Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

Thursday, February 20, 2003 – 7:30 pm
USA, 1998. Director: Susan Stern

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 in an increasingly mass-produced world. 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 had the idea that ‘Barbie’ would help pubescent girls come to terms with developing breasts. 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.
Colour, video, 53 mins.

The program will include:

A post-screening discussion with:
Karen Dias MA(cand), DipC, RPC.
Ms. Dias is a counsellor in private practice in Vancouver specializing is disordered eating and body image disturbances. Ms. Dias will lead a discussion on the role of sociocultural influences on body image, including whether toys such as Barbie Dolls contribute to impossible body norms. Introduction by Raine Mckay, Executive Director, ANAD.

Evening moderated by:
Dr. Harry Karlinsky
Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

This evening is co-sponsored by Awareness & Networking Around Disordered Eating (ANAD)