Brian

Barbie Liberation Organization collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
94.86
Finding Aid Author
Kelli Emler and Julia Novakovic
Finding Aid Date
September 2015
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Dates

  • 1993 – 1994 (Creation)

Extents

  • 0.2 Linear Feet (Whole)

Agent Links

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    The Barbie Liberation Organization collection is a compilation of flyers, instructions, and plans for the organization’s notorious doll voice box-switching project.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donors have not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, they have given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

  • Custodial History

    The Barbie Liberation Organization collection was donated to The Strong in January 1994 as a gift from The Barbie Liberation Organization. The collection was accessioned under Object ID 94.86.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    Barbie Liberation Organization collection, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Kelli Emler, August 2015

  • Historical Note

    The Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) was an anonymous group of nonconformist artists who disapproved of the views conveyed to children by the popular toys Barbie and G.I. Joe. The BLO believed that Barbie and G.I. Joe brainwashed young children into believing in strict gender roles and that the pre-recorded phrases of talking doll variants were sexist. In an effort to “reverse the damage,” the BLO developed a subversive plan to bring attention to these perceived stereotypes.

    In 1993, the group’s members purchased numerous Teen Talk Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe action figures from toy stores in order to switch their voice boxes via “surgery.” The BLO then returned the toys to the shelves of toy stores in time for the 1993 holiday season. As expected, parents who unknowingly purchased these altered dolls expressed surprise and outrage. Ultimately, the plan did bring mainstream media attention to the BLO mission. It is unknown how many dolls and action figures were affected by this movement.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    The Barbie Liberation Organization collection is a small compilation of flyers, instructions, and planning documents. The collection also includes two VHS tapes about the BLO’s plan to switch voice boxes in G.I. Joe action figures and Teen Talk Barbie dolls.

    The Barbie Liberation Organization collection has been arranged into two series. This collection is housed in one archival document box.

  • Related Materials

    The Strong holds one of the altered Teen Talk Barbie dolls and an altered Electronic Battle Command Duke talking action figure in its museum collection.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) planning materials, 1993-1994

    Series II: VHS tapes, 1993

External Documents

Instances

  • Type
    Accession
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    1
    Container 1 Barcode
    Barbie Liberation Organization collection

Components