Barbie Liberation Organization

Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) is an example of culture jamming. BLO’s popularity increased by 1993 when they started to change the voices of talking Barbie and G.I. Joes dolls. The activists of BLO changed hundreds of dolls. The process was to first buy the dolls then operate on them and changed their voices, put them back on their packages and return the dolls to the store. BLO called this process “shopgiving”. Therefore, if a child buys one of those dolls, then her Barbie would sound more violent like G.I. Joes and his G.I. Joes would sound more girly like Barbie.

BLO’s aim by this was to raise attention to the stereotypes about gender role by switching the voices of dolls. Already the inequality between women and men were obvious, the continuation of these stereotypes in children toys must irritate the activists of BLO. The roles that imposed on women in society like being a housewife, a cook, taking care of children and not being intellectually advanced, are seen in children toys. Where a Barbie doll has a long beautiful blond hair and her only concern is going shopping, a G.I. Joes doll has muscular body and his concern is to save the world with his big guns.

In my opinion, BLO’s actions during the early 1990s to form an awareness to gender inequalities were a funny way to take people’s attention, which seems that they did achieved a lot of attention both in positive and negative way.



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