Cover image for Naked Barbies, warrior Joes, and other forms of visible gender
Naked Barbies, warrior Joes, and other forms of visible gender
Thomas, Jeannie B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 216 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GR105 .T46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Examines the gendered sculptural forms that are among the most visible, including Barbie, Ken, and GI Joe dolls; yard figures; and cemetery statuary. This book locates various objects of folk art within a discussion of the post-women's movement discourse on gender.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Despite the title, this book considers yard art and cemetery statues (sometimes Barbie is used in these two settings). Through a discussion of patterns, historical context, and analysis of folklore and folk customs each form brings into being, Thomas (English, Utah State Univ.) reaches some interesting conclusions. Cemetery statues of females are often eroticized, while those of males are individualized. Yard art depicts traditional, conservative, and stereotypical male and female roles based loosely on fine art traditions. Male figures appear more often in ethnic yard art statuary than females. Whether public or private, the same stock roles are used for male or female figures. Cemetery statuary frequently fosters legends, whereas yard art usually doesn't. At least one mistake, which may be an undetected typo, occurs. Thomas speaks of the "Ashville, North Carolina cemetery" rather than the correct "Asheville." She characterizes yard art as "comfort art," a sometimes useful term. Overall, this is a generally fine study of gender issues as evidenced in popular culture and folklore. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. W. K. McNeil Ozark Folk Center

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