Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll (Paperback)

Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll By M.G. Lord Cover Image
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Barbie is a strong, independent doll. But is she a feminist icon? It’s complicated.

Since her introduction in 1959, Barbie’s impact has been revolutionary. Far from being a toy designed by men to oppress women, she was a toy invented by women to teach women what was expected of them, for better or for worse. Whether tarred-and-glittered as antifeminist puffery or celebrated as a feminist icon (or, at any rate, an important cultural touchstone in understanding feminism) Barbie has undeniably influenced generations of girls.

In Forever Barbie, cultural critic, investigative journalist, and first-generation Barbie owner M. G. Lord uncovers the surprising story behind Barbie’s smash success. Revealing her low origins as “Bild Lilli,” a risqué doll for adults sold as a gag gift in postwar Germany, Forever Barbie traces Barbie’s development and transformation, through countless makeovers and career changes, into an international pop culture icon and now “traditional toy.” Though not every doll in the line has been a hit—with pregnant Midge and Growing up Skipper among the more intriguing disasters—Barbie’s endurance, Lord writes, speaks as much to Mattel’s successful marketing as it does to our society’s overall ambivalence toward femininity.

With new accessories, including a preface on the latest developments in the Barbieverse, Forever Barbie “will make you think of America’s most celebrated plastic doll in ways you never have before” (Susan Faludi).

About the Author

M. G. Lord is the author of The Accidental Feminist and Astro Turf. An associate professor of the practice of English at the University of Southern California, Lord cohosts the podcast LA Made: The Barbie Tapes with Antonia Cereijido. For twelve years, she was a political cartoonist for Newsday. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Praise For…

This thorough consideration of the Barbie world is as relevant now as it was 30 years ago.
— Library Journal - Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781324095071
ISBN-10: 1324095075
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English