Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie



The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact On Us
By Tanya Lee Stone
Viking, 2010.
130 pages. Nonfiction.

Tanya Lee Stone's The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact On Us is a fantastic look into the life and times of Barbie. Stone discusses the business savvy of Barbie's inventor, Ruth Handler, and the epic rise of Mattel. Handler created Barbie to fill a void in children's toys. She noticed that her daughter Barbara (the inspiration behind the name "Barbie") had only two options: to play mother to her plastic baby dolls, or to play with her paper dolls until they were ratty. Handler was inspired to create a middle ground between plastic baby dolls and paper fashion dolls. Thus, Barbie was born.

This book contains photographs of Barbie throughout the years, as well as quotes from children, professors, celebrities, designers, and authors. The most interesting facet about this book is that it doesn't take a definitive stance on Barbie: good or bad? She is, and always has been, a divisive doll, and this is reflected in Stone's book. She thoroughly examines whether Barbie is a harm to the feminist movement, or a boost for girls' hopes and dreams. The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact On Us features history's most beautiful and controversial toy- what's not to love?

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