The third edition has an even newer cover
to Adios, Barbie:
The story of a lost book title
was born on December 2, and so was my first book, Adios Barbie.
In 1998, Seal Press published my anthology Adios Barbie:
Young Women Write About Body Image and Identity.
It's one of the first books to cover body image from a multicultural
perspective. Twenty-eight young women expand the idea of body
image to include race, ethnicity, sexuality, safety, health,
and power—commonly overlooked factors that are integral
to the way women feel in their bodies.
On December 2 of the following year, my publisher
received a "birthday suit" from Mattel, the toy
company that makes Barbie. Seems that the Barbie leg™,
hairbrush™, heart charm™, and pump™ that
appear on the cover of Adios, Barbie are trademarked items.
(Get™ the™ idea™?) And Mattel wanted to
Although Seal Press believed it had gotten
appropriate clearance, the notoriously aggressive Mattel (which
has as many suits as an overstuffed Barbie wardrobe) accused
Seal Press of a trademark infringement, and demanded that
every book be shredded.
the New York Times broke the
story, and the ACLU contacted Seal Press. They defended
Adios, Barbie on the grounds of free speech. Seal Press, being
an independent press, didn't have the funds to finish winning
the case. But Mattel did agree to settle. The remaining unsold
copies of Adios, Barbie are safe from the pulping machines.
And the book will be allowed to keep its contents. It republished
September 2000 with a different title and cover. Oh, and (I'm
not kidding) no pink text was allowed.
toy story has a happy enough ending. The book was reincarnated
as Body Outlaws,
and has since sold 40,000 copies. Although I wish I could
have kept it as Adios, Barbie, republishing gave me a chance
to add a few new essays (even a couple written by men) and
re-introduce it to the world.
I just wonder what will happen on my next birthdays. And to
be safe, I'll make sure the frosting on my cake isn't pink™.