"The positioning from the very first commercial was that she was a person. We never mentioned that she was a doll"

Censored (Mattel's legal action)

American Heroes
The Facts of $arbie
Why Distort?
Alternative $arbies
the Closet
$arbie on the Web
see also: potatoland,   napier homepage

"Barbie" is a trademark of Mattel Inc.

This is about the sacred cows of western culture. The golden idols. Not symbols of religous power, they are symbols of buying power, profit and revenue streams. These are secular idols known in the corporate world simply as "cash cows".

One such cow is called "Barbie".

Idols of identity. Symbols representing the values and traditions of a consumeristic society. Inscribed with the knowledge and the survivial skills of past generations. Rosetta stones that silently teaches a way of living, storing accumulated beliefs for future generations.

Humans are story tellers. By the flickering light of campfires and candles people have told stories of history, stories of success, stories of battles, survival, and death. This is the thread that binds generations and furthers the knowledge of cultures.

These are fictions, yet they are as real as the air we breathe. Societies live and die by beliefs. A different way of seeing, of thinking, of believing can create a whole new tradition and culture. Rome did not concede to the Christians based on their weapons or the power of their army. It was the Christian beliefs that created a new empire.

Pick any icon. Barbie is a perfect subject for an inquiry into symbols. She is nearly ubiquitous, crosses international and religous borders. She is available to children and so is a part of their education and growth, and she is a product of the contemporary commercial image making industry, in some ways the same industry that produced the images of Ronald Regan, Kate Moss, Nintendo and the Persian Gulf War.

What stories does this icon tell?