Is Barbie a "destructive force" or a "good role model for girls"?
But first you may want to read The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie.
This entertaining new book for teens by Tanya Lee Stone (Almost Astronauts) serves as not only a cultural biography of the slim-waisted, busty American doll but also an introduction to the confident businesswoman Ruth Handler, a Mattel founder and Barbie's creator.
Whether describing the late Mrs. Handler's childhood or what others think of Barbie's many incarnations over the toy's 51 years (Nascar driver, Presidential candidate, Fashion Queen, etc.), a strong sense of girl-power runs through the book. Stone writes,
"It is easy to jump on the bandwagon and say that Barbie must be sold as a pilot and not only a stewardess, or a surgeon and not only a nurse, but it's also important to remember that the word only can be just as limiting to girls. If a nurse is what you want to be, then a nurse you should be! It is Choice—with a capital C—that women have fought to have. It doesn't matter what the choice turns out to be, as long as it is your own."