In 1992, when Kelly McCullough asked
for a summer research job, I had no idea what an undergraduate assistant
could do that would take a whole summer. My imagination turned out to be
as limited as her contribution, which began with getting the job funded, was
stupendous. I assigned her little beyond the drudge work of bibliographic
retrieval. She did much more: she figured out things I needed, like annual
reports, before I did; decoded MatteI's phone system to get beyond low-
level triage; coaxed out much more material than Mattei ordinarily dispenses;
tracked down and interviewed interesting people, including a person she read
about in passing whom Mattei hired to play Barbie in shopping-mall fashion
shows. Everyone she contacted, it seems, was willing to speak to her for
hours and often volunteered to send helpful material, like 120 newspaper
articles on Barbie's thirtieth birthday. During the next summer, Kelly con-
ducted great consumer interviews. Virtually every section in this book owes
much to her creative research and remarkable talent as an interviewer. I
thank, too, Elise Greven, who did a lot of early groundwork at a time when
Bates College still thought that primary compensation for student assistants
should be the "honor" of working for a faculty member.
To many others, too, lowe gratitude. My Barbie writing began with an
essay for Laura Doan's
The Lesbian Postmodern
(1994, Columbia University
Press); Laura accepted my project despite her initial invitation to write about
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