Barbie is internationally recognised, a cultural phenomenon and icon, and although she can be regarded as an instrument of female oppression with her plastic white beauty and impossible figure, she can also be mobilised as a political force to be a positive influence. The character of ArtActivistBarbie has been created by me, Sarah Williamson. I am a senior lecturer and feminist researcher in the School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, UK. I created ArtActivistBarbie to explore the subversive potential of her popularity and iconic status to promote social and gender justice. Enacting the maxim of artist Jenny Holzer’s textual artwork (2019) to “use the dominant culture to change it”, the fame and celebrity of Barbie has been harnessed to recreate her as a feminist activist to challenge the gender stereotyping, exclusion and problematic representation which can be found in museums and art galleries.
|Title of host publication
|Feminist adult educators' guide to aesthetic, creative and disruptive strategies in museums and community
|Darlene E. Clover, Suriani Dzulkifli, Hannah Gelderman, Kathy Sanford
|University of Victoria
|Number of pages
|Published - 2020