Personally, I thought the Genderbent short film the Barbie Liberation Organization was pretty ingenious. What was particularly interesting to me was the reactions the parents and news anchors had to the voice swapping barbies with the GI Joe’s, contrasted with the reactions of the kids. The parents and news anchors reacted strongly against the genderbent barbies, declaring it a “terrorist act against children,” highlighting the inherent importance they placed in their children’s toy reinforcing acceptable gender norms. Contrastingly, a few different clips of the kids revealed they didn’t mind the voice swap. A young child stated liking the GI Joe more with the barbie voice, adding that it is based more solidly in humor and less in violence. To me, this speaks to the open-mindedness of children, their inherent ability to accept something more easily than their close minded parents.

Another aspect of this video that I particularly enjoyed was the fact that the barbies themselves were conducting the “operations,” taking matters into their own hands. I liked the fact that the GI Joe’s were not only passive in this particular operation, but also accepting of their new identities. It is important to push socially constructed boundaries such as the male/female gender binary, and I think this movement was a step in the right direction to widen the definition of male and female roles, which is especially important when educating the next generation.

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One response »

  1. tylercohentyco says:

    I really like all of your thoughts on the BLO. It was a truly ingenious project and I am disappointed that the general (adult) public did not receive it as positively. People should have been thrilled. I hope when our generation is all grown up, there will be a different response to comparable projects, which I hope continue to happen. It’s sad that the company that makes barbies did not respond to the BLO. It was probably a savvy move by their marketing team to not have to address the misrepresentation of gender that they do, but it is also an opportunity (like the 20 year anniversary of the Bhopal disaster that the Yes Men took advantage of for Dow chemical) for the company to admit how they may have harmed children and announce the release of new, less fucked up dolls.

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