Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category


Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Psychological Articles by

Barbie becomes bimbo: sterotypes as self fulfilling prophesy

Barbie: bimbo or savvy boomer woman?

Currently, our American culture focuses on coherence something we, as civilized humans, strive to make sense of as a way of interpreting our place in the world. However, establishing a woman’s place in American society, free of stereotypical notions, is not usually an easily achieved acquisition, and in fact, is often unattainable. When societal messages become fixed, people close down to other potential interpretative links about individual persons. Oftentimes, this leads to the creation of harmful, generalist stereotypes.

By definition, a stereotype is a generalized image of a person or group, which does not acknowledge individual differences and which is often prejudicial to that person or group. In general, people develop stereotypes when they can’t or are hesitant about trying to get all of the information they need in order to make fair judgments about a person, or a group of people. When this happens, as it most often does, the person judging misses the ‘whole picture.’ Thus, in many cases, stereotyping allows us to ‘fill in the blanks’ and come to erroneous, overly general conclusions. In many cases, the way in which someone is stereotyped becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Societal influences are deemed to have pre-eminent importance in the creation of stereotypes, which are usually unfavorable, and can lead to unfair discrimination and persecution. Stereotyping can be viewed as a negative communication circle. It emanates from, and further perpetuates discrimination and racism.

“I’m a Barbie girl, In a Barbie World, Wrapped in plastic, It’s fantastic, You can brush my hair, Undress me everywhere, Imagination, life is your creation”

These are the first few lines of a popular song released in the year, 1999 by a band named Aqua. The name of the song is, “Barbie Girl.” It is one of many examples of how a contemporary communications technology can be used to promote a specific idea about a particular type of person. The song was played on the radio and through CD’s and was primarily listened to by young girls. New media technologies have been influentially because they can powerfully impact a wide geographical audience. Thus unfortunately, many young girls strive to become Barbie Girls, and many young boys, treated these “Barbie’s” as objectified dolls, to be handled and played with at will, illustrating John Bargh’s research on the automatic behavior priming effect; wherein, social behavior not necessarily mediated by conscious choice, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Mediums such as television, Internet, magazines, and radio have become the babysitters of both the younger and older members of society. As media technologies continue to multiply their number of users, they also find themselves increasing the influence they share over the population. Although some forms of media are used to encourage positive learning, there are many forms of communication that promote the exact opposite. Contemporary communications technologies can be a risk to children who are highly influenced by what they see and hear in the media. It is doubtful than any mother would consciously strive to have her daughter be a “Barbie Girl” yet, millions of mothers and daughters, have fallen prey to the mass communications advertising that being a “Barbie Girl” is desirable. It takes songs like the one from Aqua, as well as other forms of communicative messages to expose the true negativity of the Barbie image as little more than a horrible stereotype about an ideal woman.

Media sources are important influences on people’s ideas about social reality, and popular music has provided various perspectives on the lives of women. Images vary; but a fat woman is rarely considered attractive, and thus, also becomes the object of unconscious automatic behavior priming, discrimination and abuse. Sometimes females are portrayed as naive, virginal, submissive creatures in need of male protection, adoration, and direction. At other times women are cast as wild, wicked, lustful beings that are guilty of heartbreaking, home wrecking, as well as other forms of unruly behavior. Popular music is considered to be a significant socializing mechanism that both transmits and reflects norms regarding all social behavior, including the way males and females act and react. The symbolic realm of society, especially the media, assists people in a society to affirm and maintain these gender role pictures even when the images do not reflect reality.

The female role in the development of music over the millennia certainly must have been dramatic. Today, women’s voices are heard nationally through all the various forms of technology. However, because of our material culture, their voices seem reduced to commercial opportunism, deprecated by the effect of money, MTV, and the unrealistic Barbie stereotype. Unfortunately, women in today’s society are still subjugated to whatever role provides for the optimum profit of the dominant group running the music industry. The reproduction of gender stereotypes, myths, and role models by this media perpetuates and mirrors the view of women in modern society. From a “making” perspective, women in American society, as represented in popular music, have a long way to go before they are viewed as individuals; i.e., not stereotypical “Barbie Girl” objects.

The Psychological Article on STEROTYPES OF WOMEN IN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of baby boomers psychological coaching tips and how to alleviate elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network and Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!


Barbie Turning Fifty

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Barbie: bimbo or savvy baby boomer woman?

