For my civic artifact speech, I am speaking about an iPhone, and my main points are its metaphorical meaning and how it represents an idea of exclusivity. For my rhetorical analysis, I didn’t want to pick an object similar to the iPhone – or another piece of technology. Instead, I wanted to pick something that has the same deeper meaning. Seemingly, the iPhone and the Barbie doll, on the surface, have no correlation. However, in my rhetorical analysis essay, I want to analyze the idea of exclusivity that comes along with the Barbie Doll.
The Barbie doll has been controversial in the last few years – some say it promotes the idea that a girl can do anything she wants or be anything she wants, and isn’t limited to any opportunities, because Barbie can. Others believe this toy has promoted the idea that every girl has to look like Barbie. My main focus will be the latter, because this idea – that every girl should look like what Barbie looks like – has created a world of exclusivity.
These two artifacts were created in completely different time periods. The first barbie doll was created on March 9th, 1959 by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. but Ruth Handler was the one who had the idea of creating Barbie. The iPhone wasn’t introduced until later in the 2000s. Similar to my civic artifact speech, I will give a brief history of the Barbie in the beginning of my rhetorical analysis, but not too much as the focus is on the analysis of the object itself and how it functions rhetorically.
In my analysis, I will talk about the targeted audience – the obvious audience, young girls – but the not so obvious audience, society in general. I also want to analyze how different audiences may perceive the toy in different manners – Barbie might mean something different to the young girl dressing her up and combing her hair than it does to a 30 year old.
Throughout the essay I will constantly discuss how it functions civically and if this function has changed over time.
While this doll was originally invented as a child’s toy, its meaning has become so much more controversial and there are numerous commonplaces surrounding Barbie. While this artifact isn’t similar to the iPhone in the sense of what they do, I think it will serve as an interesting contrast with the same messages as the iPhone.