The Barbie Closet
This is a sampling of some email I've received from visitors to The Distorted Barbie. Many of these quotes reveal the tortured souls of Barbie fetishists. Others are thoughtful reflections on the impact of Barbie in their lives. Some are just plain wierd. You decide which is which.
My favorite doll when I was a child wasn't a Barbie, but a smaller 6 inch doll. I loved her because she was different from all the ordinary Barbie dolls, but I could never find any other dolls the same size. Years later, after having a fight with my best friend, I had recurring dreams about this doll; I was in a toy store, and there was a whole shelf of dolls just the same size-- instant friends! I also set up my doll's house whenever my real life is in disorder.
The NYT piece listed an irreverent Barbie site which I looked at and found a delightful image of "Barbie On The Cross" -- undistorted but sacreligious all the same. Merry Xmas.
I'M SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE HULA HAIR BARBIE DOLL. THIS IS A RACIST RIP OFF OF MY CULTURE. I'M HAWAIIAN AND WE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE ACT LIKE THIS. WE DON'T HAVE NO STUPID HAWAIIAN HAIR! WE DON'T SHAKE OUR ASSES LIKE THAT.
HULA IS AN ART WE STUDY AND USED TO COMMUNICATE BEFORE HAWAIIANS KNEW HOW TO WRITE. I HOPE YOU AGREE WITH ME WHEN I SAY...
DOWN WITH BARBIE!!!!!
I think maybe you take Barbie too seriously, but then a lot of people do;
PS: Are you male or female? Based on your artwork I'm going to say male but I know many feminists have made "anti Barbie" art.
dont you have any thing better to do besides disort barbie?
why can't people separate the doll from what she supposedly symbolizes? even if you were desecrating the "perfect female" image that barbie stands for, why not?
I ENJOYED VIEWING YOUR BARBIE PAINTING ON THE INTERNET. I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT IT DISTURBED ME. BARBIE WAS MORE THAN JUST A DOLL TO ME. SHE WAS A FRIEND, AN IDOL AND SOMEONE WHO I THOUGHT I WANTED TO BE. IT'S BEEN MANY YEARS SINCE I'VE PLAYED WITH HER, SO I THOUGHT SHE WAS JUST A PART OF MY PAST. SEEING YOUR PAINTING, HOWEVER, QUICKLY REMINDED ME THAT SHE WAS STILL PART OF MY LIFE, PART OF ME.
An' here I thought I was the only schmuck who "laid" a barbie....on a scanner....then photomanipulated the scans... and uploaded the result to the WWW.
currently I have developed an "obsession" if you will with distorting Barbie.. only my creations are done with the actual dolls, I'm creating a Barbie Hell.. with all kindda nastyness going on, and demons etc.. not all dolls are barbie, but all are of the same scale. did you ever get into this at all, up until now I thought I was the only one...
I just bought a repro Barbie, one that is supposed to imitate an early, early Barbie, and it was obvious that this was a toy for men. This is just one more ridiculous, insulting aspect of our society. I for one am sick and tired of it. I think I'm going to go smoke a cigerette.
I LOVE BARBIES,AND I THINK THAT YOU SHOULD MAKE MORE NEW AND MODERN BARBIES!!KINDA LIKE...WELL...HOW ABOUT,SUGAR SWEET BARBIE!IT PROBABLY SOUNDS KINDA WEIRD,BUT IT WOULD MAKE MILLIONS!!CAUSE...WELL...IT WOULD COME WITH A FEW PACKS OF DIIFERENT CANDIES,AND FOUR OR FIVE COUPONS FOR FREE CANDIE!!!AND THE BARBIE WOULD HAVE COOL AND NORMAL CLOTHES ON!!AND SHE WOULD ALSO LOOK COOL!KIDS ALL OVER THE EARTH WOULD WANT THIS!!I KNOW!!SO,PLEASE WRITE BACK,AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE IDEA. THE BARBIE FAN!!
And why are these guys so worried about makeup? I mean how many guys that you know are hounding their REAL women to apply their makeup, arrange their hair or dress them? Is this about guys who wanted Barbies when they were little but Mommy said "no"????
By the way, I love to distort Barbie. I had a Barbie as a child, and her image has ruined what was once the female body - I am never satisfied.
I was looking for icons via yahoo and ran into your barbie site. I don't know who you are, or even your gender ( i suspect male) but i wanted to write to tell you that some of your comments hit home.
I was raised catholic as well (againts my will) and have never been able to put a finger on what makes me squirm with discomfort when addressing my lack of faith with my mother and grandmother (who both think i am going to hell, even though they think im a good person-ironic) The symbology of pain and guilt burned into my head through that little piece of wood with a dead or dying man, emaciated and gory- for a child to grow up with those images and detailed accounts in the bible of destruction and torture, and then have the church enraged about the lax censorship in our country is insult upon injury. anyway, i thought i would tell you how much i liked your page.
I have a barbie still, which is my favorite, whose long blonde hair i cut off diagonally, left ear to right shoulder and dyed pink with kool-aid and dressed entirely more fashionable than whole outfits i got for my birthday. I have the beginnings for the same uncomfortable rage when i hear my mother or other parents choosing which barbie thier niece or daughter would like
I don't know about you, but I always liked my Barbies best in trash, or half naked. Either half.
I can blame that on my parents, I'm pretty sure.
your 'fat and ugly' barbie looks amazingly like mick jagger. scarey thought.
