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Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

by Susan Stern

Everybody has a Barbie story. The stories are about us.

The new Barbie Nation: Collectors' Edition DVD is now available. Four brand-new extra features explore how Barbie Nation stars Nora & Claire survived playing Barbie as children and what Bratz dolls and Muslim Barbie have done to Mattel's profit margins. There are more Weird Barbies, and a film on Fandom - the world of Barbie collectors. The Barbie Nation Collectors' Edition is closed captioned. Barbie Nation is in the collections of more than 1,000 colleges, universities and libraries. The Collectors' Edition has nine additional short films on Barbie -- including Black Barbie, about African-American dolls. The Barbie doll is not just the world's most popular toy, she's a Rorschach test, revealing attitudes about sexuality, body image, gender roles and creativity. Journeying from Barbie conventions to anti-Barbie demonstrations, from girls' play dates to Barbie web pages, Barbie Nation plumbs the cult of the Barbie doll, telling the Barbie stories of men, women and children. At the center of Barbie Nation is the story of Barbie creator and Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler. Handler's ironic rise and fall brings Barbie Nation to a climax that is about the creation of femininity and the marketing -- and subversion -- of femininity's icon.

quoteThe students loved it. They talked about it for a long time. They even checked it out of the library to share with their friends.
Carla Offenburger, Buena Vista University

quoteA witty, smart and often surprising film. What we thought we knew about Barbie is very different now that Susan Stern has situated her solidly in the history of women as entrepreneurs as well as consumers. This is definitely a film I will show to my next class.
Linda K. Kerber, Professor of History
University of Iowa

quoteA penetrating analysis of the Barbie image as a cultural icon and sexual dowsing rod. It reveals a surprising number of facets and layers of social gender attitudes and behaviors.
Film/Tape World

quoteA valuable resource for women's studies programs, sex discrimination classes or libraries.
Stephanie M. Wildman, Professor
University of San Francisco School of Law

quoteShrewdly, and with humor, Barbie Nation explores how American pop culture becomes globally shared.
Steven C. Dubin, Director
Media, Society and the Arts Program, Purchase College SUNY

More Reviews


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  • London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Singapore International Film Festival
  • New Zealand Film Festival
  • Milan-Bologna Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Golden Spire, San Francisco International Film Festival
  • Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network
  • PBS National Broadcast, P.O.V.
  • Television Broadcasts: France, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Israel, Slovenia, Norway, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Finland, S

Visit the official website for Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

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Appropriate for: College/University

Special Features:

DVD EXTRAS: Black Barbie - A short about African-American Barbie; The Handlers at Home - Ruth talks about women's issues; Barbie on the Street - Intimate Barbie stories from the streets; Weird Barbies I & II - Uncensored satirists' dolls; Director's Update Interview, and more! The Collectors' Edition is closed captioned.

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