11.4 From Venus to Barbie (a history of dolls)

Her Half of History

Of all the words I did not think I would have to define, doll probably tops the list. We all know what the quintessential girls’ toy is, right? Only it turns out we don’t. Separating the dolls from the statues, idols, effigies, puppets, and fertility symbols is a complex (and possibly hopeless) task in the pre-modern world, but we give it a go in this episode with dolls from prehistoric times, plus Egypt, Greece, Rome, Japan, Peru, and that’s all before we get to the mass-produced blockbuster dolls of Europe and the US in the 20th century, including the much beloved and much vilified Barbie herself.

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