Emily Prager – “Our Barbies, Ourselves” Questions on Meaning
- Why does Prager say that “suddenly a lot of things made sense” when she discovered that Barbie was designed by a man? Is she referring here only to Barbie’s looks?
- Are we supposed to believe the claims Prager makes in paragraph 4? What is the point she is trying to make?
- What is Prager’s definition of a feminist in this essay? Where do you find this definition?
- 4What is Prager’s thesis?
Questions on Writing Strategy
Setting Analysis of the Story a Rose for Emily
- What elements of Barbie does Prager’s analysis identify? What new picture of the doll does Prager arrive at as a result?
- Prager refers to four famous women by name. What does each reference suggest? What is the effect of her using these famous names?
- Prager poses several rhetorical questions, such as “Could this account for the popularity of breast implant surgery? ” (3), “Or is Barbie the dream date of weapons designers? ” (5), and “Why…was Barbie designed with such obvious sexual equipment and Ken not? ” (7). What is the purpose of these rhetorical questions?
- In her last paragraph Prager compares and contrasts the ways the toy company depicted the sexuality of Barbie and Ken. What are the differences? What ideas of cause and effect emerge from the comparison?
Questions on Language
1. Prager notes that Barbie is a product of a time when “small breasts were king” (5). What is the significance of the word king in this context?
2. Why does Prager call Barbie ‘masculine’ in paragraph 5? Does this description contradict Prager’s view of Barbie as an unattainable and inappropriate feminine ideal?
3. Prager describes dolls’ boyfriends before Barbie’s Ken as “figments with large portfolios and three-piece suits and presidential aspirations” (6). What are the connotations of this description? Brief Journal Response While growing up did you play with Barbie or another type of doll- for instance, baby dolls, action figures like GI Joe, figures based on cartoon or movie characters? In your journal, describe your relationship with such toys, or explain why you never played with them.
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Our Barbies, Ourselves Summary Essay
465 Words2 Pages
Our Barbies, Ourselves Summary
In an article in Interview Magazine, Emily Prager discuses her opinions of Mattel's toy doll Barbie being designed by Jack Ryan, husband to Zsa Zsa Gabor, and designer of military missiles. The concept that a doll for young girls was designed by such a person greatly shocked Prager." Suddenly a lot of things made sense to me" says Prager. The element that Ryan designed Barbie may explain some of the key aspects of the doll itself.
Although Barbie was created as a toy for girls, the sexual nature of the doll suggests it was created for the pleasure of men and envy of women. Prager compares the figure of Barbie to the kind of women who would be seen in the Playboy mansion or be a frequent guest on…show more content…
Millions of women have gone along with this fantasy and have been entranced by the unrealistic standards of appearance and false qualities of life. Sadly, more and more women have accepted these standards as their own and have even resorted to changing who they are to become what they believe to be real. This may be a major contributing factor to the rise of women seeking breast implants and or plastic surgery. Yet there could be a further explanation and meaning behind Barbie.
During the time of development and release of Barbie, the feminist movement was in full swing. The concept that Barbie may have been manufactured as a weapon against these feminist groups is plausible as the image of Barbie exploits the female body and challenges the values held by active feminists. Though, from a slightly different perspective, one could argue that Barbie with her freedoms and luxuries supports the ideals of women's equality and rights. Barbie may have been the transition piece of the decade, setting a new path for women and young girls.
Dolls before Barbie were designed incorporating the ideals of a mans era and the conformity of a women's role in the world. Barbie may have set the stage for the 1960's generation by exposing the youth to verity and free choice. Yet there is another matter in which Barbie may flawed.
Barbie's male counterpart Ken seems to lack