10. Fashion Dolls and Feminism

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Barbie?

  1. Jessica Wolfendale2 and
  2. Jeanette Kennett3
  1. Louise Collins

Published Online: 31 AUG 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444345568.ch10

Fashion - Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style

Fashion - Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style

How to Cite

Collins, L. (2011) Fashion Dolls and Feminism, in Fashion - Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style (eds J. Wolfendale and J. Kennett), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444345568.ch10

Editor Information

  1. 2

    West Virginia University, USA

  2. 3

    Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Author Information

  1. Indiana University South Bend, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 AUG 2011
  2. Published Print: 2 SEP 2011

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405199902

Online ISBN: 9781444345568



  • fashion dolls and feminism - and solving a problem like Barbie;
  • Barbie doll, launch in the USA in 1959 - plastic personification, distinctive style of western femininity;
  • Mattel Corporation, marketing variations of it - doll's face, anatomy and accessories, as play prompts;
  • Barbie, forever a thin, blonde teenage fashion model - paradigmatic Barbie play, dressing the doll in newly purchased outfits;
  • talk about paradigmatic play - not meant, to describe how all children play with a particular toy;
  • original tableau, of four Barbies - on a curved staircase, in new outfits;
  • Kant's discussion of deception - any deception, undermining autonomy;
  • fashion, if enslaving, then it may be that - some fashions, being more enslaving than others;
  • projective perception of fashion - hiding extrinsic conditions, constituting it as fashionable;
  • perception of what is in fashion - special “authority of affect”


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • What Is Paradigmatic Barbie Doll Play?

  • Barbie's Influence in Cultural Context

  • What Should Feminists Make of Barbie?

  • Reinventing Barbie Play