When Barbie Became Muslim

Growing up in Mexico City in the 90’s meant for me that I grew up in a completely different context from my parents. Since my parent’s generation did not have the luxury of foreign products, due to the economic restrictions on international goods, my parents grew up with yellow pencils made in Mexico and traditional ceramic and fabric dolls with braids and ribbons. Later, the economic shift towards neoliberal models and NAFTA brought along McDonald’s, Walmart and, of course, Barbie!By the … [Read more...]

FundaMattel: Sub-Satrapi Bollocks Masquerading as Art

Burqa, burqa, burqa. Will we ever reach the stage where there is nothing more to say on the subject? Sometimes I think we've covered every angle of critique, but then there comes yet idiocy to be challenged. Worse still, this is idiocy in the name of art. Witness artist Rachel Joy's latest work.Here we go:“FundaMattel: If Barbie Wore A Burqua explores fundamentalism (in its many guises), materialism and constructions of femininity. Mattel is the home of Barbie, an extremist r … [Read more...]

Drastic Plastic: emel Focuses on Women and Body Image

Very seldom does Muslim media produce quality critical analysis of issues facing Muslim women. But emel magazine published a series of articles doing just that to tie in with International Women's Day, They are, thankfully, not the run-of-the-mill articles about "why hijab" or "how to be the perfect (insert womanly role here)" that a lot of Muslim media is awash with these days.This issue of emel focuses on body image, and in the introduction, Sarah Joseph, a revert to Islam, discusses her … [Read more...]

Ted Talks About Women’s Bodies at Cultural Battlegrounds

TED Talks are short lectures of no longer than 18 minutes, delivered on a variety of subjects by numerous speakers.Sherin El Feki introduces her lecture as being about pop culture in the Arab world. She then states she's brought along an old friend and holds up a naked Barbie doll. Then she holds up a Fulla doll and introduces it as the Arab world's answer to Barbie. The Fulla doll is dressed in a black abaya and hijab, presumably for maximum contrast. … [Read more...]

The Burqa Barbie Brouhaha

A recent decision to auction a “Burqa Barbie” for a Save the Children fundraising campaign (“to educate children in conflict areas around the world”) has been making its rounds online this past week.  Of the 500 different Barbies designed by Eliana Lorena, it was only natural for the culturally inappropriate (Islamic!) “Burqa Barbie” to be singled out as a cause for uproar.  (I was interested in seeing what the other 499 Barbies looked like, as I find cultural dress from around the world fascinat … [Read more...]

It’s Barbie’s World

This post was written by Farah Banihali and originally appeared at AltMuslimah and Nuseiba.Last month Melbourne was host to “Forever Barbie” – an exhibition which “celebrates 50 years of a pop culture icon.” I’ve had my fair share of Barbie dolls when I was younger, but an exhibition? Since when did Barbie become an appropriate "cultural" artifact to celebrate?The critiques against Barbie are well known: she is a commodity that has come to define femininity and symbolize and perpetuate Weste … [Read more...]