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The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 8, 2006

Written by C.N.

Asian Barbie Dolls

The holidays are obviously over now, but in my regular reading of AngryAsianMan, I came across these two “collector” Barbie dolls: Geisha Barbie and Chinese New Year Barbie.

Geisha BarbieChinese New Year Barbie

You can make up your own mind about whether or not this is a good thing. For me, it’s a little complicated because on several occasions, I’ve read how many Asian American cultural critics have lamented that there is no Asian American Barbie dolls for Asian American girls to play with as a reflection of their themselves. Now that they have Asian Barbies, we should feel satisfied, right?

Not necessarily, because you will notice that these Barbie dolls are based on Asian culture, not Asian American culture. As I keep telling my students, being Asian and being Asian American are not the same thing. On a certain level, it’s nice that the all-American Barbie line of dolls now includes those from other countries and cultures. But the vast majority of children who will be playing with these dolls do not live in Asia — they live in the U.S.

Therefore, in my mind, until there are Asian American Barbie dolls, the criticism will still continue.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Asian Barbie Dolls" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/01/asian-barbie-dolls/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=188