Self-taught photographer Mariel Clayton is responsible for this set of violently playful images featuring Matel’s icon Barbie. Streetcouch asked Clayton why she uses Barbie dolls in her artwork.
“Because I hate Barbie.” she replied. “I intensely dislike the stereotype that the “ideal” female fits no current authentic female form. You can’t get to be Barbie without an ocean’s worth of peroxide, 27 plastic surgeries and a complete lack of intelligence, so it irritates me immensely that this is the toy of choice women give to their daughters to emulate.
“At least with boys’ toys like GI Joe and Action Man, these were characters that had personality, depth and purpose, worthy of real imaginative storytelling. Barbie has nothing except clothes and “being a girl,” but what is being a girl? Being a vapid shell with tits up to your ears? Playing in your kitchen or changing outfits for the umpteenth time so “Ken” will think you’re pretty?
“My first picture with Barbie was actually of her committing suicide in the tub, after Ken had dumped her for another man — my wishful thinking on the end of evil influence. I’m not sure why it ended up being Barbie killing Ken, if I am to be honest — I think it’s because I find it really damn funny. Behind the vacuous perpetual lipsticked-smile and soulless eyes lurks the black heart of the true sociopath, just like in real life. I think it finally makes the doll interesting, and I like that contrast between saccharine sweet and pure malevolence.”
More of Clayton’s artwork can be view on her website.