Barbie: bimbo or savvy baby boomer woman?

An Update to “Playtime in Yesteryear”: By Boomer

It appears that Barbie is indeed part of the not so small group of baby boomer women. In fact, many baby boomer women have probably owned a few Barbie dolls and in the unlikely event that they haven’t, they have probably given some to children or grandchildren. We are all familiar with that beautiful stereotypical doll that sure looks good for turning fifty! Yes, Barbie was born and created in 1959 by a woman named Ruth Handler for the Mattel Company that was owned by her husband and his partner. Barbie was named after their daughter and when the Ken doll was introduced he was named after their son.

It must have been amazing to them to see their children’s names and their creations become such a world wide phenomenon. The iconic doll became the baby boomers women symbol of female beauty. However, Barbie also began to be widely criticized for her stereotypical, unrealistic portrayal of the perfect woman. Yet, the unending criticism did not interfere with Barbie’s popularity. She also became a symbol of what a woman could accomplish; from the acquisition of enormous wealth complete with fancy cars and clothes among other accessories, to fabulous careers that had been traditionally male oriented. As the 60’s saying goes, “She’s come a long way, baby.”

Barbie Doll Collection

Barbie Doll Collection

However, Barbie didn’t always have access to such esteemed careers. In her early teen and adult days, the Barbie doll was regarded as a stereotypical dumb blonde; a materialistic, shallow airhead worrying only about her looks and social status. Therefore, in an attempt to counteract the gender stereotyping that many believed the Barbie doll presented, Mattel Inc. created different careers for Barbie as well as International Barbie dolls designed to represent varying cultures.

Ah, it is hard to believe that the pop culture star has made it to the golden age of fifty. And what a tumultuous journey it has been! It seems that even when one stereotype about Barbie is addressed, another one emerges. Nonetheless, whatever new criticisms or stereotypes about Barbie appear in the future, we at Boomer Yearbook think Barbie is sure to remain a static symbol of Western culture for baby boomer women, echo boomer women, generation x, y and beyond.

What do you think? Will Barbie continue to evolve or will she forever be saddled with her bimbo image?

Boomer Yearbook is a Psychological-Informational Social Network Website for Baby Boomers, Echo Boomers and Booming Seniors. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join now to discover the many ways this website for boomers can contribute to optimal physical and emotional wellness.

Putty: More Than Just a Plaything

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Putty: More Than Just a Plaything

Putty: More Than Just a PlaythingBy

There are various ways to call Silly Putty and name it whatever you like- Bouncing Putty, Thinking Putty, Nutty Putty, Potty Putty- but this Crayola-owned silicone polymers has risen to popularity as a children’s toy since 1949. It was used in medical and scientific enterprises such as in the rehabilitative therapy of hand injuries. The success of Putty is also evident in the number of brands that produce similar kinds of silicone polymers such as Power Putty and TheraPutty. The latter is especially designed for stress reduction and for aiding patients with ADD, Autism, and ADHD.

Among the characteristics of Silly Putty are the following: its unusual feature to flow like liquid, its capacity to bounce and break when blown sharply, and its ability to hold its shape.

The history of Silly Putty dates back to the Second World War but it was in 1949 that scientists found practical use for this versatile substance.

Silly Putty was first intended for adult use but the majority of its 1955 consumers were clearly children baby boomers between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. Silly Putty became popular worldwide in the 1960s and in future years has even been on moon travel.

Puttering for more boomer games? Come join fellow boomers at is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit

Scrabble: How the World Came to Play Words

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Scrabble: How the World Came to Play Words

Scrabble: How the World Came to Play Words


The rule is simple. Search for words, select the right letter block, and send them straight to the board. Scrabble is the name of the game. Introduced in 1948, Scrabble continues to be the most popular word game with varied names such as Scramble, Skip-A-Cross, Spelofun, Palabras Cruzadas, Alfapet, Funworder, and Literati. The 15-by-15 grid game board is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc. in US and Canada and of Murfett Regency in Australia but was acquired by the Mattel subsidiary J.W. Spear & Sons in 1993.

The sale of Scrabble is one hundred million sets and it is sold in 121 countries in 29 different language versions. Its popularity in America is highly visible as one out of three homes own a Scrabble board set.

