Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez

Dec 8, 2023

An American Icon in Puerto Rico

Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play

Berghahn Books 2022

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: Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play (Berghahn, 2022) 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 Dr. 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.

Dr. 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.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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