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Barbie, Books and Other Oddments

January 28, 2016

barbie-cover-finalBarbie has been redesigned, and the process made the cover of TIME. From the idea that something needed to change to reclaim Barbie’s sinking market share vs Disney/Elsa, to focus groups and efforts to promote diversity, to a redesign that includes 3 additional Barbie bodies: curvy, tall, and petite, with clothes styled for each. Big news from a marketing, parenting, social commentary standpoint.

The entire article is worth a read and clicking around subfeatures: Scenes from the focus group, Barbie’s controversies, great essay by Jill Filipovic. That said, beware clicking on the “Behind the Scenes at Mattel: See How Barbie is Created,” photoset. Disembodied doll heads. Brr! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Reception of the new doll sizes so far has been mixed, at least in the focus groups including kids. Will be interested to see how this plays out. Personal note: Yes I had a small handful of Barbie dolls growing up. But Mom didn’t let me own any until I was basically almost too old to be interested. So, mostly a spectator/social anthropologist on this one, rather than any emotional investment or nostalgia.

And I’m serious about the doll heads.

Speaking of uncanny things, I have, at last, seen the first episode of the rebooted X-Files. Just the first episode, so no spoilers, darling. Still forming my thoughts on it: somewhere between great to have the band back together, nostalgia, and all sorts of chewy thoughts about government/information management, construction of threat, feminist critique of science fiction. I blame grad school. Based on first episode, Mulder appears to have spent intervening years cultivating stubble and watching porn (it’s canon!) while Scully has grown more magnificent, wielding surgical scalpel and raised eyebrow with equal precision.

Government/alien conspiracies are less terrifying than doll heads.

29jpblooks6-blog427Speaking of… things I have read and though t about today (ugh, need to work on that transition): Faux books or items made in the shape of books, including reliquaries, flask holders, hollow books.

Sensing an unexplored territory, Ms. Dubansky set out to map the contours of the world of fake books, eventually amassing about 600 made from stone, wax, straw, wood, soap, plastic, glass and other materials.

I acknowledge that I am a great big librarian nerd for wanting to know how these would be cataloged, and/or what the metadata would look like. I also want to go look at the exhibit currently on view at the Grolier Club.

But if any of the hollow books contain anything even slightly resembling a doll head, I’m outta there.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 29, 2016 6:35 am

    Barbies redesigned!?! Next they’ll mess with M&M’s–wait, they’ve done that. My childhood is being reprogrammed.

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