News Archive 2009-2018

In New Yorker Article on Bratz Dolls vs. Barbie, Bowdoin Economist Offers Insight Archives

Jill Lepore

In a recent New Yorker article, writer Jill Lepore — a 2015 Bowdoin honorary degree recipient — describes Bratz dolls as having eyes and heads so big and noses so small “that if it weren’t for their Penthouse makeup…and their come-hither clothes…they’d look like emaciated babies….” The popular Bratz are the only dolls to successfully compete with Barbie dolls since Barbie was introduced in 1959.

Lepore reports on the expensive legal battle waged between the two corporations that sell Bratz dolls and Barbie dolls, arguing that their struggle illuminates the tensions in our society “between fashion and porn, between originals and copies, and between toys for girls and rights for women.”

In the article, Lepore references the research of Bowdoin Professor of Economics Zorina Khan — an expert in the history of intellectual property rights — helping to shed light on the United States’s approach to protecting authorship and invention.

Read the article.