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Let's Read Art: Barbie Liberation Organization

Let's Read Art: Barbie Liberation Organization

I learned about this piece in art school and was really curious how the kids would react to toys being used for art and a medium that is performative/participatory. 

I found this list of Teen Talk Barbie voice-box statements. Each Barbie was programmed with a few statements from this list:

  • Will we ever have enough clothes?
  • I love shopping!
  • Wanna have a pizza party?
  • Math class is tough
  • Let's share secrets.
  • What kind of wedding will you have?
  • I love romantic music.
  • Tell me a funny joke.
  • I'll always be here to help you.
  • Party dresses are fun!
  • Do you have a crush on anyone?
  • Can we ever have enough clothes?
  • Let's take a dance class!
  • I'm studying to be a doctor.
  • Who will you invite to the picnic?
  • Our team won the game!
  • Help me make a party dress!
  • Let's find the dance list.
  • Let's celebrate!
  • Let's try on dresses!
  • My horse is a show jumper.
  • I love to visit new places!
  • Teaching kids is great!
  • Wanna have a pizza party?
  • School friends are the best.
  • Meet me at the mall!
  • I love to dance!

Finding G.I.Joe's list of programmed statements was really hard. This was the best list I could find but I don't see all the statements that were used in the video so this can't be complete.

  • We must stop Cobra, at all costs! 
  • Snake-Eyes, Jinx, we're going in! 
  • This team stays together!
  • We have to stop Cobra, once and for all!
  • First wave, follow me!
  • Get the others, meet me there! 
  • We're taking this battle to Cobra!
  • We do this fast and clean, people!
  • Work together! That's an order, soldier!
  • On the double, soldier!
  • Good move, soldier!
  • Eat lead cobra
  • Vengeance is mine
  • Yo, Joe!
  • Lock and load!

Below are the interpretations of Stephen (my husband), Andy and Spencer (my sons) and myself.


  • i think it's great
  • it's funny
  • it teaches girls violence
  • it's an art statement that used an event and public reaction
  • interesting how the kids are the least concerned
  • it's hilarious
  • i don't know what it is


  • it's a conceptual piece
  • it's early "maker" and "hacker" art
  • it's a happening
  • participatory
  • there's a psychological element
  • i'd be sad if i got a toy like that because i don't like the army AND i don't like barbie


  • it's not an attack on kids
  • it's a bother for parents
  • make parents feel defensive for purchasing gender specific toys
  • joke on parents
  • playing with the genders
  • it shows how we can get stuck in stereotypes

These are our interpretations, you may see something different. 

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