Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Barbie begone

Insert punch line here:

Barbie is a shiksa!

Saudi Arabian police declared Barbie "offensive to Islam" as well as a "Jewish" doll and banished her from the kingdom.

I wonder if Ken gets to stay? And will this give rise to a whole new brand opportunity– Exile Barbie?


  1. First of all: Adam Felber got there first. Second, a “shiksa” is a non-Jewish woman, so though Bill Maher’s assertion is really quite true, I sort of read an intention to use a Yiddish word as a means to indicate Barbie’s alleged Jewish identity. Makes me wonder how many people will now use it in an oddly hilarious manner, kind of like the way my Mom’s best friend thought that a pupik (navel) was an unutterably inappropriate item to bring up in mixed company because she’d heard someone’s miniskirt was “so skimpy you could see her pupik!”

  2. Hey, I just feel obliged to cite the source where I find something, not trace the story back to Adam… as it were. I think I’m not alone in my laziness. I spent enough of my previous life as a journeyman academic using citations to create the false impression of having read 10 times as much stuff as I really had.

    And I thought that Maher was protesting that, contrary to the Saudi Ministry of Toys, Barbie is a gentile. Hence, “Barbie IS a shiksa [and not a nice Jewish girl],” not “Barbie is [declared by zealots to be] a shiksa.”

    I suppose if they were anatomically correct, we could settle this thing once and for all by getting a Ken and… well, never mind.

  3. Indeed, access to the entire article would certainly have helped me make a cogent case; I’ve long ago given up Salon as an unjustifiable expense. Which in turn, I suppose, could bring up religious/cultural stereotyping… 🙂

    In any case, I though Barbie was based on the Lili doll modeled after German hookers. If only I hadn’t given that book about the history and evolution of Barbie as an anti-feminist icon away, I’d actually have a reference for you.

  4. That is hallarious I’m doing a speech on Barbie 450 tp 500 words if any of you have ideas for it please e-mail me.

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