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The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie

9780670011872L The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie:
A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us
by Tanya Lee Stone
Viking, 2010
130 pages

Is Barbie a "destructive force" or a "good role model for girls"?

Neither? Both?


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."

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie has been nominated for a Cybil award in the middle grade/young adult nonfiction category.


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I want to read this one - I loved the concept when Tanya was working on it, and it got a bunch of us thinking about our Barbie experiences!

Tanita, I almost made this post a Tell Your Barbie Story, but then that wasn't exactly about the book! I got very frustrated with my own Barbie because her hair wouldn't grow back after I cut it...

This one just came onto my radar at NCTE. Looking forward to reading it!

It's a very balanced account, Mary Lee, and Stone got so many people to chime in with their opinions about Barbie.

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