closer to the doll that Ruth envisioned. She wanted a doll that the girls could use to help shape their teen years. She wanted them to be able to pretend, and act out stories and learn how to be teenagers with a doll that was rateable. A few years later Barbie, the teen-aged fashion model was born.

Who would have known that one little doll could have such a range of influence. In The Good, the Bad and the Barbie, author Tanya Lee Stone looks at just that, the good and the bad that comes with Barbie. Chapters in the book cover controversies that Barbie has caused, including lawsuits and the negative body image that she is thought to portray. Barbie's history is also explored, from her humble beginnings, to her multi-cultural expansion to her many careers. Barbie has also been an influence to others, and the book is peppered with quotes from members of pro- and anti- Barbie camps.

Highly recommended for anyone who ever played with, owned or wanted to own a Barbie. Whether you loved her or disliked her Barbie is a part of most American girls, and some boys, lives. Whether you love her or not, Barbie is a cultural icon and this book looks at Barbie from all angles.

I'll see you @ the library!
Katie (Promising a more boy-friendly non-fiction read next.)