THIS IS AN ACTUAL LETTER FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE SMITHSONIAN. Paleoanthropology Division Smithsonian Institute 207 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20078
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:
1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.
3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
B. Clams don't have teeth.
It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.
However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
I think Barbie's great to work with and not all my Barbies are the goody goody kind but I have found a lot of people that get very offended if you deviate from her original image, so sometimes I'm a bit wary to speak to them frankly about my collection
What makes Barbie so--well, *effective* when compared to the old works of women is that it's so common... I mean, you go and see the de Milo when you're in the mood for art, but Barbie is *always* there, lying around on the floor and registering somewhere in the subconcious.. it drags a lot of daily images into it that other pieces that promenade femininity don't have. Plus, the factor that it's aimed primarily for impressionable youth..
I must say that it was pretty difficult to disguise my guffaws while reading about and viewing your Distorted Barbies. I used to be so into Barbies when I was younger -- I had the Dream House, the Western Camper, Dallas (her beautiful stallion), even the dogs (Lhasa Apse and puppies). I think they're all melting in my Dad's attic now...
Anyway, my favorite thing about Barbie was giving her a haircut. I don't think I even figured out that her hair wasn't going to grow back. Even worse was that I didn't take into account that fact that her hair was rooted so haphazardly--I kept trimming it to even it up and always ended up with Buzz-Cut/Annie Lennox/Susan Powter Barbie. Some I even made into punkers (ala magic marker "hair dye"). I don't think a single one of mine still has long hair.
I may not agree with all of your thoughts/ideas in the pages but here is something (a feeling) in them that I have to react to by thanking you for the effort of composing the site. The general idea of continous betrayal of humanity is not new for me and I find it reassuring that there are others having the same thoughts - who knows perhaps there still is hope for us?
i, too, am a Barbie Mutilator.
i think it was a Feral from Nimbin (notorious hippy drop-out colony in australia) who first marketed something they called `Feral Cheryl'. it was essentially a Barbie doll with messy hair, ragged clothing and underarm hair.
i decided that there were sections of society that weren't being adequately represented by Barbie, so i bought one at a second-hand shop, coloured her hair in black, made her a long black velvet dress and some purple stockings and called it `Goth Barbie'. i even made a coffin for her. unfortunately, i was showing it to a rather odd friend who grabbed it and said, `oh, /thank/ you! you shouldn't have.'
`i /didn't/,', i tried to add, but she'd decided that it was a gift for her. it's still sitting on her mantelpiece.
the next one was a character from `Star Trek, The Next Generation'; Borg Barbie. i made her a black lycra body suit, added pieces of carved plastic painted black, lots of cables, then shaved her head and glued two rounded pieces of black plastic to the bald parts. it looked okay, from a distance; i had trouble getting the right kind of pasty-faced look, because i couldn't find the right kind of paint. this one was sent to an ex for a birthday present.
around this time, i bought a Dylan-from-90210, stripped it naked, tied it up in tiny leather straps and a hood and leg-spreaders; it's sitting in the window of a shop in melbourne called Peril 305, awaiting sale as `Submissive Ken'.
at the moment, i'm trying to find time to work on Domina Barbie; i've got all the materials for her clothes, and the designs are all ready...
I used to buy Barbies and cut their hair and colour it green or give them dread locks and cut holes in the plastic and peirce their noses, etc... I threw them out along with my alot of the punk albums I had collected shortly after.
I recently did a collection of decorated and covered bottles, one of them being a response to my suposed left-wing aquaintences. It is a clear bottle filled with red water, an empty pill packet (except for the red sugar pills) wrapped around the base, and a naked Barbie tied to it so she stands parallel to the bottle, the red water clearly visible between her legs. I cut holes in her breasts (reminding me of your image of the Barbie and the Stanley knife) and stuck in them pink birthday candles, which, of course, can be lit. I have recieved mixed responses from this, but I never think of it as a particuarly offensive image, except for the possible interpretations one could derive from object association. Anyway, I do find the whole psychology behind the "doll", and her consequent mutilation in some cases, interesting. Thanks.
I need permission to 'DISTORTED BARBIE'? Who's distorted?
Just got into BARBIE.. must have been blocked from attempts to Japan. Keep up to good work.
I'm highly disturbed at the combination of these two words on your web page -"fat and ugly". In a time when 1 out of every 8 fourth grade girls is dieting, a time when the rate of death from eating disorders is sky rocketing and women are controlled by their fear of being "imperfect" - I find it horrific that some one as obviously hip and intelligent as you is still unaware of the horrid implications this statement has. Women are killing themselves because of our cultures obsession with the almighty thin-ness. With all of the freedoms and rights that we have fought for and gained we are still oppressed by our own fears and needs to control our bodies. The dieting industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that "feeds" off of a predominantly female clientel. And since it has been repeatedly proven that diets don't work, the diet industry will continue to grow and thrive until we decide to obliterate -fat- prejudice, and negative stereo-types such as "fat and ugly" , fat and stupid, fat and lazy, etc.
Thanks for listening - btw I loved the rest of your page. Have you thought about branching out and doing any pictures of truely diverse Barbies? How about a fat and fabulous Barbie? ; )
You build a very clear and intriguing image. I don't usualy care about the gender of the person behind a site, but since this one is about a very specificaly female symbol, I wonder. From the page at the center of the symbols array, I gather you are female (but I could be wrong). Otherwise, I can't tell.
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