ha! aka, mattel does india

After writing the last post about young girls of color and which dolls they prefer, I was bothered by the fact that I couldn’t remember what the Indian Barbie doll I had when I was little looked like (maybe when I get home once the semester is done, I’ll look through all the closets in the house for it…).  So I did some research on Mattel’s history of releasing South Asia-related Barbie dolls, and found these two:

India Barbie – released in 1982, as a Special Edition, part of the ‘Dolls of the World – Asia’ line

India Barbie

India Barbie 2nd Edition, released in 1996, as part of the Collector Edition for the same ‘Dolls of the World’ line:

India Barbie 2nd Edition

Is it just me, or is Continue reading

keisha castle-hughes is now a mother! & more on teen pregnancy

There was a post over at the main blog about Keisha Castle-Hughes’ now being a mother!  I talked briefly about the issue in a previous post in which I wondered what ramifications this would have on ‘girl power’ and young girls who look up to either Castle-Hughes or her character in Whale Rider.

keisha castle-hughes, mother, actress

The post on the main blog brings up how teen pregnancy is usually brought up in the media, though–as a ‘problem’ in poor Black & Latino communities.  So far I haven’t addressed race on this blog, and I think this is a grey issue that relates to some of the other themes of cultural studies.  Obviously, we don’t want babies to be born into the world unwanted.  So why not celebrate pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood?  However, there’s also the fact that a lot of these babies are born into poverty, and that possibly if the parents had received the same opportunities that people in wealthier communities receive–namely, access to the same standard of education and being put on the track to college–they wouldn’t have had the babies.  It’s that question again–can you really be empowered when your options are limited by society?  In the case of the ‘problem’ of teen pregnancy, it definitely seems good that people try to create their own narratives within the system by celebrating pregnancy and making it something worthwhile, even if it’s just for lack of a better option.

The case of Keisha Castle-Hughes, though, is a strange one.  Continue reading

dumbing down movies for tweens

There was an article in the NY Times recently about the lack of female executives behind the scenes in studios, and it prompted an interesting discussion over at the main blog about how the movies that are greenlighted are the ones that make the most money.  As a result, a lot of movies end up being ‘dumbed down’ or ‘cleaned up’ to a certain degree such that they’re rated PG-13, so that tweens (a large market, presumably the ones with the most buying power in the modern U.S. economy, as I talked about in an earlier post) are able to see them on the weekends.  This makes a lot of sense; I’m sure lots of people have heard of the phrase ‘kiss of death’ used to refer to an X rating for a movie.

It must be true that the tween demographic makes up a significant portion of moviegoers if studios cater to them so much, but I have to wonder if Continue reading

Dakota Fanning, and the limits of art?

fanning

 There was a post over at the main blog about a controversial scene in the upcoming movie Hounddog, starring Dakota Fanning.  Fanning is thirteen years old, and in the movie, plays a twelve-year-old Elvis fan in the 1950’s Deep South who does a seductive dance to get tickets to an Elvis concert, but is raped by the boy providing the tickets as her friend Buddy watches.  The director is adamant that no nudity or violence is shown, only implied.  The question is, does that make it okay then? Continue reading

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Robyn pointed me toward the following Disney Channel video, filled with Disney Channel teen stars:

The song is a remix of a song from Cinderella in which Cinderella tells her animal friends to never stop dreaming–which is a recurring theme not only in Cinderella, but in many other Disney movies, especially ones geared toward young girls.  This makes me wonder about the wider cultural effects of such messages.  Isn’t it basically telling young girls Continue reading

tweens and consumerism

I found this 2005 article from BusinessWeek that not only said a lot of interesting things about companies marketing toward tweens, but also reflected a lot of interesting dilemmas in our society that are related to some of the theory we’ve read in class.  To start off with, the article talks about how though tweens have a lot of purchasing power, it is only because they’re permitted to have it by their parents that this is so.  This makes me wonder, does this reflect Continue reading