ABSTRACT

So runs the introduction to Mondo Barbie: An Anthology of Fiction and Poetry edited by Richard Peabody and Lucinda Ebersole. In their introduc­ tion they situate for feminist scholars who have already begun to interrogate and revision popular culture texts associated with women the most prob­ lematic cultural icon of girlhood-Barbie. Linda Hutcheon in The Politics of Postmodernism observes, “The postmodern is seemingly not so much a concept as a problematic: ‘a complex of heterogeneous but interrelated questions which will not be silenced by any spuriously unitary answer5 (Burgin 1986, 1989, 163-64)55 (1989, 15). The “spuriously unitary answer55 that has almost universally accompanied Barbie since her birth 35 years ago,

from adults, particularly women, and almost assuredly from feminists has been a flat rejection of Barbie and everything she appears to stand for: beauty, the male gaze, body, fashion, femininity, materialism, big business, and mass marketing. In this paper, we enter into this discourse and argue that Barbie exists as a perfect cultural site for interrogating the margins, bor­ ders, and contradictions of our lives as girls and women.1