Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, & Debbie Harry Barbie Dolls!

Mattel is featuring three dolls in their “Ladies of the 80s” Babrie collection. Three rockers are having their likeness adopted into doll form including Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Harry (Blondie). You can buy them now and I must say, they are right on as for likeness! I wish I would have had these growing up!

Yet, I am not sure how to feel about this one. I think that it is awesome to have dolls inspired by these amazing and talented women. And I grew up with tons of Barbie dolls as a kid, and didn’t grow up to be a push over. So, it is a good idea, but maybe include with the doll a CD or two of the women’s music, and maybe the idea of picking up an instrument and playing something, or writing something themselves that speaks to them. I am always for some sort of self-directed activity that gets these girls not to live through someone else (or a doll for that matter) but find inspiration, and apply it to themselves and their own unique ideas. There is nothing wrong with dressing up, playing with dolls, and feeling fabulous!

Yet, you cannot ignore the fact that for the most part, Barbie dolls are a western, white, slender-body, upperclass ideal of beauty that most people do not fit. I may not have grown up to be a pushover, but some girls may always have body issues and insecurities that are in part due to these dolls. I know I am not completely secure in my own body and while I am not sure if this is in part due to the dolls, the dolls are a part of a larger social problem of women’s self-esteem and health related to being used and abused to sell things and be sold as things. It isn’t just the dolls, but the larger social and cultural messages that re-enforce your value as a person based on your looks. No matter what form that comes in, dolls, perfume ads, diet pills, it keeps women in their place worrying about what others think about them, rather than what they think, and should be doing about things like the wage gap or violence against women.

I wonder what Joan, Cyndi and Debbie think of these?


Oooh, and speaking of Barbie, check out Care Bears on Fire’s song “Barbie, Eat a Sandwich.”

These dolls also remind me of: Jem and the Holograms. These dolls were rock star women based on the TV show of the same name. I loved this show and still do! I even dressed up as Jem for Halloween! They played their own music, dressed in the coolest 80s outfits and saved the world! It’s my dream come true! Glam and Glitter, Fashion and Fame! It’s Truly Outrageous!


Posted on February 2, 2010, in Quick Riffs - News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hey! I’ve heard about your music through my former thesis adviser Mary Kearney, who also told me about your blog. Really interesting stuff here. I was also critical of the Ladies of the 80s collection in a post on my blog, so I thought I’d share some similar-minded feminist pop culture critic love.

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