Barbie - The Icon, the Image, the Ideal: An Analytical Interpretation of the Barbie Doll in Popular Culture
This thesis is a cultural analysis of: a) women's idealized perception of the Barbie doll, & b) the construction of the Barbie doll image through marketing. In addition, both areas will provide a concentrated emphasis on "respectability." The analysis will be focused on Barbie's creation in 1959, & on the current practices of representations in 1999. The thesis is divided into two phases. Phase one illustrates the interpretation of how women perceive Barbie, & how they see themselves in her likeness. It further explores the determined impression of the doll as "respectable." Phase two examines the way that Barbie is presented in the market & the techniques used to formulate the intended representations of the doll. The analysis of the thesis focuses solely on her introduction in 1959, & on her current distinction. The Barbie doll is an iconic image. The symbol of the "feminine ideal" which has caused women to perceive & recognize this figure in a personal light. Further, her existence in the marketplace creates a continual awareness in women to identify & evolve with this object as she captures the culture. It is critical to examine the conception & portrayal of an icon such as the Barbie doll. As a predominant feature in American culture & society, she is a fictitious character that many have contrived into a reality. She is a name that strikes instant familiarity, & she is a name that evokes controversy, emulation, & success. This thesis achieves a comprehensive look into her importance to women, & the ways in which her corporate creators make her accessible to fulfill this need. Therefore, this thesis accurately makes a connection between the marketing of the Barbie doll, & the building of an icon.
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