An American Icon in Puerto Rico: Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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An American Icon in Puerto Rico: Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play

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Volume 4

Transnational Girlhoods

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An American Icon in Puerto Rico

Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play

Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez

208 pages, 12 images, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-386-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2022)

ISBN  978-1-80539-111-1 $24.95/£19.95 / Pb / Published (June 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80073-387-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book provides a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of the transnational impact of Barbie as a cultural object, highlighting the importance of critically examining the cultural products that shape our understanding of gender, race, and identity.” • Women's Studies


Focusing on multigenerational Puerto Rican women and girls, Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez masterfully illustrates how Barbie dolls impact femininity, body image, and cultural identity.

Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has transcended boundaries and transformed into a global symbol of femininity, capturing the imaginations of girls all around the world. An American Icon in Puerto Rico offers a captivating study of that iconic influence by focusing on a group of multigenerational Puerto Rican women and girls.

Through personal narratives and insights, author Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez unveils the emotional attachment that these women and girls have formed with the doll during their formative years. This connection serves as a powerful lens to explore the intricate relationships girls have with their Barbie dolls and the complex role Barbie plays in shaping their identities.

Aguiló-Pérez boldly confronts the challenges and contradictions that arise, offering a compelling analysis of how playing with Barbie dolls can impact a girl's perception of femininity, body image, race, and even national identity. Through these nuanced explorations, she unearths the potential pitfalls of these influences, encouraging readers to reflect on their own relationships with the iconic doll.

By weaving together personal anecdotes, historical context, and sociocultural analysis, Aguiló-Pérez masterfully illustrates how these women and girls navigate the diverse landscapes of femininity, body image, and cultural identity, with Barbie serving as both a facilitator and a reflection of their growth. In doing so, she redefines the significance of Barbie in the lives of Puerto Rican women and girls, prompting readers from all around the world to reevaluate their perceptions of femininity and embrace a more inclusive understanding of beauty, body image, and self-expression.

Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez is an Associate Professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in publications including The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies, and Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures. She served as guest editor for a special issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and she is a book reviewer for Latinxs in Kid Lit.

Subject: Gender Studies and SexualityCultural Studies (General)Sociology
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean


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