Hello Barbie gets a remodel


Have you ever pictured Barbie as anything else but the unreasonably shaped, plastic representation of classic gender stereotypes and irrational body expectations? Last Friday, the MakerWeb Consortium gathered students in the Science and Engineering Building to help them do exactly that.

Studio Art Technician Patrick Healy and Makerspace Coordinator Amanda Ervin led a mold-making session as part of the Hello Barbie Teardown campaign, where participants could imagine Barbie with any features they desired, from the more realistic to the completely fantastical.

During the mold-making workshop, participants had the opportunity to learn how Barbie is actually made, right down to her plastic brain.

Salvaging pieces from Barbie’s deconstruction during the previous evening’s Take Apart session, Patrick Healy led a group of us in a lesson on how to recreate a Barbie mold with any desired feature.

During the lesson, he gave us each an arm, and we placed clay on the arm to create any type of arm we liked.

My group made buff Barbie, giving her giant biceps.

Healy then used pieces of an aluminum sheet to enclose the arms the groups created, hot-gluing these pillars to the table.

He proceeded to pour silicon-based mold — important for its ability to recreate details — into each pillar.

The molds set for 30 minutes before we cut them open to reveal Barbie’s new arms.

My group held in its hands a perfect mold of a super-muscular Barbie arm.

Healy poured liquid plastic, pigmented with desired skin tones of our Barbies, into our molds.

The rest of the body, limbs and face can be made through the same method: using the liquid silicon to form molds, then pouring liquid plastic into the molds to form the body parts.

So what is the point of taking Barbie apart, then remaking her?

The importance lies in the concept of taking something that is deeply embedded in people’s lives and re-imagining it the way we want it to be.

“These things are no so permanent,” says Amanda Ervin, the leader of this campaign. “We can change her.”

The Hello Barbie Teardown campaign is an attempt by the MakerWeb Consortium to confront the damaging effects of Hello Barbie, and similar children’s toys, on younger generations.

Other Hello Barbie Teardown events have included the Pecha Kucha Talks, on Feb. 11, and the Take Apart session last Thursday.

The final event of the campaign, Rebuild, will be held today from 6-9 p.m. in Wold 010.

Email Amanda Ervin at ervina@union.edu to sign up to participate.




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