|"How do we get rid of Barbie?" Lana asks her 10-year-old daughter, "I'm afraid it's too late. She's already taken over the world," Caitlin replies (Rakow 18). The iconography of Barbie has permeated pop culture since her birth in 1959. Since her appearance on the toy market, the tall busty blond has been manufacturing and reconstructing ideals of beauty in America and all over the world. Today, a now middle-aged Barbie remains an icon of beauty, a symbol of glamour and an effervescent memory of childhood. Advertisers in the competitive world of women-oriented advertising utilize the immovability of Barbie's plastic body as a strategic marketing tool. A set of advertisements in Buying Barbie utilize elicit Barbie references in order to market a product or an ideology in contemporary culture. Such images ask female consumers to buy into the image of Barbie and buy the product that engenders all the ideals that Barbie represents. Being Barbie is a discussion of both the physicality of the image of Barbie and how her body is seen in comparison to actual female bodies in a visually mobile context.
Framing images of Barbie's body communicates to readers in unique ways, often emphasizing personal weight, size and body shape. Building Barbie is a look at peripheral images of Barbie and how the icon of the doll operates in a conversational sphere. Using inventive artwork, Photoshop parody and physical intervention, people who interact with Barbie's body are creating a discourse of doing and re-doing the image based on personal and cultural understandings of the icon. "Barbie," claims author of Forever Barbie, M.G. Lord "may be the most potent icon of American popular culture in the late twentieth century" (6). While 10-year-old American girls might view Barbie as a symbolic global take-over, the permeation of the image of Barbie knows no bounds. Barbie works to communicate with boys, girls, men and women and as long as her physical body is reproduced in toy manufacturing companies around the world, her image will remain constant and her icon will live forever.