The most striking thing about the discourse that surrounded Barbie was the rejection, hatred and violence that the doll provoked. Barbie evoked practically no positive sentiments ? even among seven-year-old girls.
One interpretation of this perplexing finding may be that although Barbie masquerades as a person, she actually exists in multiple selves. The children never talked of one single, special Barbie. She was always referred to in the plural. Moreover, accounts of Barbie ownership always implied excess ? too many Barbies. Most children had not only more than one Barbie, but a box of Barbies; and not just a box but a very large box.
Barbie is hated because she is babyish; she is hated because she is unfashionable; she is hated because she is plastic; she is hated because she is a feminine icon.
But reactions to Barbie went beyond an expressed antipathy. Actual physical violence toward the doll was repeatedly reported (gleefully) across age, school and gender. [?] The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning and microwaving.