Utne Reader

"Beauty Standards"

With her nearly unttainable proportions, Barbie probably has never struggled with the body image issues facing today's woman. The archaic beauty standard Barbie represents has inspired 28 women writers to examine the influence of body image over identity in Adios, Barbie: Young Women Write About Body Image and Identity (Seal Press, 1998). In their essays, the writers, who vary in race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, offer a fresh and diverse perspective on the female body, in chapters as "My Jewish Nose" and "The Skinny on Small." In "Becoming La Mujer," Marisa Navarro writes, "After twenty-one years of confusion, I realized I could be happy only when I defined my own idea of beauty and sensuality." Ironically, the book's message is similar to the slogan featured in recent advertisements foro Barbie: "Become your own hero." (Stephanie Bleyer)