Cult of True Womanhood

The title and themes in this photograph are an exploration of the dramatic societal and anthropological effects that products can have on quotidian human life. The introduction of Barbie to the worldwide marketplace ignited a second wind of the "Cult of True Womanhood" -- a pervasive ideology of 19th century America in which domesticity and femininity reigned supreme. The delicacy and grace that Barbie exudes has the two-sided potential to glorify and undermine the aspirations and abilities of women.

The house, simple and stereotypical in form, creates a visual allegory between the window frames and the bars of a prison cell. Seen by some as a celebration of womanhood and others as gender bias physicalized, Barbie's complex relationship to the female zeitgeist is fascinating. Represented here as a "both/and" situation, Barbie is simultaneously trapped and liberated by the cult of domesticity.

Original Image 1

Original Image 2