Naked Barbies, Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visible Gender

Naked Barbies, Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visible Gender

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qIn this folkloric examination of mass-produced material culture in the United States, Jeannie Banks Thomas examines the gendered sculptural forms that are among the most visible, including Barbie, Ken, and G.I. Joe dolls; yard figures (gnomes, geese, and flamingos); and cemetery statuary (angels, sports-related images, figures of the Virgin Mary, soldiers, and politicians). Images of females are often emphasized or sexualized, frequently through nudity or partial nudity, whereas those of the male body are not only clothed but also armored in the trappings of action and aggression. Thomas locates these various objects of folk art within a discussion of the post-women's movement discourse on gender.In addition to the items themselves, Thomas explores the stories and behaviors they generate, including legends of the supernatural about cemetery statues, oral narratives of yard artists and accounts of pranks involving yard art, narratives about children's play with Barbie, Ken, and G.I. Joe, and the electronic folklore (or qqe-loreqq) about Barbie that circulates on the Internet.qHe played the usual war games with the G.I.Joes in which the Barbie and Ken dolls were aquot;Godzilla-like creaturesaquot; that wanted to destroy the city ... In these instances, he said he would give up, and his brother would make him cry by not telling him where they were until two or three days later. He would also conduct fashion shows with his Barbie and Ken, and his G.I. Joes would be the critics of the outfits.

Title:Naked Barbies, Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visible Gender
Author:Jeannie B. Thomas
Publisher:University of Illinois Press - 2003


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