Literacy-lite in BarbieGirls

Victoria Carrington, Katherine Hodgetts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


While the attention of researchers has focused on video games, texting and, more recently, the growth of social networking sites such as and Facebook, virtual worlds have emerged as a site of significant cultural and textual relevance for young people. A total of 6.2 million children aged between six and 12 years of age ventured into a virtual world in the 12 months between April 2007 and April 2008. Media and gaming industry analysts predict that by 2011 more than one-half of all children in that age group will be visiting virtual worlds regularly, going more often and staying longer. Paying attention to the kinds of online and offline practices these worlds promote in relation to identity and text is, for educators, both interesting and important. This article examines one of the most popular current sites for young girls, Mattel’s BarbieGirls™. In particular, the paper will pick up on issues of consumption and gender as a background context to a consideration of the textual practices modeled and made available in this particular virtual world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-682
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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