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Fulla, the veiled Barbie: An analysis of cultural imperialism and agency

Journal: MAI Review
ISSN 1177-5904

Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Barbie doll | cultural imperialism | feminist studies | Muslim | native consumer

Fulla is a doll that can be seen as a complicated figure of both Western and Eastern iconographies. This essay aims to disentangle the complexities of a doll like Fulla by examining the historical processes that created it in the light of Islamic revivalism in Syria and the Middle East. The question of how this analysis relates to the Western figure of Barbie is then explored by describing the capitalist endeavors of Mattel, Barbie’s manufacturer. This analysis of Barbie is then developed into an explanation of how Fulla could be seen as an extension of capitalist markets to include the larger Islamic revivalism sweeping over the Middle East. To conclude, I will consider Fulla as a possible place of agency for young girls and women alike, using an analysis drawn from a large study on the reception of McDonald’s in East Asia.
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