The Barbie doll represents many things in American society, but at the end of the day she is just a doll. While Barbie is a strong positive figure, she was created to be a doll, not a social icon. Barbie is basically a three-dimensional portrait, supposedly an accurate representation of an average, modern, American woman. Of course the perceptions of "average", "modern", and "American" have all changed over the years since Barbie's conceived in 1959. The doll's image has evolved, too, both in an effort to keep up with the times, and in response to much scrutiny by the women she is supposed to represent. While some people view Barbie as a negative figure that presents an impossible body image to women, she can also be viewed as an empowering figure used to show young girls today that they could be anything they want to be by working at being any job that they desire.
The new Barbie dolls reflect the trend of diversification. Barbie is represented today in forty-five different nationalities; she has many different hair, eye and skin colors so that children can see themselves in the doll. Barbie's image raises issue of identification and diversity that is so fundamental in America today. "In 1980, Mattel introduced the first Black Barbie and the first Hispanic Barbie. Both dolls have modified skin tones, hair colors and facial features." 1
Now there are dolls created in most all images. For example, "In 1997 Barbie's friend Share a Smile Becky was the first doll introduced in a wheelchair."1 To dress these "new and improved" dolls, close to one billion fashions have been made for Barbie. She also has countless accessories ranging from homes to hair care. Barbie has everything a real girl could imagine.
The only area of...