The history of Scrabble dates back to 1938 and its creation was based on a previous word game called “Lexiko.” Although both Lexiko and Scrabble use the same set of letter tiles, Scrabble creator Alfred Mosher Butts made an advancement in the distribution and point values and included The New York Times as a reference source. Butts was initially able to manufacture the set, but was not able to sell the game to any major game manufacturers. When James Brunot bought the rights of Butts’ Criss-Crosswords game, he decided to alter the name of the game to “Scrabble,” which means “to scratch frantically.”

Scrabble went into the TV airwaves in 1984 when NBC turned the board game into a daytime game show that ran from July 1984 to March 1990 and from January to June 1993. And continues to be ever popularized through the annual World Scrabble Championship.

Scratching for more boomer toys? Come join others at is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit


Saturday, November 8th, 2008


It’s Christmas day 1960 and little Suzie is sitting on her uncarpeted living room floor beneath a beautifully decorated cedar Christmas tree as Frank Sinatra croons The Christmas Song from the all wood Zenith radio in the corner. The little girl looks wide eyed at her mom and dad as she hugs a big red shiny box with a green bow.
“Please let it be Barbie….please let it be Barbie”, she repeats in her head over and over.
“Go ahead…open it honey” her mother edges on.
Suzie slowly unties the bow and noisily rips through the red wrapping paper and starts to scream with joy when sure enough, looking through a plastic window in the box is Ruth Handler’s creation, “Barbie Millicent Roberts”, a full busted sexy looking doll standing 11 1/2 inches tall, wearing a black and white striped swimsuit with sunglasses, high-heeled shoes, and gold-colored hoop earrings, costing $3.00. (Walsh, Tim. Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005); Rogers, Mary F. Barbie Culture (London: Sage Publications Ltd., 1999).]

Fast forward to Christmas day 2007, little Amber and her parents sit on her bed as N sync’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas booms from her iPod speakers. She too hoping and praying that the huge purple box in front of her contains the now most famous doll in the world. But surely not just a singular doll. Also for Barbie’s 4 room mansion, furnishings, friends, dog and other accoutrements costing $299.99.

It would be a fair statement to say that in forty more years the Christmas wish list of every little girl in the free world would still contain this famous doll because it is estimated that every second two Barbie’s are sold somewhere in the world!

But while a few things have stayed the same, a lot more has changed. During the 50s and 60s boomer children were blissfully happy going outside to entertain themselves; and they didn’t need much to have fun. Most of the toys required children to be physically active and to have an active imagination. Think of the Hula Hoop craze that took off in 1958. How many hours in the summer did kids spend in Hula Hoop competitions, Hula Hoop parties, and even Hula Hoop-a-thons? Hackey sack, Frisbee, Slinky, Superball, Pogo stick and simple Jump Rope, these were all toys that allowed children and teenagers to enjoy hours of fun outdoors. The 50s, 60s and 70s also saw the rise of many board games which were great because they allowed children to interact with their peers and spend quality time with their family. The hugely popular Candyland, Clue, Monopoly, Parcheesi, Scrabble, Sorry!, Labyrinth, Risk, Tiddlywinks and even the hair raising Ouija Board; all these games were a way to bring families and friends together.

Less television viewing during this time meant fewer distractions in the form of TV commercials. If little Johnny in 1960 wanted the new Mattel Tommy Burst Submachine Gun it was because he saw it in the display case of his local toy store, or because his buddy Pete across the street got it for his birthday last month.
That’s not the case today; it is estimated that kids are exposed to 1500 commercial messages a day. With TV and the advent of the Internet today’s 12 year-old is more technologically advanced than his 40 year-old dad! The other day a friend of mine, told me her grandson wanted the Hasbro Nerf N Strike Vulcan for his birthday and she asked me to find out what it was just in case it was some misplaced weapon of mass destruction that could burn the house down. Any top 10 toy list today will have many robots, iPods, and video games that require a lot less physical activity and not as much imagination from a child as the simple toys from yesteryear.

But all hope is not lost, many of the games that were made famous in the 50s and 60s have remained as classics now for the tech-savvy dot-com children to enjoy. Toys like Lego, Mr. Potato-head, Barbie, Monopoly still make many top 10 toys lists every year, giving us hope that perhaps the magic, wonder and imagination of playtime of the past can still be enjoyed by the kids of today.

Have your own favorite yesteryear playtime activity to share? Come join us at and continue your journey down memory lane.