PRINT March 1995


the Other American Princess

IN THE CENTURY of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Dinah Shore, need we ask who but a Jew is best at packaging unwhiny blonde fantasy figures? I don’t know about you darlings, but ever since I found out that Kathie Lee Gifford was née Epstein, I don’t assume anything. Why be surprised then that Barbie, the ultimate shiksa goddess, was invented by a nice Jewish lady, Ruth Handler (with her husband, Elliot, cofounder of Mattel)? Indeed the famous snub-nosed plastic ideal with the slim hips of a drag queen is in fact named after a real Jewish princess from L.A., Handler’s daughter Barbara (who must have been hell to know in junior high school!). What would it be like, I imagined, if Barbie’s Jewish roots were to show? A Barbie High Holidays kit would be a welcome addition to the multicultural rainbow that is the contemporary doll scene, where the shelves of our community toy-outlets are

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